Press Room

January 28, 2014

WTAS Announces Korea Tax Desk

With the rapid increase in cross-border activities between the U.S. and East Asia, particular attention should be paid to U.S. and international tax obligations and reporting requirements. In this expanding global context, WTAS announces the launch of a dedicated Korea Desk.

South Korea has the fourth largest economy in Asia and ranks 15th in the world by nominal GDP and 12th by purchasing power parity. With a population of 50 million people, it is one the bigger markets for U.S. exporters and investors. Given the vast number of individuals seeking an education, working, living or investing across the U.S./Korea borders, important tax implications need to be considered. As such, WTAS has established a dedicated Korea Desk to address these potential tax issues. The Korea Desk can assist in all tax matters involving U.S./Korea cross-border issues impacting individuals and families, including income tax planning and compliance.

For South Koreans who are considered non-residents for U.S. tax purposes, our Korea Desk can assist with the following:

  • Structuring of investments in U.S. operating businesses or U.S. real estate in a tax efficient manner.
  • Minimizing U.S. gift taxes which could arise from transfers of real property or tangible property located in the U.S., along with U.S. estate tax planning. 
  • Pre-immigration planning for Korean individuals who are considering becoming U.S. residents such as the potential savings by accelerating income, recognizing gain on appreciated assets, restructuring ownership interests in foreign entities and gift tax planning.
  • Designing trusts set up for the benefit of U.S. citizen(s) or U.S. resident beneficiaries to minimize U.S. income and transfer taxes.
  • Preparing U.S. nonresident individual income tax, gift tax and estate tax returns, as well as complying with other U.S. tax filing requirements.

For U.S. citizens and South Koreans considered U.S. residents (who are generally subject to U.S. income tax on their worldwide income) the Korea Desk services include:

  • Analyzing existing investments in South Korea to identify the applicability of U.S. anti-deferral rules such as those imposed on Passive Foreign Investment Companies or Controlled Foreign Corporations.
  • Developing and structuring investments in South Korea in a tax efficient manner and foreign tax credit planning with Korean source income.
  • Complying with the various complex U.S. informational reporting requirements for activities in South Korea and other countries such as for foreign partnerships, foreign corporations and foreign bank accounts.
  • Gift and estate tax planning with regard to assets located in South Korea, as well as transfer tax planning between a U.S. citizen and non-U.S. citizen spouse.
  • Planning opportunities for income earned while working in South Korea such as with the foreign earned income exclusion, foreign housing cost exclusions and foreign tax credits.
  • Relinquishing of green card or U.S. citizenship under the U.S. expatriation tax regime.

The U.S.-based Korea Tax Desk will be led by Susan Choi and Tom Shin. WTAS has five tax desks representing the UK, Argentina, China, Africa and now Korea.