Minor memos

Minor memos

September 15, 2010

The IRS analyzed in an internal legal memorandum made public in July when a foreign corporation that owns an offshore wind farm, drilling rig or supply vessel on the outer continental shelf off the US coast must withhold US taxes on wages paid to its employees who are not US residents and pay FICA (social security) and FUTA (unemployment) taxes on the wages. Income tax withholding is required, unless a tax treaty between the United States and the country of residence of the employee exempts him from withholding. FICA and FUTA taxes must also be paid unless the US has a “totalization agreement” with the employee’s home country in which the United States agreed that he will receive benefits solely under the retirement system in his home country or the vessel on which the employee works is not a US flag vessel. The conclusions are in Chief Counsel Advice 201027046 . . . . The economic stimulus bill in February 2009 authorized Indian tribes to issue up to $2 billion in tax-exempt “tribal economic development bonds” to finance projects on Indian reservations. Because of a quirk in the statute, projects on former Indian reservations in Oklahoma also qualify, the IRS said in an internal memo in July. Most of Oklahoma is considered Indian land. The IRS memo is AM 2010-003.