Recently, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) promulgated new rules which require certain U.S. title insurance companies to identify the natural persons behind companies used to pay “all cash” for high-end residential real estate in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
According to the 2015 Profile of International Home Buyers in the Miami Association of Realtor Business Areas, foreign real estate buyers account for 36% or $6.1 billion of total sales volume in the South Florida real estate market. Florida remains the top state for international buyers accounting for 21% of all foreign purchases in the United States. Miami in particular continues to have the most foreign buyers accounting for 74%, which is more than double than the national figure of 35%.
As a result, it is more important than ever for realtors with foreign buyer clients to have their clients engage an international tax attorney to ensure that the ownership of the property is structured with tax efficiency. Foreign persons purchasing U.S. real estate without consulting an international tax attorney may be putting themselves in precarious tax positions if the tax implications are not considered. Below is a high level discussion of some of the key issues.