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Complicated situation with relatives. Essence is this: Relatives own property in a European country, have rental income, and capital gains from regular sales of said property. They are trying to gift property to other relatives. All said relatives are US citizens residing in this country. It is claimed, by those who own the property, that all rental income and cap. gains are not subject to US tax, since the money is all kept in accounts in the country overseas, and since they are paying taxes to said foreign country. I've tried to explain that, AFAIK, ALL income earned by US citizens, regardless of where it is earned, is POTENTIALLY subject to US taxes, and that professional advice should be obtained as to this situation. They claim its not taxable here until the money is brought here, and "everybody knows that."

I guess my question is, while it is never wrong to pay for professional advice, isn't it true that a safe default position is that ALL income is reportable to the IRS, and while their may be credits for foreign taxes paid depending on the country, the IRS taxes a dim view of not reporting income.

Situation not complicated at all. All income earned by US citizens ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD is subject to US income tax in the year earned. Period. Certain forms of income and income from certain countries may be excluded from US income tax on the basis of tax treaties negotiated between the two countries or on the basis of certain exclusions within the current US tax law (such as the earned income exclusion), but the starting point is 100% taxable to the US. Where the cash is located is totally irrelevant.


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