Posts Tagged taxes

Finance: 2013 Taxes For Contractors, By CPA Luke Fairfield

This is the annual letter that Luke sends out, that is filled with excellent tips for this year’s tax season. What is new this year is that Luke has a website you can go to for your own research. When he gets a Facebook or any other social network stuff up, I will post that as well.

For tax news, Luke is up on the whole tax thing going on in Iraq and how that is playing out for contractors. Also he has some valuable tips for how to deal with audits–meaning use a professional to deal with the IRS! Check it out and please contact Fairfield Hughes at their website if you want services. I am not working at this office and I am not the guy to ask if you have tax questions.

Also, I have posted the 2013 newsletter under the Taxes For Contractors tab up top so you can find it easily. A quick search and you will find my past postings on taxes as well. -Matt



For all you ex-teams, ex-pats, ex Special Forces, security contractors and operators out there I hope this letter finds you well.  In an attempt to keep you current with your tax filings I am sending out this letter as a year-end reminder that 2013 is almost over.  There are some very important changes this year that could impact many of you as it relates to the IRS’s continued, heavy audit interest in the foreign income exclusion.  If you read nothing else, read the section below updating you on this topic.  As always feel free to pass this email on to anyone in your situation who could use the help or anyone that I missed on this email. As always, I will do my best to minimize your tax bill and provide relevant advice for your situation.

Important Updates for 2013:
1) Please check our website at  It has some valuable info and answers to many frequent questions.
2) It is critically important that you retain copies of your Diplomatic passport and regular passport, overseas orders, LOAs, overseas expense receipts, VISAs and anything else that can prove you were overseas in a combat zone.  Keep these for at least 5 years.  Do not turn in your passports without making a scanned, color copy of them.
3) Should they choose to do so under audit, the IRS now has the ability to obtain an entry report from CBP and Homeland Security to verify your time in the US.
4) Zac Silides has joined our firm and is a licensed attorney.  He is able to assist with many business tax issues such as starting business entities as well as preparing family and living trusts.
5) Iraqi tax withholding.  Employees of Triple Canopy as well as Global have had Iraqi tax withheld on their salary in 2013.  Your company facilitated this by reducing the amount of federal withholding.
a. You are allowed to claim a credit for the Iraqi tax paid which directly offsets federal income tax.
b. Be aware that if you claim the foreign income exclusion, you are not allowed as large of a foreign tax credit.
6) Audits on the foreign income exclusion have greatly increased.  If you worked for Blackwater in 2009 chances are you were audited.  With Triple Canopy taking over the Blackwater contract, IRS audits followed this change and 90% of all audits on our clients were current or ex TC employees. If you have not heard of a teammate or fellow employee who has been through an audit I would be surprised.  These audits continue to spread from ex-Blackwater and TC employees to nearly anyone filing for the foreign income exclusion.  As a result, I would recommend being even more cautious in claiming the foreign income exclusion in 2013.  After a year of dealing with these audits, the below points stand out as noteworthy and important.
a. It is EXTREMELY important that you contact me in the event that you receive an audit notice.  Do not make contact with the auditor for the same reason that you do not file your own tax return.  Leave it to professionals with experience dealing with these situations; the results will almost certainly be better with less risk to you.

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Finance: If You Worked In Afghanistan Last Year For Aegis, Foreign Taxes Paid Not Shown On W2’s

This is an important tax deal specifically for Aegis contractors/employees who worked in Afghanistan this last tax year. A big thanks to Luke Fairfield for putting the word out about this, and I will put this note up in the Taxes For Contractors section. Spread this around to any Aegis folks if you read this. Also, if you are an employee with another company and you worked in Afghanistan last year, be sure to check your W-2’s to see if foreign taxes paid are present. If not, definitely call your HR department about the matter. -Matt



Fairfield Hughes, CPA’s, prepares and files the taxes for a large number of security contractors working in various combat zones.  We understand that Aegis has issued W2’s without including the amount of foreign taxes paid to Afghanistan on behalf of their employees working in the country on the W2 Form.  These foreign taxes paid represent a very large tax benefit called the “Foreign Tax Credit”.  If an individual sends their W2 to their CPA or tax preparer and that person is not aware of the foreign taxes paid, the employee could potentially miss out on the benefit.  We are asking our clients to send their final pay stub from Aegis (which reports the Afghanistan tax paid) along with their Aegis W2 to make sure they receive the tax savings.

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Industry Talk: Afghanistan Seeks Taxes From Contractors To US

These guys kill me. What part of this bilateral agreement do the Afghans not understand? Here it is again, just to emphasize how stupid this is.

A 2003 bilateral agreement states the U.S. government, “its military and civilian personnel, contractors, and contractor personnel shall not be liable to pay any tax or similar fees assessed within Afghanistan.” A subsequent 2004 Military Technical Agreement also carved out a tax-free status for contractors to the U.S., a view that has been reinforced by U.S. officials in correspondence with Afghan officials.

Not only that, but because of this dumb APPF force, these companies are forced to used government security. I don’t know if the APPF was protecting Contrack International or not during this latest attack, but I do know that according to the business folks in that area, they have been screaming for more security in that area for awhile. It is a logistics hub, and attacks on such sites are part of the Taliban goal of inflicting economic damage.

We will see if the US can press back and protect these companies that are essential to the war effort. I think this quote says it all, if the US cannot square this away.

A person involved in logistics issues said the matter could come to a head if the Afghan government imposes fees or restrictions on cargo that slows the delivery of goods to forward operating bases, or FOBs.
“We’ve been told [by the coalition] to reduce stocks. So they’ll run out of fuel and they’ll go on MREs on some of these FOBs,” the person said, referring to the military’s packaged rations. “And little Johnny’s going to call Mom, and that’s now going to be all over the press.”

We will see how it goes? -Matt



Afghanistan Seeks Taxes From Contractors to U.S.
Afghanistan has launched tax audits of major contractors to the U.S. military, government officials say, in a bid to shore up the country’s finances as the international military presence winds down and reconstruction funds dry up.
In particular, Kabul is focusing on the U.S. military’s main food supplier in Afghanistan, Supreme Foodservice GmbH, alleging that the company and similar logistics firms are abusing their status to illegally bring taxable goods into the country for resale.
Supreme says it isn’t engaging in any commercial activity in Afghanistan that should make it liable for taxes.
Kabul’s move potentially puts the Afghan government at odds with Washington, which has viewed, with limited caveats, materials imported to support the 66,000 U.S. forces here as exempt from taxation and customs fees. Since 2005, the Pentagon spent more than $7.9 billion on its food-supply contract with Supreme alone, awarding the company an additional $1.5 billion extension contract this past summer.

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Industry Talk: Congress Takes Important Step To Stop Afghan Taxation Of US Aid Dollars

This is good news and I sincerely hope that Congress has taken care of this. I know Doug Brooks and the ISOA have been working hard to overturn this practice, and it is amazing to me that we have allowed Afghanistan to do this. How much money has been lost to this corrupt practice? And what an insult?

Here is a quote from ISOA’s website on what exactly the Afghan government has been doing all of these years.

The Afghanistan Ministry of Finance (MoF) has adopted the practice of taxing foreign organizations hired by the U.S. government to support reconstruction and development in Afghanistan. Despite tax exemptions negotiated by the U.S. Department of State (DoS) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) that are applicable to U.S. government (USG) contracts, “tax exempt” companies and organizations continue to receive tax bills from the Afghan government.  Given that the Afghan government can withhold necessary work permits in the absence of tax payments, companies and organizations have little recourse but to attempt direct negotiations with Afghan officials or to pay the tax bills.

Yeah, so that is one of the methods used to harass companies and it is pathetic. If you don’t pay the tax, you don’t get the permit. And really what is being requested by the ISOA and others, is to have Afghanistan live up to their agreements. I mean it is US taxpayer dollars that are going towards aid to help stabilize this country–and this is how Afghanistan honors that?  Here is the ISOA position on this deal.

This tax situation undermines international efforts to stabilize Afghanistan, creates barriers to effective implementation of much-needed aid programs, creates significant new opportunities for corruption within the host government and among companies, and unnecessarily penalizes American taxpayers – costing them millions of dollars – for offering assistance to a foreign nation.
USG contractors in Afghanistan are caught between USG regulations that require valid business licenses and the demands of the Afghan MoF that disputed taxes be paid in order to receive these permits.  Because DoS discourages companies and organizations from negotiating the tax issue with the Afghan government directly, USG assistance is critical. There is an urgent need for clear direction from the U.S. Congress in opposing this unacceptable tax situation.
So after all of this pressure, finally Congress does the right thing. We will see if it works. A big thanks to the ISOA for bringing attention to this matter and keeping up the pressure over the years. -Matt

Congress Takes Important Step to Stop?? Afghan Taxation of U.S. Aid Dollars
07 May 2012
The International Stability Operations Association is pleased to note that the House Armed Services Committee Chairman’s Mark for the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act contains a provision that aims to end unlawful  taxation of U.S. foreign assistance by the Afghan Ministry of Finance (MOF).  The provision requires the Secretary of Defense to determine that the MOF is not violating bilateral agreements with the U.S. before the Department may use a contracting preference for Afghan goods and services, as required under the “Afghan First” policy. ISOA has worked the Afghan Tax issue as an advocacy priority and is committed to ending this inappropriate taxation.

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Finance: Taxes For Contractors 2011, By Luke Fairfield CPA

These newsletters come out about this time every year and they are a wealth of information. Probably the big one here is Luke’s suggestion of setting up a S Corp. Especially with the increased scrutiny by the IRS on those who have been claiming the foreign income exclusion.

Check it out below and definitely email him and his team if you have questions or are looking for a CPA. As you can see, he is a busy guy and Luke has partnered with another CPA to keep up. I also put his newsletter in the blue bar up top under Taxes For Contractors if you need to find it again. -Matt



For all you ex-teams, ex-pats, ex special forces, security contractors and operators out there I hope this letter finds you well.  In an attempt to keep you current with your tax filings I am sending out this letter as a year end reminder that 2011 is almost over.  There are some important new tax law changes this year such as the foreign tax being withheld in Afghanistan and increased IRS scrutiny of the foreign income exclusion and on Schedule C filers which I will address below.  Feel free to pass this email on to anyone in your situation who could use the help or anyone that I missed on this email. As always, I will do my best to minimize your tax bill and provide relevant advice for your situation.

Important Updates for 2011:
1) Audits on the foreign income exclusion have greatly increased. Those of you filing a Schedule C as an IC seem to be of particular interest.  This is due to the IRS opening a new office specifically dealing with this type of tax return.  In a typical audit, you are asked to provide some or all of the following:
a. A letter from your employer stating your work location and job duties for the year.
b. Letter of Authorization from the DOD stating your qualification to work overseas.
c. Copy of your passport to include any visa stamps.
d. A schedule of days outside the US for the period in question.
e. A copy of receipts for expenses claimed as deductions.
f. A copy of your work contract.
g. If claiming bona fide residency, they want to know where you lived, for how long and if it was your intention to remain overseas for a certain period.
2) Based on these audits, I strongly recommend starting an S Corporation for anyone who is an IC getting a 1099.  This appears to greatly reduce audit risk.  Additionally, if you do not think you could provide the above information or prove your qualification think twice about claiming it as you will most likely incur a 10 – 20% penalty on the additional tax due.

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Finance: Higher Business Taxes May Follow Treasuries Definition Of ‘Small’

Boy, this is one of those deals that could impact a bunch of folks out there who have set up S Corps or similar business structures as independent contractors. In this quote below I have included a point of contact to follow on this matter who originally brought this front and center. His name is Bob Perry and he specializes in this particular area of the industry. Here is a quote from his article and by all means follow the link if you want to read more and contact him.

TAX ALERT: For Owners of Private Security Companies
September 8th, 2011
By Bob Perry
Congressional lawmakers consider rewriting the U.S. tax code for closely held businesses, including those organized as partnerships, S corporations and limited liability companies.
This could have a dramatic negative effect on the owners of these corporations as they operate the company; and on the net proceeds from an eventual sale of the operating assets.

Hopefully some CPA types can come up and add their two cents on this deal. -Matt



Higher Business Taxes May Follow Treasury’s Definition of Small
By Andrew Zajac
Aug 18, 2011
A new definition of what constitutes a small business being considered by the Treasury Department is raising concerns among some closely held companies that it’s a step toward requiring them to pay corporate taxes.
The proposed definition, included in an Aug. 9 Treasury report, places the upper limit for a small business at $10 million in annual gross income or deductions. Currently, there is no size limit on what constitutes a small business for purposes of tax policy discussions.
The parameters could affect larger, closely held businesses, including those organized as partnerships, S corporations and limited liability companies. Such firms are called flow-through entities because profits flow directly to their owners, who pay personal income tax without first being subject to corporate tax. Large investment firms, including D.E. Shaw LP of New York and Renaissance Technologies Corp. of East Setauket, New York, and major law firms such as Los Angeles- based Latham & Watkins LLP are organized as flow-through companies.

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