So what property has to  be included on a US estate tax return?  The Internal Revenue Code states the value of the estate of a foreign individual is the part of his estate situated in the US at the time of his death.[1]   In 2010, foreign governments and individuals invested $1,245.7 billion, excluding derivatives, in US assets.[2]  Although foreign governments made the majority of the investments, foreign individuals also invested in real estate, art, cash, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other property situated in the US.

An estate includes all property situated in the US, whether real or personal, tangible or intangible property.[3] For a nonresident alien, that means only his property located within the US; unlike property owned by a US citizen, who includes all of his property wherever situated.

What property is situated in the US?  The answer may surprise you.  We’ll get into more detail of what the Internal Revenue Service deems as property within the US and property without the US in our next blog.  The Internal Revenue Code provides specific categories for each.

[1] IRC §§2103, 2106.

[2] US Dept. of Commerce; Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S, Net International Investment Position at Year End 2010 (http//

[3] IRC §2031.


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