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Tax Law (Questions About Taxes)/certtficate of compliance


My son is a non-resident of the U.S. for 30 years.
In my will, he is a beneficiary.
My question: Does he need a certificate of compliance in order to inherit?

Thanks for your help.


Hello Chris,

Your son may be physically residing abroad for 30 years, however, he remains U.S. tax resident if he is a U.S. citizen by birth or through  naturalization.

Your son indeed may have problems receiving inheritance if he has not filed U.S. tax returns and did not comply with the foreign financial reporting required for all U.S. citizens regardless of where they live.

There is no such thing as an official certificate of compliance but he may be asked to provide an informal proof of U.S. tax compliance - the copies of filed U.S. tax returns and confirmation of filing financial reports.

If your son is behind with his U.S. tax obligations, the IRS has an amnesty program for U.S. citizens/green card holders that would allow him to get back into compliance without paying penalties. The program requires only 3 years of tax returns and once approved, your son will no longer be at risk of IRS looking back to prior years.


Hope this helps,
I.J.Zemelman, EA

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IJ Zemelman, EA MBA


I am an IRS-authorized EA and principal of a Tax Preparation firm focusing on U.S. Expatriates. We specialize in all tax issues faced by American citizens living abroad - such as foreign earned income, tax treaties, foreign spouse, etc. Visit our website - - for more information.


18 years professional tax experience, 12 with expatriate taxes.

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MBA from Zicklin School Of Business, IRS Enrolled Agent

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