PUBLISHED: 12:01, Sun, Sep 20, 2020 | UPDATED: 12:02, Sun, Sep 20, 2020
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the US’ equivalent of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and discussions over the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s move across the pond have led to questions of whether Meghan and Harry may act as a gateway for the IRS into viewing royal finances. However, tax expert David Lesperance insisted there is no way the IRS would be able to look at the finances of royals like Prince Charles, even if he is bankrolling Harry, and branded the idea “bulls***”. Indeed, they will not even be allowed access to Harry’s finances unless he becomes a US person for tax purposes, either by Meghan sponsoring him for a green card or by coming in on a visa and staying long enough to pass the substantial presence test.
However, the presumption raised by the substantial presence test can still be overcome by certain rules in the US-UK tax treaty.
However, Meghan, as a US citizen, is automatically a US person for tax purposes.
Mr Lesperance said: “The first thing is, what do they have a right to look at? They have a right to look at US source income.
“Likewise, unless Harry becomes a US person for tax purposes, the IRS does not have any ability to look at his finances.
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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry moved to the US in March (Image: GETTY)
The couple now live in Santa Barbara, California (Image: GETTY)
“Say for the moment he becomes a US person for tax purposes and his father takes money out of his trust and gives him £1million?
“Does the IRS have the power to look at Dad’s trusts? The answer is no, absolutely not.”
Through the SWIFT banking system, the authorities will know if Harry has received money into a US bank account.
However, if the money has come from Duchy of Cornwall coffers or Charles’ personal wealth, Harry will just be able to inform them that it was a gift from his father and so is not to be included in his taxable income.
Prince Charles said he would fund Meghan and Harry for a year with Duchy of Cornwall coffers (Image: GETTY)
Mr Lesperence said: “The IRS is going to say, ‘Harry, we know that there’s a £1million that was deposited in your account last Monday, can