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Ed Johnson
Ed Johnson, Tax Preparer
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 10760
Experience:  GPHR Cert; U.S. Treasury Tax Advocacy Panel appointee
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Re Estate Tax Marital Deduction, Surviving Spouse is ...

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Re: Estate Tax Marital Deduction, Surviving Spouse is a French citizen. I am informed that there is a U.S./France protocol that gives french citizens residing in the U.S. an exception to the rule that non U.S. citizens are not elegible for the marital deduction. In other words the surving U.S. resident French spouse can claim the marital deduction. Please confirm.

Dear rar,

Thank you for using Just Answers. this is true. A prior law had taken that benefit away, which resulted in a new protocol being written and signed into law in 2004.

You can read a discription of the writing of the protocol and the changes that pertain to your situation.

NOTE: this is a result of the tax treaty between the U.S. and France.

Ed Johnson and 4 other Tax Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Ed Johnson's Post: Mr. Johnson- Thank you. What would I write into the 706 form when I claim the marital deduction, that cites the relevant statutes that supports this deduction?

that is something I will have to research and get back to you on.

the instructions for completing the form would imply that you would simply fill it out as if she were othewise entitled. SECTION M would not work in this case, becasue this proeprty was not contained as a qualified domestic trust. (QDRO).

I am thinking she has to submit a form W-8??? with the document in order to calim tax treaty benefits.

I am checking on that for you and will get back to you.

Dear rar,

According the Internal Revenue Service, use schedule M to indicate that she is not a u.s. citizen and that her country is France.

The IRS automatically checks for treaty treatment.

There is no need to seperately request the treaty benefits. That is the purpose of that spot in schedule M.

It would be prudent, because IRS agents sometimes make mistakes, to include a cover letter such as:

Please accept this estate tax return form 706. Please not the surviving spouse is a French Citizen as indicated in schedule M.

It is my understanding that an existing tax treaty between the U.S. and France preserves the marital deduction for non u.s. citizens of france.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Thank you again. This is great!!

Dear Rar,

You are welcome, and thanks for your comments.

Best Regards


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Mr. Johnson
I got your email and it seems only way to rerspond is via this old question. (I don't know why it thinks I did not accept your answer. I accepted it long ago.)
We filed fed estate tax claiming special "french deduction". We had conflicting opinions as to whether or not it was a legitimate claim. We have not heard back yet from feds with the only answer that counts.

Dear rar,


these are complicated issues, and legal presendence is ongoing. These matters of treaties are always open to interpretation.


We read them and think, this is the way it should be, only to find out the IRS may pull something from obscurity to make a different claim.


This is how things end up in tax court.


You are correct that in the end it matters how the IRS interprets things. But,in the end you have a right to appeal.


If the IRS rules against you, be sure to let me know. They shoudl include a letter telling how you can appeal. If not I will give you some instruction on that.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Mr. Johnson - This is not a question, just a statement but I do not know how one does that... Perhaps, you recall my question last year about the French widow of my brother, an American citizen. Well, my $200 an hour California lawyer was wrong, and you were correct. The IRS accepted the "French Deduction" and we did not have to pay any estate tax. So, Thanks again!
Robert A. Rosenthal