Get Expert U.S. Expatriate Tax Return Preparation Wherever You Live
If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, the rules for filing an expatriate tax return and paying estimated taxes are generally the same whether you are in the United States or abroad. Your worldwide income is subject to U.S. income tax, regardless of where you reside the U.S. imposes an expatriate tax filing requirement. Most taxpayers that live overseas have no idea that they need to file U.S. taxes, and if this applies to you, you are not alone.
Living overseas generates many unique tax opportunities as well as expatriate tax risks. Of late, American expats living abroad have been hit especially hard upon coming to the realization that they were required to file tax returns even when there was no tax liability.
Tax Samaritan professionally prepares US income tax returns for American taxpayers living abroad, all returns are prepared by Enrolled Agents trained and experienced in Foreign Earned Income laws and regulations. We have the experience and training to help you navigate through this process.
Reporting Foreign Income
Many United States (U.S.) citizens and resident aliens receive foreign earned income. There have been recent reports about the interest of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in taxpayers with accounts overseas. The interest of the IRS covers accounts anywhere in the world. Consequently, it is of great importance to report your worldwide income on your U.S. tax return and ensure that you have an accurate and complete disclosure on your return.
If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, you must report income from all sources within and outside of the U.S. This is true whether or not you receive a Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement, a Form 1099 (Information Return), the foreign equivalents or no statement at all.
Not reporting income from foreign sources may be a crime. The IRS and its international partners are actively pursuing those who hide income or assets offshore to evade expatriate tax liabilities. The goal is to ensure U.S. citizens and residents are accurately reporting their income and complying with their U.S. Expatriate Tax Obligations.
You will face serious consequences if the IRS finds you have unreported income or undisclosed foreign financial accounts. These consequences can include not just the additional taxes, but also substantial penalties, interest, fines and even imprisonment.
An important reason to file your expatriate tax return now is that the statute of limitations for IRS audits expires three years after you file your return. However, if you do not file an expatriate tax return, the statute of limitations does not expire.
US expatriate tax preparation by Enrolled Agents trained and experienced in foreign earned income laws and regulations
As an overseas resident, there are many opportunities for tax savings but also many risks. Tax Samaritan has the experience and knowledge of the tax code to guide you through the complex expatriate tax preparation process including, but not limited to the following areas that may be utilized to maximize your tax savings:
The Foreign Earned Income Exclusion is the single largest expatriate tax advantage available to you.
If you meet certain requirements, you may qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion and foreign housing exclusions. However, it is only applicable by filing an expatriate tax return and claiming the exclusion with the requisite forms. If elected, you may qualify to exclude from income taxation up to an amount of your foreign earnings that is adjusted annually for inflation ($95,100 for 2012). Earned income is income that you earn from work and does not include passive income, such as interest and dividend income, rental income and other income that does not come from labor. In addition, you may also be able to claim an additional foreign housing exclusion or housing deduction for your housing expenses that exceed a standard amount established by the U.S.
Tax Samaritan can help you claim the foreign earned income exclusion that can be used to partially or completely reduce your foreign earned income.
If you paid or accrued foreign taxes to a foreign country on foreign source income and are subject to U.S. tax on the same income, you may be able to take either a foreign tax credit or an itemized deduction for those taxes. Taken as a deduction, foreign income taxes reduce your U.S. taxable income. Taken as a credit, foreign income taxes reduce your U.S. tax liability. In most cases, it is to your advantage to take foreign income taxes as a credit.
We can help you claim the foreign tax credit and ensure that you are paying the least amount of taxes legally possible.
If you have a financial interest in or signature authority over a foreign financial account, including a bank account, brokerage account, mutual fund, trust, or other type of foreign financial account, exceeding certain thresholds, the Bank Secrecy Act may require you to report the account yearly to the Internal Revenue Service by filing a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).
U.S. citizens and U.S. residents who are officers, directors, or shareholders in certain foreign corporations are responsible for filing Form 5471 Information Return of U.S. Persons With Respect to Certain Foreign Corporations. The form and attached schedules are used to satisfy the reporting requirements of transactions between foreign corporations and U.S. persons under sections 6038 and 6046 of the Internal Revenue Code. Substantial penalties exist for U.S. citizens and U.S. residents who are liable for filing Form 5471 and who failed to do so.
The filing requirements for Form 5471 relate to persons who have a certain level of control in certain foreign corporations as described on pages 1-3 of the Form 5471 instructions. Please refer to those instructions for the details about who is liable for filing Form 5471 or let Tax Samaritan put your mind at ease by having one of our experts prepare the Form 5471.
The Form 5471 is filed as an attachment to the your federal income tax return.
International Social Security agreements, often called “Totalization agreements,” serve to eliminate dual Social Security taxation, the situation that occurs when a worker from one country works in another country and is required to pay Social Security taxes to both countries on the same earnings. We will review to determine whether you can benefit from a totalization agreement and assist you with the presentation of the required documentation for your return.
When to File an Expatriate Tax Return
If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien residing overseas, or are in the military on duty outside the U.S., on the regular due date of your return (April 15), you are allowed an automatic 2-month extension to file your return (until June 15) and pay any amount due without requesting an extension.
Why Choose Tax Samaritan?
We have carefully studied those particular code sections that apply to foreign earned income and other areas that are of direct interest to US taxpayers overseas, and we are certain that we will give your taxable events the most advantageous tax treatment. We focus a large portion of our efforts on tax return preparation and tax planning for American taxpayers living abroad.
We have been working with overseas clients for several years, so we understand the communication challenges (such as large file transfers, bad telephone connections and the challenge to reach someone easily). While simple, many tax preparers are unable or unwilling to deal with these communication challenges. Even though thousands of miles away, you will feel that we are easy to reach and 100% with you every step of the way.