Can Expats e-File their US taxes?

August 31, 2022 | , | 4 minute read
Expat Tax Blog. Tax Tips for US Americans abroad.

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Woman sits at her laptop wondering if expats can e-file their US taxes.

True or False? Expats can’t e-file their US tax returns. The answer is FALSE! It’s a common myth that expats can’t e-file their US taxes from abroad. When, in fact, they can, AND we’re going to share how. So buckle up because this is ‘How to eFile your US taxes from Abroad.

WHY this myth is so popular

It all comes down to the fact that most traditional tax software often doesn’t let expats eFile. Many expats begin by trying to do their tax returns the same way they had in the states. They start using one of the many popular tax software programs back home. We’re talking about programs like Turbo Tax, Tax Act, or Tax Slayer, to name a few. 

It’s no surprise that many expats start off using these programs. For one, they are accustomed to filing this way. Another is that these kinds of programs go out of their way to appear free or low-cost. However, that in and of itself is often not the case. They actually come with high fees for add-ons like reporting investment or self-employment income, for example. 

So why do expats not realize they can’t e-file with a different tax solution? And why don’t they know about the best tax software for expats? There are two tricks the mainstream companies use here.

The first trick: Get you to pay

You’ll pay additional fees because you’ve already invested time and effort.

Once you add your personal information and finances into the program, you watch the fees add up. You’ve already gone this far and want to get your taxes done ASAP. So you keep going. These programs rely on you falling for what’s known as The Sunk Cost Fallacy

In short, the Sunk Cost Fallacy involves continuing to invest (money, time, energy) into something because you’ve already invested ‘X’ amount. The longer you fall for the belief that, in the end, this is the better way to go, the more you will continue to dig yourself deeper into a hole. The longer you believe the fallacy, the harder it will be to see the truth.

The second trick: You’ve already committed

They won’t admit that you can’t e-file until the end of the process.

You’ve gone through the entire process on traditional tax software. Maybe you’ve even already paid for the costs you’ve accumulated. Then and only then do they inform you, “Sorry! You won’t be able to eFile.” 

Wait, what? Why the heck not? 

Depending on the program, it could be because you are using a foreign address, have a foreign spouse, or need some expat-specific form. Or it simply could be because you will neither owe taxes nor receive a refund. Whatever the reason, being denied the ability to eFile is undeniably frustrating.

Suddenly you need to locate a printer, print your return, and sign it. You’d be surprised how many people forget to sign their hard copy tax returns! Assuming you’ve managed that, you’ll need to locate the correct mailing address for the IRS. Yes, there is one address specifically for Americans abroad. And then take it to your local post office. Let’s hope you don’t live in a mountain village far from a post office!

Let’s fast forward a bit. You’ve located a post office and sent your tax return to Austin, Texas. How many hands will it go through on the way? How many countries? If you’re lucky, you live in a country with a well-developed postal system, and your taxes arrive in the US quickly and easily. 

Even in this best-case scenario, it could be weeks or months before the IRS can confirm if they’ve received your tax return. And if you’re expecting a refund? Add on further delays.

Wow. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. So who would go to all this trouble to file a tax return? As mentioned, someone who has fallen for the Sunk-Cost Fallacy – OR – someone who doesn’t know there is a better way.

99% of MyExpatTaxes users e-File

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With MyExpatTaxes, you can eFile your tax return as a US Citizen abroad. To offer eFiling, MyExpatTaxes goes above and beyond to get approval from the IRS to eFile the tax returns of Americans abroad. 

That’s it! There is no massive secret to eFiling your US taxes from abroad. You need to work with a company that has been granted permission to eFile for you. 

If it’s that easy, why don’t others offer the option to eFile from abroad? 

Good question! We can’t speak for them, but we know that at MyExpatTaxes, our focus is on making filing US taxes from outside the United States as quick and easy as possible! For us, as expats ourselves, that means being able to instantly e-File.

Expats e-File with Fare & Transparent Pricing

In addition to making e-Filing easy, you’ll always know exactly what you’re getting when you work with MyExpatTaxes. It’s also why we automatically include forms for which the competition charges extra. 

Forms like the FBAR or FATCA are always part of the basic plan. If you prefer to have one of our accountants do your return for you, that’s available too! And again, everything included is listed on the pricing page

With MyExpatTaxes, you’ll know:

  • exactly how much your tax return will cost before you even start the process
  • that you’ll have the ability to eFile, even from abroad
  • you can ask a real-human expert using live chat
  • you can upgrade and let a tax expert complete your taxes for you
  • thousands of expats turn to MyExpatTaxes every year

What are you waiting for?

It’s never too late to get tax compliant. Whether this is the 10th time you’ve filed from abroad or the 1st, we can get you on track and in good standing with the IRS. It’s what we do! eFile your expat taxes today, and you could be on your way to a tax refund!

Written by Ellen M

August 31, 2022 | , | 4 minute read

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