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Tax Tips for U.S. Americans Abroad

Expat Taxes for Americans Abroad

expat taxes for americans abroad

If you’ve recently moved abroad or are currently living overseas, you may have been surprised by knowing you have a lifelong partnership with the IRS. Yes, you must file a tax return every year to the IRS, regardless of where you live in the world. Expat taxes for Americans abroad is just one of those things you got to do. Like brushing your teeth.

Here is your handy 5-point guide about Expat Taxes for Americans Abroad, so you, dear expat, can understand the basics of expat taxes and your responsibility within it.

1. Check if You Are a US Citizen or Resident

This may seem like a silly question. Perhaps you have a passport and years living in the states to prove it. For others, it can be a bit tricky. Some people may be Accidental Americans who did not choose to be American but external circumstances led them so. Such as being born in the states and then moving to another country a few weeks later. So, if you’re born in the U.S., that’s your guarantee of requiring to file expat taxes every year.

Also, Greencard holders – you have to file too! If you gave up your Greencard, be careful to make sure you also ended your residency in the eyes of the IRS by filing a “Statement Required to Establish Your Residency Termination Date.”

2. Check the Duration of Living Abroad

Perhaps you’ve been living abroad for many years, or maybe you’re a short-term expat and need to figure out your tax profile. Whatever the case may be, even if you are living abroad for a few months to a few years, you have access to the automatic extension to file taxes to June 15th if you are abroad (not just April 15th). If you can’t file taxes by the date, you can apply for an even greater extension through MyExpatTaxes to October 15th.

It’s even possible to catch up on tax years you missed out on through the Streamlined Procedure that we cover (see below).

3. Save on your Expat Taxes

There are a lot of opportunities for Americans abroad to either reduce their tax liability to $0 or get money back from their return. Families can save money through Child Tax Credit, while many can benefit from the Foreign Housing Exclusion and Foreign Earned Income Exclusion.  Plus, if the country you’re living in falls under the US Totalization Agreement – you can prevent double taxation on your Social Security fees.

4. Consider Other Tax-Filing Requirements

There are a few other tax filing requirements to be aware of. Americans abroad may still need to file state taxes. We covered an extensive list of state taxes for your specific state so you can already get a feel for what you need to take care of. 

Plus, if you have over $10,000 total from your bank accounts overseas, you need to file an FBAR before penalties hit your wallet. Self-employment tax can also be a big pain for those that are self-employed or nifty digital nomads and we at MyExpatTaxes can help you make sure all these pesky tax files can be done smoothly and for an affordable price.

5. Catch up on Expat Taxes through the Streamlined Procedure

In a previous post, we highlighted the wonders of the Streamlined Procedure. This system is for Americans abroad who either forgot to do taxes while living abroad and who skipped out on a few tax files without knowing. 

The Streamlined Procedure through MyExpatTaxes helps you catch up on all those tax forms that may have slipped through your fingers. We’ve already had many people use it already and have been happy with the results.

MyExpatTaxes Makes Expat Taxes Simple

Yes, you read that read. We guarantee affordable prices, friendly service and a team dedicated to making sure your tax profile is clean and up to date. Sign up for the app to work with one of us today.

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  1. Avatar Jorge L. Benavides on March 20, 2020 at 7:18 pm

    Hi Michelle,

    I am Jorge L. Benavides
    DOB 10-10-55. I’ve been retired n living in Costa Rica, for the last two years plus.
    IRS salid I need to pay some taxes fro.m 2018, n was given till March 25, but due to being abroad n the Corona virus can I have another month extensition? Thank you

    • Markus Markus on March 25, 2020 at 9:01 pm

      Hello Jorge – you’ll need to reach out to the IRS to get clarification on this.

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