Expatriate Tax Returns
It’s back-to-school season! Use the cooler temperatures and time away from the kids to get organized. We always like to keep taxes top of mind and have perfected a few organizational tips that help us stay on track. Here are a few tips that we find work for our customers and ourselves:
- Designate a Space: Keep all of your tax documents in one place. A simple file folder with all of the necessary forms will keep you from running around attempting to locate everything come April.
- Label Your Things: Divide your receipts into separate sections, with everything nicely labeled with a system that works for you. Keep childcare expenses separate from medical, or create categories that you find helpful.
- Find Some Time: Don’t let tax season sneak up on you! Carve out some time on your calendar of choice. If it’s an hour per month or 5 minutes a day to stay organized, make sure you keep yourself ahead of the game.
Have you heard of the Bona Fide Residence Test? Meeting the bona fide residence test will allow an expatriate to qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion. If you are a resident of a foreign country for an entire tax year, from January 1st to December 31st, you may meet qualifications for the Bona Fide Residency Test. Note, however, that simply living in a foreign country does not automatically qualify you for such status.
You must first, of course, establish residency. If you are in a foreign location for an extended time and have secured permanent living space, you have likely established residency. You may leave the country temporarily for business or vacations, so long as you intend to return to your permanent foreign residence without an extended delay.
Additional factors determine whether you are a bona fide resident of a foreign country. Both the length and nature of the stay are taken into consideration. The IRS uses information from Form 2555, Foreign Earned Income. This form will help allow ex-pats to claim the foreign earned income exclusion, and therefore must be filed.
Should your stay in the foreign country not include an entire tax year, you may qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion under the physical presence test. This test requires you to be physically present 330 full days during 12 consecutive months. Should you leave the country regardless of the reason, you will not meet the physical presence test.
The tax filing deadline for expats is June 15th, 2021. Expats receive an automatic extension on U.S. filings. The IRS has not issued any changes to this deadline this year. Any payments owed for 2020 are overdue to the IRS. If you inadvertently forgot or didn’t know you owed, contact us as soon as possible to speak with one of our tax experts. We can help. The vast majority of our expats do not owe money. Extensions for tax filing (not payment) can be pushed from June 15th to October 15th, contact us to learn more. Please know that even if you don’t owe money, you must file!
Each state has its own tax laws and requirements for expat tax filing. If you are unsure whether or not you need to file for your state, contact Expatriate Tax Returns. Our professionals are here to help you through the process and make tax filing easy.
Expatriate Tax Returns is licensed, experienced, and current on changing tax laws. From planning to preparation, we are always available to answer your tax questions. You can rest assured that your taxes will be filed accurately and completed by June 15th, your American expat tax deadline! Contact us to get started.