Expat Taxes

Expat Compliance With US Tax Filing Obligations

Taxpayers who relinquish citizenship without complying with their U.S. tax obligations are subject to the significant tax consequences of the U.S. expatriation tax regime. If you’re an expat who has relinquished—or intends to relinquish—your U.S. citizenship but still has U.S. tax filing obligations (including owing back taxes), you’ll be relieved to know there are IRS procedures in place that allow you to come into compliance and receive relief for any back taxes owed. Let’s take a look:

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july 15 tax deadline

July 15 is the Deadline for Reporting Foreign Income

If you live or work outside the United States, you generally must file and pay your tax in the same way as people living in the U.S. This includes people with dual citizenship. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, people who live and work abroad have until Wednesday, July 15, 2020, to file their 2019 federal income tax return and pay any tax due. The deadline is normally June 15.

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Expat Compliance With US Tax Filing Obligations

Taxpayers who relinquish citizenship without complying with their U.S. tax obligations are subject to the significant tax consequences of the U.S. expatriation tax regime. If you’re an expat who has relinquished – or intends to relinquish – your US citizenship but still has US tax filing obligations (including owing back taxes) you’ll be relieved to know there are new IRS procedures in place that allow you to come into compliance and receive relief for any back taxes owed.

Here’s what you need to know:

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Reporting Foreign Income for US Tax Payers

Reporting Foreign Income for U.S. Taxpayers

If you are living or working outside the United States, you generally must file and pay your tax in the same way as people living in the U.S. This includes people with dual citizenship.

In addition, U.S. taxpayers with foreign accounts exceeding certain thresholds may be required to file Form FinCen114, known as the “FBAR” as well as Form 8938, also referred to as “FATCA.”

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Penalty Relief for Transition Tax on Foreign Earnings

Section 965 of the Internal Revenue Code, enacted in December 2017, imposes a transition tax on untaxed foreign earnings of foreign corporations owned by U.S. shareholders by deeming those earnings to be repatriated. Foreign earnings held in the form of cash and cash equivalents are taxed at a 15.5 percent rate, and the remaining earnings are taxed at an 8 percent rate. The transition tax generally may be paid in installments over an eight-year period when a taxpayer files a timely election under section 965(h).

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Sinai Combat Zone Tax Benefits Retroactive to 2015

Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) enacted in December 2017, members of the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Coast Guard who performed services in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt can now claim combat zone tax benefits. As such, eligible service members may be able to exclude part or all of their combat pay from their income for federal income tax purposes. Excluding combat pay from a taxpayer’s income can result in a lower tax bill. These combat zone tax benefits are retroactive to June 2015.

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