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March 30, 2015

Expats - Retirement Costs Many Do Not Think About

Click here to see retirement costs you may not have considered in your retirement plan   If you plan to retire abroad, planning will help since every year various foreign locations become more expensive and the cost to retire may increase. Let help with your estate or retirement plan abroad (taking into account US tax and estate law) call us at

March 26, 2015

IRS International Tax Topic Index Will Answer Most Expat and International Tax Questions

The International Tax Topic Index is a gateway into IRS Tax Map specifically designed for taxpayers with international filing requirements. IRS Tax Map gathers all information about a topic in one place and contains topics from across the IRS.
You can find international topics using search or the  link below below. Use the search box on the left navigation bar to search all topics in Tax Map including international topics.
If you need further help with any question or assistance contact  our firm Kaufman Nelson LLP for assistance from an Attorney, CPA with over 30 years experience.  Ask for a mini consultation.  Email us at 

March 23, 2015

Six IRS Tax Tips about Reporting Foreign Income

Are you a U.S. citizen or resident who worked abroad last year? Did you receive income from a foreign source in 2014? If you answered ‘yes’ to either of those questions here are six tax tips you should know about foreign income:
1. Report Worldwide Income.  By law, U.S. citizens and residents must report their worldwide income. This includes income from foreign trusts, and foreign bank and securities accounts.
2. File Required Tax Forms.  You may need to fileSchedule B, Interest and Ordinary Dividends, with your U.S. tax return. You may also need to file Form 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets. In some cases, you may need to file FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts. See for more information.
3. Review the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. If you live and work abroad, you may be able to claim the foreign earned income exclusion. If you qualify, you won’t pay tax on up to $99,200 of your wages and other foreign earned income in 2014. See Form 2555, Foreign Earned Income, or Form 2555-EZ, Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, for more details.  On top of that amount you may also be eligible for the foreign housing exclusion or deduction if you earn in excess of the foreign earned income exclusion.
4. Don’t Overlook Credits and Deductions.  You may be able to take a tax credit or a deduction for income taxes you paid to a foreign country. These benefits can reduce your taxes if both countries tax the same income.
5. Tax Filing Extension is Available.  If you live outside the U.S. and can’t file your tax return by April 15, you may qualify for an automatic two-month extension of time to file. That will give you until June 16, 2015, to file your U.S. tax return. This extension also applies to those serving in the military outside the U.S. You will need to attach a statement to your return explaining why you qualify for the extension.
6. Get  Tax Help.  Check the international services Web page for the types of help the IRS provides. 
For more on this topic refer to Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad. 
If you are preparing your own return and have questions, we can provide you with the answers in a mini consultation. Or if you want your return reviewed prior to filing with the IRS, we can do that too.  And of course, we also prepare expatriate, nonresident and international tax returns.  We have over 30 years experience preparing expatriate and nonresident tax returns. We are the experts you need.
Email for assistance at 

Additional IRS Resources:

March 15, 2015

IRS Required Withholding on Payments to Foreign Companies and Individuals

U.S. Tax Withholding on Payments to Foreign Persons U.S. source income paid to foreign individuals amounts to $140 billion each year. Most types of U.S. source income paid to a foreign person are subject to a withholding tax of 30%, although a reduced rate or exemption may apply if stipulated in the applicable tax treaty.
General Rule
In general, a person that makes a payment of U.S. source income to a foreign person must withhold the proper amount of tax, report the payment on Form 1042-S and file a Form 1042 by March 15 of the year following the payment(s).
Withholding Agent
The person making the payment is considered to be the withholding agent. You are a withholding agent if you are a U.S.or foreign person that has control of any item of income of a foreign person that is subject to withholding.
withholding agent may be an:
 As a withholding agent, the payer is personally liable for any tax required to be withheld and which the payer fails to withhold. 
A payment to a foreign person is subject to withholding if it is from sources within the United States, and it is either:
  • Fixed or determinable annual or periodical ( FDAP) income, or
  • Certain gains from the disposition of timber, coal, and iron ore or from the sale or exchange ofintangible property (such as patents or copyrights)
Examples of FDAP income subject to withholding include (but are not limited to):
Withholding Agent Obligations
When you make a payment of U.S. source income to a foreign person or entity you are normally required to withhold U.S. income tax at a rate of 30% and report it on Forms 1042-S and 1042 by March 15 of the year following the payment(s).
The penalty for not filing Forms 1042-S and1042 when due (including extensions) is usually 5% of the unpaid tax for each month or part of a month the return is late, but not more than 25% of the unpaid tax. Additional penalties apply for failure to provide complete and correct information or if you fail to provide a complete and correct statement to each recipient. The maximum penalty is $100,000 per year.
More detailed information on this subject can be found in the links below. Contact us if you need more information for your particular situation. 
1042   Annual withholding tax return for US Source income of foreign persons
1042-S.  Foreign persons U.S. source income subject to withholding
Non Resident Alien Withholding  Information from
Publication 515   Withholding of tax on nonresident aliens and foreign entities

March 9, 2015

The Best and Worst States to be a Taxpayer

Read this link to see the best and worst states to live in as a taxpayer. As an expat there is not law that says you must have a state of residency or file state tax returns. However, some states including California, Virginia, Alabama, New Mexico and others have state laws that make it very difficult to give up your state tax domicile even if you move abroad permanently.  We can help with this process of abandoning tax domicile in those states. 

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