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January 31, 2020

Estate Planning for US Expatriates and US Nonresidents with US Assets

If you are an expatriate with foreign assets, US assets  or a nonresident of the US with US assets you
need to look into estate planning to reduce probate costs, make certain your assets go to the heirs you desire, and  reduce possible US estate taxes.  If you have assets located outside the US, you need to have attorneys prepare a will in that country to make certain those foreign assets go to the desired beneficiaries upon your death.

We can help with your US estate planning if you are an expatriate, resident or nonresident.


January 16, 2020


Purpose of the streamlined procedures

The streamlined filing compliance procedures describe below are available to taxpayers certifying that their failure to report foreign financial assets and pay all tax due in respect of those assets did not result from willful conduct on their part. The streamlined procedures are designed to provide to taxpayers in such situations with
  • a streamlined procedure for fling amended or delinquent returns, and
  • terms for resolving their tax and penalty procedure for filing amended or delinquent returns, and
  • terms for resolving their tax and penalty obligations.
As reflected below, the streamlined filing procedures that were first offered on September 1, 2012 have been expanded and modified to accommodate a broader group of U.S. taxpayers. Major changes to the streamlined procedures include: 
  • extension of eligibility to U.S. taxpayers residing in the United States
  • Elimination of the $1,500 tax threshold, and 
  • elimination of the risk assessment process associated with the streamlined filing compliance procedure announced in 2012.

Eligibility criteria for the streamlined procedures

The modified streamlined filing compliance procedures are designed only for individual taxpayers, including estates of individual taxpayers. The streamlined procedures are available to both U.S. individual taxpayers residing outside the United States and U.S. individual taxpayers residing in the United States. Descriptions of the specific eligibility requirements for the streamlined procedures for both non-U.S. residents (the "Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures") and U.S. residents ("Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures") are set forth below.
Taxpayers must certify that conduct was not willful. Taxpayers using either the Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures or the Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures, will be required to certify, in accordance with the specific instructions set forth below, that the failure to report all income, pay all tax and submit all required information returns, including FBARs (FinCEN Form 114, previously Form TD F 90-22,1) was due to non-willful conduct. Non-willful conduct is conduct that is due to negligence, inadvertence, or mistake or conduct that is the result of a good faith misunderstanding of the requirements of the law.  READ MORE DETAILS OF THE STREAMLINED PROGRAM HERE
Our firm of CPAs and Attorney have represented and assisted hundreds of individuals enter the Streamlined Program. If you wish to learn more and want help entering the program EMAIL US to set up a consultation.

January 14, 2020


Do not wait to long to file an amended tax return or file your original  tax return if you  expect to get a refund.  The IRS has 10 years to  collect taxes you owe but when it comes to refunding your overpayments you have a limited time.
You have  3 years  from the date of the original deadline for your tax return to claim any refund you might be entitled to. Your 2019 tax return is due on April 15, 2020, so you have until April 15, 2023 to file your 2019 tax return and still get any tax refund that's due to you. Just add three years to the filing deadline...unless you paid any taxes that were due on the tax return.

In this case, the statute of limitations would be only two years from the date you paid if this date is later than the three-year due date deadline.  Amended returns claiming additional refunds must be filed with the IRS before the three-year statute of the limitations expires, which would be Oct. 15 if you filed an extension of the prior years return. 

If you need help filing an amended return to get a refund or your original return before the short  IRS refund statute of limitations expires contact us.  We most often can prepare your return in short order before it is too late.  EMAIL US FOR HELP

January 13, 2020

Cheapest States To Retire In USA for Expats returning

Many expats after living and working abroad for many years plan  to retire back in the USA. Marketwatch has done a study which shows the cheapest and most expensive states in which to retire.  Hawaii is the most expensive state with California coming in number 2.  The cheapest state is Mississippi.  READ DETAILS OF STUDY HERE   It will show you the cost of living, etc. for all of the states in the US.

You also need to consider things from your personal income tax point of view. The states that have no income taxes include:

  • Texas
  • Florida
  • Nevada
  • Washington
  • Alaska
  • South Dakota
  • Wyoming
Contact us if you have questions or need to know more.  Kauffman Nelson LLP CPAs and Don D. Nelson, Attorney at Law.

January 11, 2020

When you Own Rental Property Abroad- How to Treat on Your US tax Return

When you own rental property outside of the USA  (which is required to be reported on your US income tax return) you will need to know the following to properly report it on your US taxes:

1. The lifetime its value  is depreciated most often is different from the rate in the USA.
2.  It is reported on Form 1040 schedule E, if it is not owned through a foreign partnership, corporation or foreign trust.
3. If the property is owned through a foreign corporation, trust or partnership special forms must be filed with your US personal tax return such as form 5471, 8865, 3520, etc.  Failure to file one of these forms if  required can result in a penalty of $10,000 or more.
4. The income and expenses of the rental must be reported for taxes in the same manner as a US rental property.
5. You will get a tax credit to offset your US tax on the rental income for income taxes paid the country in which the rental is located.
6. The US income tax rules for the rental apply to the property even though it as a VRBO, ARBNB, or other vacation rental.
7.  You cannot do a 1031 exchange from your rental into a US rental property or exchange a US rental property into a foreign rental property.
8. If you maintain a bank account abroad to collect rent and pay expenses you may be obligated to file Form 114 each year to report that (those) account(s). Failure to report can result in substantial penalties.

If you have questions or need further information EMAIL US FOR ANSWERS  We are US CPAs and Attorney with over 20 years experience in international taxation.

January 6, 2020

2019 New Tax Law Changes for US Expatriates and Other US Taxpayers

The US expatriate foreign earned income exclusion rises to  $105,900 for 2019  That means if you and  US taxpaying your  both work  you can exclude $211,800 from taxation on your form 1040.  The foreign housing deduction which can be taken on top of the foreign earned income exclusion has also increased and varies by your country of residency.     The amount deductible from foreign earnings  must exceed $16,944 and cannot be more than $31,770  in total.     This amount  can be greater based on the city and country of residency SEE TABLE IN PUBLICATION 54.