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Expats: What you may need to file U.S. taxes

By H&R Block

Summary: So you know you need to file a US tax return, you need to file it by June 16. What documents do you need to prepare? H&R Block provides a checklist to help guide you.

Expat Tax  - What you may need to file U.S. taxes

It may come as a surprise to some Americans living abroad that they still need to file a U.S. tax return. That's right – even if you live in another country, work in another country and don't have any money invested in U.S. accounts, you will still likely be required to file a tax return as a U.S. citizen. Don't worry, the deadline is June 16 this year as June 15th is a Sunday, and we can help you get started.

While there are a lot of things that are different about filing U.S. taxes while you live – and possibly work – abroad, the basic premise is the same. The IRS wants a financial accounting of your year.

The first thing you want to do is determine whether you truly need to file. Here are the general filing requirements for 2013. However, it's never bad to speak with a tax professional about your full situation.

So you know you need to file a return, you need to file it by June 16 and you've selected a tax professional to help you complete the process. What documents do you need to prepare? Here's a checklist to help guide you.

1. Personal information

  • Date of birth and social security number
  • Spouse's name, date of birth and social security number (if applicable)
  • Approximate amount of income made by adults in your household (not spouse if filing jointly)
  • Childcare records
  • Rental property records

2. Tax documents

  • Past year's tax return
  • Foreign country tax return (if applicable)

3. Income statements

  • Any U.S. wage reporting documents that you've received. Those could include:
    • W-2
    • 1099
    • K-1
    • 1098 (paid student loan interest or mortgage payments)
  • Foreign wage statements. Some examples below:
    • T4 (Canada)
    • P45 or P60 (UK)
    • kyuyo-shotoku-gensen-choshu-hyo (Japan)
    • PAYG (Australia)
    • Form 16 (India)

4. Account and brokerage statements

  • Bank accounts
  • Investments

Living abroad and keeping up with U.S. tax filing obligations can be challenging. H&R Block Expat Tax Services specializes in working with expats who may have overlooked some of these filing requirements in the past. We have a dedicated team of CPAs, enrolled agents, attorneys and former IRS agents who can handle even the most complicated tax returns.

Contact H&R Block U.S. Expat Tax Services at expattax@hrblock.com or visit hrblock.com/expats

About the Author

AS H&R BlockH&R Block is the global leader in tax preparation. Since 1955, H&R Block has prepared more than 550 million tax returns worldwide. We specialize in U.S. expat tax preparation for Americans living abroad.

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First Published: Jun 07, 2014

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