Expatriate Tax Preparation: Overview of Tax Documents

By ZM Ishmurzina

Expatriate tax preparation can be a very stressful process for US taxpayers. At Artio Partners our goal is to make the process of expat tax filing easy and simple.

To facilitate this process, we created a basic list of documents that American expatriates should have to feel confident and prepared.

 

List of Expatriate Tax Documents

Expatriate Tax Questionnaire

If you decide to proceed with a CPA to prepare your expatriate tax returns, you will be requested to complete a tax questionnaire. This tax questionnaire covers all basic information and it is an invaluable source of information for your expat tax preparer to understand your tax situation. Some basic information that you have to provide is your name, SSNs, date of birth, sources of income etc.

Prior Year Expatriate Tax Return

Your prior year expat tax return is important for several reasons. First, many times we found mistakes in a prior year return. As a result of it, we advised many clients to file an amended return. Second, the prior year tax return is helpful to understand any changes in a tax position. Third, prior year information is used in a case of electronic filing as a part of expatriate tax preparation.

Travel Calendar

As an American living abroad, you probably take trips back to the USA for either business or personal reasons. However, the days of your presence in the USA affect the calculation of Foreign Earned Income Exclusion and Foreign Housing Exclusion. The exact details of your US trips are essential for accurate expatriate tax preparation.

Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts

Please collect and review your foreign bank and financial account statements to determine whether you have to file the FBARs. Americans expatriates must file the FBAR if the aggregate value of foreign financial assets exceeds $10,000 at any time during the year. The FBARs stands for the Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts or Form TD F90-22.1. This form must be filed separately from expat tax returns and sent directly to the Treasury Department by June 30 of each year. There is no extension for this form.

FATCA is another form that must be filed with an US expat tax return as a part of expatriate tax preparation. Here you can learn more about FATCA compliance.

Conclusion

As an American expat living abroad, you should not delay the process of collecting documents. If you expect to receive some tax forms like 1099, Schedule K-1 etc from the USA, please use a secure method to receive this information. Make sure you have enough time to contact an issuer in case of any misunderstanding or lost documents. If you ignore any tax form that has been reported to the IRS, it might trigger an IRS audit. If you are not sure about your tax situation or you need help with expatriate tax preparation, international tax experts at Artio Partners are here to help you.