Relocating is a stressful and complicated process even if you’re only moving a few blocks away. For someone who opts to live abroad, these concerns are compounded by international tax requirements. Whether you’re considering a job-related move or a (very) extended vacation, you’ll need international tax planning in Bellingham, MA. Ann Irons, a Massachusetts CPA, shares a two-part guide to navigating tax planning for expatriates.
An Eye-Opening Requirement
Believe it or not, just because you live outside of the United States doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be required to continue paying your taxes to the IRS. If you earn foreign income, this rule applies—even if you’re also paying taxes to the country or countries in which you’re staying. As far as the IRS is concerned, residents and citizens alike can be taxed on their worldwide income, not just income earned within the United States. Your host country may or may not require worldwide income reporting. For example, Canada does not have a similar requirement for its citizens.
Fortunately, multiple tax breaks are available from the IRS, reducing the amount of long-distance taxes you can expect to pay.
Foreign Tax Credit
After a prolonged amount of time (six months for most countries), you will be expected to pay taxes to the country in which you’ve taken residence. This means you’ll also be paying the US; this is called double taxation, and our tax code permits a foreign tax credit. First, you’ll look at the tax rates for the US and your country of residence. Subtract the lower rate from the higher rate, and pay the amount of the higher tax rate, divided evenly among the US and the other country.
Foreign Earned Income Exclusion
As an expatriate, you may be eligible to claim the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. Effective 2013 and on, you may exclude as much as $97,600 of your foreign-earned income. However, you must first be able to prove that you have lived in your country of residence outside the US for a minimum of 330 days. These 330 days must fall within a consecutive 12-month period. Irons adds that you cannot claim this inclusion if you are living on the high seas, or if you are living somewhere with no government, such as the continent Antarctica.
Questions about filing taxes as an expatriate? To learn more about international taxes, or to schedule a consultation with Ann Irons, CPA, LLC, contact us at (508) 966-0700. We welcome businesses, individuals, and law practices based in and around Bellingham, Woonsocket, Medway, Milford, and the surrounding areas.