Tax advice for Americans living/working overseas?

Ive been working abroad non stop almost three years (Jan 04-present.) And I Have not filed income tax reports since 2003. Originally I was studying and was paid a stipend below US poverty line (SS even was not withheld..)Now I am paid (as a teacher) entirely by a foreign company with my primary residence and all assets here. Since I never filed, (I may have had nothign to report) I am wondering what various options or problems I might have with regard to my U.S. taxes (both old and new) should I return to the U.S and find work teaching or in the public sector. Is it likely I would need to backfile or even a tax lawyer?

5 Answers

  • ?
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    If you have been outside the US continuously for those three years and your income never exceeded $80,000 you should be able to exclude all of your income from taxation. However you will need to file a return for each year in which your income exceeded the total of your standard deduction and personal exemptions which would be about $8,000 if you are single with no dependents. You should seek the advise of a tax professional in the US with experience regarding foreign income. If you have not lived in the US and don't know where you are going to return to you should pick a state without state income to make you tax home. That part can also be a little tricky so interview the tax person to determine that they know what they are doing with regard to these issues.

  • Tom
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    The link above largely pertains to folks residing and working in China, but there are some links on the page to IRS sites that can answer your question in more detail. Basically, if you make less than a certain amount each year you should be fine, but th question of should you report or not (I think you do) the US is one of the only countries that makes its citizens pay taxes on income earned abroad.. Ridiculous.. However, there are some treaties and laws (Specific by country and treaty) that say something like 90% of your income is non-taxable for so many amount of days that you are in country.. Good luck

    Source(s): Travel Visa to China China Business Directory, Education Directory Teach English in China, Learn Chinese
  • 1 decade ago

    Mathew seems to know more than I do on the subject. I included a link to IRS Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad. If you can't find a US tax adviser where you live, the US Embassy or Consulate should be able to help. They may even have tax experts on site.

  • mandi
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

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  • rand a
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    i think that in some professions you dont have to pay taxes on anything if you are outside of the us for a year. The merchant marines for example.

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