Living Abroad, Haven't Filed Taxes?

If you are an American expat, you may very well have forgotten your obligation to file your US 1040s. Not to mention your other obligations to file FBARS for foreign bank accounts which exceeded $10,000, FATCAS (with 1040s) for financial assets exceeding $50,000, or if you own your own business abroad, the crucial form 5471.

The staff of WATAX understand that getting into expat tax compliance can be very intimidating. But don't freak out, there's a lot of avenues of relief:

* Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE) - The FEIE of 2021, for example is $108,700. So that's a big chunk of income that won't be taxed in the U.S.

* Foreign Tax Credit (FTC) - If you are in the upper income bracket, north of the FEIE amounts above, you will also avoid double paying taxes in US with some limitations by using the FTC.

But what about the penalties for late filing? 

1040s with no balances due won't be penalized (if you have balances we can do a penalty waiver or try to get you a settlement!) But late FBARS and 5471s could incur penalties!

We have two approaches to late filing penalties for FBARS and 5471s:

* Just do them! Most people who file the six years of FBARS, for example, usually get off scot-free from owing penalties if they indicate that they were "ignorant of the law."


* Streamline Filing Compliance. Filing late 5471s are notoriously ridden with big penalties (like five figure amounts $!) and due to this, the streamline procedure is the most prudent one. You will file six years of FBARS, three 1040s and three 5471s within this program. And in most instances, you will be free of penalties as long as you demonstrate no willful neglect and ignorance of the law.

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