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A tax guide for American expats specifically? Say what?! For many of us expats, filing taxes in Germany is a headache enough. However, if you’re an American expat living in Germany, things get a whole lot more complicated. Americans not only have to file taxes in Germany (like the rest of us), but they will also need to file their taxes back in the USA as well.
To be completely honest, I had no idea how complicated it was until I had a chat with the team at Taxes for Expats (TFX) about exactly what American expats need to do in order to properly file their taxes each and every year (regardless of how much income you make).
I take my hat off to the fellow American expats living here in Germany and as a little token to show you that I get what you have to go through now and I understand your pain, I wanted to put together an ultimate tax guide specifically for American expats living in Germany. For the readers who just need to files their taxes in Germany, this other Guide to Filing Taxes will be just what you need.
This blog post was paid for by Taxes for Expats. We take the quality of our website very seriously and only ensure the best content to be published, regardless of sponsored or non-sponsored content. We trust and love all the brands we work with, enough to recommend them to you, our loyal readers!
Here you have it, a tax guide for American expats living in Germany…
So, first things first, let’s address the issue.
Americans abroad: You will have to file US taxes on your worldwide income no matter where in the world you are located. Not to mention, it’s quite hard to find qualified help locally when you’re trying to file taxes back in the US.
TFX actually put together a great US Tax Guide for 2018 recently that goes through the entire process of filing US taxes from abroad. If you don’t have time to read through the entire thing (though, you probably should), here’s a quick recap:
Who must file a tax return?
All US Citizens and Green Card holders (if you fall above the minimum filing thresholds).
What will you need to file/report?
Depending on your income, you may need to file a ‘Foreign Bank Account Report’ (FBAR) and a ‘Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act’ (FATCA). Your bank may also ask to certify your tax compliance, this is called a W-9 or W-8. To figure out if you are required to file/report both, you’ll need to read the full US Tax Guide for 2018.
Will you be required to pay taxes in the US?
Well, if you’re living abroad, the good news is that you won’t actually have to pay any taxes in the US if your annual income is below $100,000. The first $100,000 of your income is tax-free.
However, you will need to claim the money you’ve made in both USA and Germany regardless of whether or not you have an American or German bank account.
If you still need a bank account in Germany, there are a number of great expat banks you can consider.
Do you need to include the income of your foreign spouse?
Nope! While it may be beneficial in certain cases (it really depends), it is not actually mandatory to include the income of your foreign spouse on your US tax declaration.
When are your taxes due each year?
While the dates may change a bit year to year, US expats actually receive an extension of about one month when required to file taxes. This year, all US expats are required to file their US taxes by June 15, 2018 (PS: That date is quickly approaching). You may also have the option to file an extension until October 15, 2018.
Where can I find help with filing my US taxes?!
Well, considering I learned all my expert knowledge on the subject of US tax return from TFX, I would suggest checking out the Taxes for Expats website.
TFX is an online website, 25 years in the making, that has created a simple way to make filing US taxes for expats a whole lot easier. It’s designed so that all you have to do is upload your relevant documents, and they take care of the rest of the legwork.
They offer expert human help
Despite living halfway across the world, it’s pretty easy to get a hold of a TFX employee when you have a few questions to ask. They offer 18-hour support via phone as well as online live chat support so that you can ask as many questions as you’d like before making your final decision.
They offer upfront & fair pricing
You can take a look at their price list here, the big bonus is that they offer transparent flat-fee pricing, so that you’re not stuck wondering how much this is all going to end up costing you at the end of the day.
Their easy-to-use system is a breeze
The site itself is a breeze to navigate through, so you’re not stuck trying to get the answers you need before filing your US taxes. When you decide to file your taxes, it’s a super simple process:
2 – Jump on a free 30-minute introductory phone consultation
3 – Complete the tax questionnaire where you’ll fill out all the necessary information online.
And then upload all the documents TFX will need to prepare your taxes in your ‘My Documents’ folder.
4 – Sign the Electronic Engagement letter
5 – Sit back and wait while TFX does the rest
6 – Pay & review your tax return
They are the top-rated firm in the space of expat taxes
I always judge a product on the number of honest reviews they have, and TFX’s 900+ reviews definitely helped me decide on sharing this information with you today. They also offer over 15 video reviews from recent clients in more than 10 different countries.
I hope this helps!
Again, my American friends, I’m sorry you get stuck having to file taxes in both countries, but I’m happy to have been able to share some top tips to getting you started and introducing you to the TFX platform that will allow you to get the expert help you need (quickly), at an affordable (and honest) price through their top-rated and super easy-to-use system.
Settling into a new country is hard enough without the stress of having to file taxes in two countries, so why not leave that to the pros while you spend your time browsing around the city, settling into your new life, and making some amazing international new friends?
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