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Cross-Border Tax Planning for Expats – Understanding FEIE and FTC


An expatriate or expat is somebody who lives exterior their native nation for any cause. They could have determined to work in a distinct nation, retire and journey internationally, or transfer nearer to household. For individuals residing overseas, taxes could be a main concern. There are methods to optimize your tax technique and construction your revenue to be able to reside your life internationally and never fear about further tax stresses. 

Let’s use Lisa for instance on this article. Lisa is a U.S. citizen and has determined to take a job working in London.

Avoiding Double Taxation in Cross-Border Planning

It might sound unfair, however the US taxes its residents and everlasting residents on their worldwide revenue. This implies all of your revenue is topic to U.S. taxes even when earned or acquired in another country. Lisa’s wage can be taxable within the U.S. though it was earned in the UK. Another revenue she acquired whereas residing in England would even be taxable within the U.S. Some examples embody curiosity, pensions, dividends, rental revenue, and capital beneficial properties.

Many international locations exterior of the U.S. even have revenue taxes. Does this imply having to pay taxes in each the US and a international nation?

Lisa will most likely have to file a tax return and report her revenue in each the US and the UK. Happily, the U.S. has some provisions that assist offset taxes paid in another country. Essentially the most used of those provisions embody the international earned revenue exclusion (FEIE) and the international tax credit score (FTC). We’ll cowl the fundamentals of those provisions beneath.

Overseas Earned Earnings Exclusion (FEIE)

The Overseas Earned Earnings Exclusion (FEIE) provision is a strategy to exclude foreign-earned revenue in your US revenue tax return of as much as a certain quantity. For 2023, the quantity is $120,000 and adjusts for inflation every year. The IRS assumes you can be taxed within the nation the place you might be at present residing in your foreign-earned revenue and means that you can keep away from double taxation by granting this exclusion.

It’s vital to notice this exclusion solely applies to earned revenue similar to wages or self-employment revenue. The supply doesn’t apply to passive or funding revenue, similar to curiosity revenue or pension revenue.

Let’s assume Lisa’s wages (paid in kilos) had been equal to $110,000. This basically means Lisa may exclude her complete wage from U.S. taxation and solely be taxed in the UK.

There are a couple of assessments you have to meet to qualify for the FEIE. You have to meet both the bodily presence take a look at or the bona fide residence take a look at. Each assessments require that you’ve a foreign-earned revenue and keep a tax dwelling in another country.

1.      The bodily presence take a look at requires you to be current in another country for not less than 330 days in a 12-month interval.

2.      The bona fide residence take a look at requires that you simply be a bona fide resident of a international nation. What does that imply? This may be proven by having documentation indicating you have got made the international nation your everlasting residence. Examples embody proudly owning or leasing a house, opening a checking account in another country, utility payments, and so forth.

In the event you meet not less than certainly one of these assessments, then you definitely would file Type 2555 as a part of your U.S. tax return to say the revenue exclusion. In the event you qualify for the FEIE then you may additionally qualify for the international housing exclusion. This lets you scale back your U.S. revenue taxes by claiming a few of your certified international housing bills.

You need to use the IRS’s Interactive Tax Assistant device to assist decide whether or not revenue earned in another country is eligible to be excluded from revenue reported in your U.S. federal revenue tax return.

Overseas Tax Credit score (FTC)

The Overseas Tax Credit score (FTC) provision means that you can scale back your U.S. revenue taxes greenback for greenback (a tax credit score) by the quantity of revenue taxes you paid to a international nation. Let’s say Lisa paid $10,000 equal in taxes to the UK. She may then scale back her U.S. revenue taxes by $10,000 by claiming the FTC.

You have to meet a couple of standards to be eligible for the FTC. You have to be a U.S. citizen or everlasting resident, have international revenue, and pay revenue taxes on that revenue to a international authorities. It’s vital to notice the FTC applies to all international supply revenue and never simply earned revenue. In different phrases, you possibly can declare the FTC on funding and passive revenue, along with wage or self-employment revenue. You typically declare the FTC by finishing Type 1116 as a part of your U.S. revenue tax return.

You need to use each the FEIE and FTC in your U.S. revenue tax return when you qualify for each provisions however not on the identical revenue. For instance, Lisa wouldn’t have the ability to exclude her wages utilizing the FEIE and get the FTC on the identical wage revenue. She would want to decide on between the 2 strategies. Lisa may use the FEIE on her wage revenue and the FTC on different revenue similar to curiosity or dividend revenue acquired whereas she was residing overseas. 

Tax Tip from Mission Wealth: The FTC is usually a greater possibility in international locations which are extra closely taxed whereas the FEIE could also be higher in low or no tax international locations. Having mentioned that each state of affairs is exclusive, and it’s best to search out steering from a professional skilled to find out the best choice for you.Click on To Tweet

Overseas Financial institution Accounts and Property

There are two different potential tax filings to pay attention to. The primary submitting is named the Overseas Financial institution Account Report or FBAR. This requirement typically applies you probably have international holdings of $10,000 or extra at any level through the 12 months.

For instance, let’s say Lisa opened a checking account in England. She had $12,000 equal within the account on June fifteenth however solely $8,000 equal at year-end. Because the account had greater than $10,000 at any level through the 12 months, Lisa can be required to file an FBAR.

The submitting requirement can apply even when you solely have signatory authority over a international checking account. A possible “gotcha” can be you probably have signatory authority in your employer’s international checking account or are an officer of an affiliation with a international checking account. You’d nonetheless be required to file this kind.

This submitting is finished on FinCen Type 114 and is filed electronically with the Division of Treasury. It’s filed individually out of your U.S. revenue tax return.

The second is named the Overseas Account Tax Compliance Act or FATCA. This is applicable when you have got international property exceeding numerous limits. These limits range relying in your submitting standing and whether or not you might be residing within the US or overseas. If relevant, you’ll full Type 8938 as a part of your U.S. revenue tax return.

The penalties for not submitting these kinds could be extreme, so it’s vital to pay attention to them.

Cross-Border Tax and Monetary Planning Companies

U.S. taxation points surrounding expats could be difficult. At Mission Wealth, we accomplice with a workforce of seasoned professionals with a deep understanding of cross-border tax planning. Our multidisciplinary method combines tax advisors, authorized consultants, monetary planners, immigration specialists, and funding professionals, collaborating to tailor complete methods to our shoppers’ distinctive wants.

We empower our shoppers and their households to broaden their attain, maximize alternatives, and navigate worldwide frontiers with confidence.



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