Wealth & Risk Management Blog

William Byrnes (Texas A&M) tax & compliance articles

Tax Tips for U.S. Taxpayers with Foreign Income in 2013

Posted by William Byrnes on April 12, 2014


If a taxpayer is a U.S. citizen or resident, then the taxpayer must report income from all sources within and outside of the U.S.  The rules for filing income tax returns are generally the same whether the taxpayer is living in the U.S. or abroad. Here are seven tips from the IRS from Tax Tips 2014-43 that U.S. taxpayers with foreign income should know:

1. Report Worldwide Income.  By law, U.S. citizens and resident aliens must report their worldwide income. This includes income from foreign trusts, and foreign bank and securities accounts.

2. File Required Tax Forms.  The taxpayer may need to file Schedule B, Interest and Ordinary Dividends, with the U.S. tax return.  The taxpayer may also need to file Form 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets. In some cases, the taxpayer may need to file FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts..

3. Consider the Automatic Extension.  If a taxpayer is living abroad and can’t file a tax return by the April 15 deadline, then the taxpayer may qualify for an automatic two-month filing extension. The taxpayer then will have until June 16, 2014 to file a U.S. income tax return. This extension also applies to those serving in the military outside the U.S. The taxpayer must attach a statement to the tax return to explain why the taxpayer qualifies for the extension.

4. Review the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion.  If a taxpayer lives and work abroad, then the taxpayer may be able to claim the foreign earned income exclusion. If the taxpayer qualifies, then the taxpayer will not pay tax on up to $97,600 of wages and other foreign earned income in 2013. See Form 2555, Foreign Earned Income, or Form 2555-EZ, Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, for more details.

5. Don’t Overlook Credits and Deductions.  A taxpayer may be able to take avtax credit or a deduction for income taxes paid to a foreign country. These benefits can reduce the amount of taxes that the taxpayer must pay if both countries tax the same income.

You can get more on this topic in Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad.

2014_tf_on_individuals_small_businesses-m_1Due to a number of recent changes in the law, taxpayers are currently facing many questions connected to important issues such as healthcare, home office use, capital gains, investments, and whether an individual is considered an employee or a contractor. Financial advisors are continually looking for updated tax information that can help them provide the right answers to the right people at the right time. This brand-new resource provides fast, clear, and authoritative answers to pressing questions, and it does so in the convenient, timesaving, Q&A format for which Tax Facts is famous.

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