Article written by Laura (Taxes for Expats).
I found Taxes for Expats when I surprisingly learned that I was required to file a US income tax return. I earned income from a US source which required this. I had no idea where to begin. I had never filed a US income tax return, and until accepting this assignment, I had never stepped foot in the United States. I didn’t have any type of citizenship or permanent residency, and I had no social security number with which to file. I was going to have to file a US income tax return as a non-resident.
I had seen some good reviews for Taxes for Expats and decided to give them a try. It took me less than one minute to enter my information and create a user account on the TFX system. The tax background information took quite a bit longer, but I also have an extensive list of passive income sources and a variety of international employers.
I really didn’t know what to expect, but I knew I needed to talk to a qualified US tax professional. I was relieved to discover that there were real people handling my case and that I wasn’t getting lost in some internet database. The purpose of the TFX system was to conveniently and efficiently collect all the information they needed to help me file my US income tax return as accurately as possible. I found it particularly helpful to have the opportunity to explain my situation in my own words on section 4 of the tax questionnaire.
When I spent time speaking with a tax expert on my initial phone consultation, I had a much clearer understanding of how things would go.
The first thing I had to do was file Form W-7 with the IRS to apply for an ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number) – a number is issued by the Internal Revenue Service for any individual who is required to file a US income tax return – regardless of his/her residency or citizenship status. My next concern was that it was already the beginning of April, and I wasn’t going to receive my ITIN before the filing deadline.
That didn’t seem to matter, either, because Taxes for Expats helped me apply for an extension. While I was waiting to have the IRS issue me an ITIN, Taxes for Expats advised me on all the documents I would need. I spent the next few weeks collecting documents and uploading them through the Documents Checklist section on the Tax Questionnaire in the TFX system.
I had always heard about the complexity of the US tax system, and I was grateful that I wasn’t required to have any involvement with it. Had I been aware of the tax treaty provision that would have required me to file a US income tax return, I may have decided not to accept the assignment. I’m glad I did, though, because it actually opened up a huge list of global opportunities for me.
Taxes for Expats has a flat tax filing rate that I find very affordable. Beyond that, though, they are extremely educated on US expat and global tax matters; and they’re not stingy with information.
I’m not aware of all the tax treaties or their provisions, and I don’t really understand a lot of the intricacies when I look at them. Tax professionals at Taxes for Expats are always willing to help me understand them and the steps I need to take to minimize the possibility for future stress as possible. I’ve received a variety of offers since this assignment, and I rely on Taxes for Expats to help me prepare adequately from a tax perspective so I can avoid future surprises.
Author: Kaspars Misins
Kaspars is a long term traveler and a travel blogger from Latvia. He loves going on long walks, reading non fiction books and spending time outdoors. Together with his girlfriend Una they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since 2013. On We Are From Latvia they share their experience and things learned along the way.