Expats seeking help with their US taxes would do well to choose a tax preparation service that knows their way around the foreign earned income exclusion, bona fide residence test and tax treaties.
The US tax code sections that apply to Americans who live overseas are uniquely complex, full of special provisions that can save or cost a taxpayer thousands of dollars, depending to a great extent on the expertise of the tax preparation service an expat chooses. For example, a qualified US taxpayer abroad can take advantage of the foreign earned income inclusion, which allows up to $92,900 in 2011 in tax-free earnings, but the criteria for the exclusion are rigorous, often requiring a tax preparation service with considerable knowledge and experience to guide the expat taxpayer through the detailed provisions.
A seemingly minor miscalculation of time spend abroad vs. time spent in the US in a given tax year, for example, could cost a taxpayer thousands in unnecessary tax liability. Addressing such detailed requirements is where a tax preparation service with knowledge and experience in expat tax law can make a significant difference.
US citizens living abroad have a responsibility to file their income tax returns in a timely manner and are subject to civil or criminal penalties for failure to file or to pay any tariffs due. It can be tempting for an American living overseas to put off dealing with their taxes, because unlike the States where a tax preparation service seems to pop up on every corner around tax time, qualified tax help can be hard to find outside the US.
Thanks to the Internet, expat taxpayers not only can find a qualified Tax Preparation Service to help them with their taxes, but also can educate themselves about the many ins and outs of expat tax law. Tax Planners CPA, which specializes in tax preparation service for Americans living overseas, maintains a web site that serves as an excellent introduction to many of the issues affecting taxpayers living abroad.