Springtime for Americans Residing Abroad
Cross Border Planning
James McEvoy's picture
Halle

As winter starts to fade, our thoughts turn to spring.  For Americans residing abroad it is also a time when we start to contemplate and address our reporting and filing requirements to the United States and the I.R.S.

Unlike our countrymen who never leave their backyard, Americans residing abroad are given more time to organize themselves past the normal April 15th deadline.  They are given an automatic 2-month extension to file their returns without having to request an extension.  For those few overseas Americans who do not have to file a return, they will typically still have to file a separate Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR) on time and disclose the details of their foreign accounts.

After all that is organized, reported and filed with the US Authorities, the same needs to be done for the country where you work and live. In Belgium, for instance that filing deadline is June 30th each year.  In France, it is usually the end of May or early June.

Now can we start to enjoy the spring flowers and do planning for summer holidays?  Well yes but there is also the matter of what is going on with our financial accounts and the increasing limitations being placed on Americans residing abroad.  With FATCA (Foreign Tax Compliance ACT) now fully in force, more and more financial institutions are deciding not to do business with overseas Americans or greatly restrict what they can do.  This is happening with banks and financial firms in the United States and from local foreign financial institutions.  It all sounds a bit overwhelming!

The best course of action to deal with the complexity is to first work with tax professionals who are familiar with your overseas filing requirements and who also know the rules of the country in which you live so you will be able to coordinate and take advantage of multi jurisdiction planning opportunities.  Then and only then work with financial advisors who build from this solid tax advice in finding ways to implement the best and most compliant solutions for the planning of your global financial accounts.

Taking this approach, you will find that you will have more than enough time to enjoy the spring flowers, have a drink or meal on an outside terrace and start planning that summer holiday!

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