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greengoo
May 29th, 2011, 06:50
Could a current/former American JET please explain to me (in a nutshell) the tax situation when filing US taxes while living abroad?

I'd heard various things, including that you don't have to pay income tax if you make under a certain amount of money per year while living abroad. That'd be great, but it sounds a little bit too good to be true.

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

For those that wanted something else and are annoyed they opened this topic, here is a picture of a baby penguin:

http://i732.photobucket.com/albums/ww321/Livster_1996/cute-baby-penguins.jpg

Ladama
May 29th, 2011, 07:45
I'd heard various things, including that you don't have to pay income tax if you make under a certain amount of money per year while living abroad. That'd be great, but it sounds a little bit too good to be true.
As long as you
a) Work abroad for 12 consecutive months
b) Are physically in the US (including territories) for less than 30 days in that 12 month period
c) Have a foreign earned income that's less than a certain amount (right now it's about $85,000, I believe)

Then you file the "Foreign Earned Income Exclusion" (form 2555ez) along with your 1040 and boom, no taxes on the foreign income.

The 1st point (work abroad for 12 months) means you shouldn't file 2011 taxes until you've physically been in Japan for 12 months. People living abroad automatically get a two month extension for filing, then you can then file the "Automatic Extension" form (4868) and get an extension until Aug. 15. Once you reach a year THEN you can finally file for 2011.

If you arrive after Aug 15 (people in Group C or any other late arrivals) then you have to file a different extension form (2350, I believe).

kalliea
May 30th, 2011, 00:18
As long as you
a) Work abroad for 12 consecutive months
b) Are physically in the US (including territories) for less than 30 days in that 12 month period
c) Have a foreign earned income that's less than a certain amount (right now it's about $85,000, I believe)

Then you file the "Foreign Earned Income Exclusion" (form 2555ez) along with your 1040 and boom, no taxes on the foreign income.

The 1st point (work abroad for 12 months) means you shouldn't file 2011 taxes until you've physically been in Japan for 12 months. People living abroad automatically get a two month extension for filing, then you can then file the "Automatic Extension" form (4868) and get an extension until Aug. 15. Once you reach a year THEN you can finally file for 2011.

If you arrive after Aug 15 (people in Group C or any other late arrivals) then you have to file a different extension form (2350, I believe).

You automatically get the extension WHEN YOU REQUEST IT. So make sure you request it before Tax day.

Bottom line, yes, you don't have to pay US tax on what you make in Japan, but you still MUST file taxes. As a 1st year, you will need to pay taxes on what you made in the US before you came. You will also need to file for an extension since you won't be able to do your taxes until June or so.

Ladama
May 30th, 2011, 05:19
You automatically get the extension WHEN YOU REQUEST IT. So make sure you request it before Tax day.
The instructions on f4868 say "If, on the regular due date of your return, you are out of the country and a U.S. citizen or resident, you are allowed 2 extra months to file your return and pay any amount due without requesting an extension." I just assumed changing my address with the IRS to my Japan address was enough, didn't know a separate request was needed . . .


Bottom line, yes, you don't have to pay US tax on what you make in Japan, but you still MUST file taxes. As a 1st year, you will need to pay taxes on what you made in the US before you came. You will also need to file for an extension since you won't be able to do your taxes until June or so.Yes, and if you own anything, it's still needs to be paid by April 15th.

kestrel
June 1st, 2011, 10:58
If I don't want to mess with extensions, can I have someone file my taxes on my behalf?

psychohistoric
June 1st, 2011, 12:24
That just means they'll have to file the extensions on your behalf. You need to be physically present in Japan for 330< days to qualify for tax exemption, and you need to file extensions to do that.