Expat Advice

The Best Way to File Taxes as an Expat

How to file expat taxes with My Expat Taxes
How could I possibly look this pleased about doing my taxes? Keep reading to find out…

Does the word “taxes” make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up? Because, same.

When you’re an American living abroad, having to file expat taxes can be one of the biggest hassles, a vestige of home that just won’t let you go. After all, the US is the only country in the world besides Eritrea to tax based on citizenship rather than residence. But I digress- it’s a necessary evil to keep our hands on that navy blue passport that allows us to return home to see our families and eat copious amounts of queso (or maybe that’s just me).

It’s embarrassing to admit that I didn’t declare my taxes for several years, but after failing to file expat taxes one year, the next few kept piling on. My mental excuses of “I’ll get to it at some point” or “I can always catch up on them later” were just methods of avoidance, a sneaky tactic one’s brain uses when one’s anxiety starts to spike.

How to file expat taxes with My Expat Taxes

Initially, when MyExpatTaxes reached out to me to work together, the idea of dealing with tax-related anything stressed me out so much that I didn’t respond to the email. Thankfully, they were understanding of this when I reached back out months later, explaining that I would love to work together, but that I was behind on my taxes. They offered to let me try out their Streamlining Package, which would let me file the last 3 years of tax returns all at the same time, along with the current 2020 return. It sounded like just what I needed!

At first, I was even nervous to go through the streamlining procedure, despite the fact that all my income since 2015 has been in France, but their software made it easy. Every question was straightforward, and next to certain topics that might have been confusing, they included little explanations of the choices you could make. Financial stuff has never been my strong suit, but MyExpatTaxes makes it virtually idiot-proof!

How to file expat taxes with My Expat Taxes

Additionally, as a full-time freelancer, I wasn’t sure if I would be subject to the US’s 13% self-employed tax, and was relieved to find out through the platform that since all my income and clients are in France, I wouldn’t be. I was able to fill out all my past income, as well as the taxes I had already paid in France, to ensure that I wouldn’t be subject to double taxation.

All in all, the process took me just over an hour. ONE HOUR to deal with something I had been putting off and dreading for 4 years. If that’s not a good enough reason to use MyExpatTaxes, I don’t know what is.

One other thing I was very happy to see: filing my back taxes made me eligible for some of the stimulus money that was distributed to American citizens due to the COVID pandemic. Once you’ve filled out everything, the platform gives you an estimate of what you owe and what you’re owed, so you know even before paying and filing what you can expect to pay or receive. If you haven’t received any of the stimulus money as an expat, it should come through when you’re tax compliant! You can find more info on 2021 stimulus checks for American expats HERE.

In terms of pricing, their e-filing procedure for the current tax year is 149€, while the streamlining procedure I used is 696€. It’s definitely worth it to use a professional service like this if, like me, needing to file expat taxes gives you major anxiety, and to make sure everything is correct to avoid any issues with the IRS further down the line.

As a bonus, you can start a filing procedure on their website, but you don’t pay until the end, when everything has been filled out. This gives you the opportunity to make changes and backtrack if you need. And if you’re close to the June 15th tax deadline, they can file a request with the IRS on your behalf to extend your filing deadline to October 15th for free.

The team at MyExpatTaxes was also kind enough to share some resources that you might find helpful: 21 Things to Know about US Expat Taxes in 2021 and their taxes how-to Youtube series– great resources for the tax averse to keep you in the know!

As if we couldn’t love them more, they’re also offering you guys a 10% discount code on any package to help you get your taxes in order for this year! Just enter THEGU at checkout or click this link.

Have you ever used MyExpatTaxes? Feel free to share your experience with me in the comments!

This post was created in collaboration with MyExpatTaxes, who kindly gifted me their Streamlined Package in exchange for this review. Of course, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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