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Tax return for the first time

Tax return for the first time

Old Feb 17th 2011, 3:00 am
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Default Tax return for the first time

Hi! I have lived in the US for one year now and have been told by my employer I need to file my tax return. He told me I would only need my W2 and could use a free online piece of software. But I'm concerned that I have some savings in an ISA in the UK and a current bank account. Do I have to declare these? And if so will I be able to do it on the free software or will I need to pay an accountant or use some other form to submit my data? Any help would be much appreciated!
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Old Feb 17th 2011, 3:15 am
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Default Re: Tax return for the first time

The free versions of the software (H&R Block, Turbo Tax) won't work for your circumstances - UK citizen with savings abroad. You will need to pay a fee for them to complete your tax return. Just Google either of those names and go from there.
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Old Feb 17th 2011, 3:22 am
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Default Re: Tax return for the first time

Originally Posted by EricK View Post
The free versions of the software (H&R Block, Turbo Tax) won't work for your circumstances - UK citizen with savings abroad. You will need to pay a fee for them to complete your tax return. Just Google either of those names and go from there.
Or do them yourself...but depending on status in the US, you're supposed to declare assets and accounts over $10K anyway.
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Old Feb 17th 2011, 7:14 pm
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Default Re: Tax return for the first time

Apart from the UK savings your tax return will be very easy as basically you enter the details from your W2 in the appropriate lines on the tax form (or forms, if you have state income tax) and then just follow the instructions.

However the UK accounts might complicate things. If your total UK accounts are more than 10,000 DOLLARS (not pounds) you have to declare them, which is what the FBAR threads on this forum are about. If the accounts are less than $10K but you get interest on them you can just convert that interest into dollars and declare that interest on the tax forms without much extra work.

If you have more than $10K over there I'd pay a tax preparer to do your first return, then in future years see if it's something you feel confident doing for yourself.
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Old Feb 17th 2011, 10:06 pm
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Default Re: Tax return for the first time

Originally Posted by EricK View Post
The free versions of the software (H&R Block, Turbo Tax) won't work for your circumstances - UK citizen with savings abroad. You will need to pay a fee for them to complete your tax return. Just Google either of those names and go from there.
Yes they will. Turbotax (to name one) specifically asks you about any foreign bank accounts.
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Old Feb 17th 2011, 10:47 pm
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Default Re: Tax return for the first time

We always use AARP you don't have to be over 55 to use them and it is a free service, they usually can be found at a local library or at the Moose Lodge or check AARP website on line they may be able to tell you where in your area the are.
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Old Feb 18th 2011, 3:24 pm
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Default Re: Tax return for the first time

Originally Posted by Sentosa View Post
We always use AARP you don't have to be over 55 to use them and it is a free service, they usually can be found at a local library or at the Moose Lodge or check AARP website on line they may be able to tell you where in your area the are.
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Thanks for the heads-up on this free service. Are they able to deal with folk who have foreign financial interests, first-time filers (dual residence issues ) etc?

Thanks
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Old Feb 18th 2011, 4:13 pm
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Default Re: Tax return for the first time

Originally Posted by EricK View Post
The free versions of the software (H&R Block, Turbo Tax) won't work for your circumstances - UK citizen with savings abroad. You will need to pay a fee for them to complete your tax return. Just Google either of those names and go from there.
I used both H&R Block and Turbotax free online this year (I always compare to make sure they're calculating properly!) and both asked me about foreign accounts. H&R Block told me to fill out the FBAR form and gave me the form name, but TurboTax would have actually walked me through putting in all the foreign data and printed out the form, it looked like - I skipped the stage because I'd already done it separately, though.

Last year neither did this, so I think it's a new addition.
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Old Feb 28th 2011, 2:32 pm
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Default Re: Tax return for the first time

I read on some threads people are saying turbotax didn't fill out the check correctly on the schedule b. I've never read the instructions for schedule b until recently...
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