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US tax return for first year.. can anyone help?

US tax return for first year.. can anyone help?

Old Oct 20th 2011, 11:36 pm
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Default US tax return for first year.. can anyone help?

Hi

As it is our first year and we have had a lot of relocating costs, I want to know what we can "claim back" as my husband got given a reloc package but 40% got taken out because of taxes. We were told we can get some money back on those 40% if we buy certains things to go with relocation, so im looking for a list of some sort and any other information.. ie: website/books etc.. that can help me to do our first tax return as I know it will be coming soon..
I tried to look in previous thread but unsuccessfully so if someone can provide me with a link it would be great!
thank you very much
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Old Oct 21st 2011, 1:49 am
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Default Re: US tax return for first year.. can anyone help?

irs.gov

It'll be on there....but to get the best out of this, especially being the first year, get an accountant to do it, it'll be worth the cost, and not some rubbish HR Block type either, but a proper one.

Certain travel costs can be taken, certain purchases can be taken, but others can't...it's a bit of a major hassle.

Bit late now, but didn't you ask for first/last years tax preparation as part of the relocation package?
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Old Oct 21st 2011, 2:34 am
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Default Re: US tax return for first year.. can anyone help?

Originally Posted by Bob View Post

Bit late now, but didn't you ask for first/last years tax preparation as part of the relocation package?
unfortunately we didnt even think about this... any idea on how much an accountant would cost for this kind of activity?
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Old Oct 21st 2011, 2:35 am
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Default Re: US tax return for first year.. can anyone help?

Unusually for a government bureaucracy, the IRS website is really good for finding tax guides and easy-to-understand information. Here's the section on relocation expenses:

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p521/index.html

Give it a read, and I'm sure we can provide feedback if you have specific questions.
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Old Oct 21st 2011, 2:37 am
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Default Re: US tax return for first year.. can anyone help?

Originally Posted by laety View Post
unfortunately we didnt even think about this... any idea on how much an accountant would cost for this kind of activity?
I'd expect $500-$1000 for a first year return, but the problem is finding a tax accountant who actually has ANY experience of preparing expat taxes. I had a horrible experience with the "professional" section of H&R Block in my first year, and ended up paying them nothing because they screwed it up so badly, but if I had paid for their hours, it would have cost me ~$1500 back in 2003.
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Old Oct 21st 2011, 2:40 am
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Default Re: US tax return for first year.. can anyone help?

oh dear... ill have a read through the website first and see whats the deal..
thank you
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Old Oct 21st 2011, 3:36 am
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Default Re: US tax return for first year.. can anyone help?

I highly recommend Pete Newton. He's an expat on this forum and he does our taxes.He knows both the US and UK side of things. He also helped us with our UK tax returns www.doug-tax.com He's reasonable as well.
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Old Oct 21st 2011, 4:43 am
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Default Re: US tax return for first year.. can anyone help?

It seems like you should be able to deduct almost anything that has to do with moving except for meals.

http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc455.html

However there appears to be a "time test" so you possibly may have to file without the deductions and then amend the return when you meet the "time test". Fortunately since you arrived late in the year, you will likely be filing as a "Non Resident Alien" so you will likely get much of the taxes back even without the deductions.

Last edited by Michael; Oct 21st 2011 at 4:47 am.
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Old Oct 21st 2011, 5:36 am
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Default Re: US tax return for first year.. can anyone help?

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
Bit late now, but didn't you ask for first/last years tax preparation as part of the relocation package?
This and getting one's employer to "gross up" a relocation package so that your employer (rather than you) effectively ends up paying any tax due on the package are two important but frequently overlooked aspects of a relocation package imo.

And to the OP, it's really worth shelling out some $$ for the first year's tax advice.
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Old Oct 21st 2011, 5:42 am
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Default Re: US tax return for first year.. can anyone help?

Originally Posted by Giantaxe View Post

And to the OP, it's really worth shelling out some $$ for the first year's tax advice.
the thing is Im very doubtful that we have that much to claim back on, so im scared that we would spend more money in an accountant than getting it back from the tax office.
Needless to say I will contact this Pete guy and get some advice anyway. If it looks like we wont get back much then I will try to avoid a large bill.. if possible.. its end of december that we have to do the return right?
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Old Oct 21st 2011, 6:01 am
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Default Re: US tax return for first year.. can anyone help?

Originally Posted by laety View Post
the thing is Im very doubtful that we have that much to claim back on, so im scared that we would spend more money in an accountant than getting it back from the tax office.
That's not the way to think about it though. Think of first year's tax advice as a "learning experience" that will hopefully allow you to gain the knowledge to feel comfortable in doing your own taxes in 2nd and subsequent years. It's the one year where I recommend paying for help.

Originally Posted by laety View Post
its end of december that we have to do the return right?
You'll have to file by April 15th 2012.
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Old Oct 21st 2011, 10:35 am
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Default Re: US tax return for first year.. can anyone help?

I third getting professional help.
We arrived in the sept and by applying to file "late" for the year we were able to claim almost everything DH had paid in tax as I wasn't working and he claimed me as a deduction. ( something to do with 183 days - I'm not a tax pro obviously, hence why we got help)
If nothing else we were able to have a face to face meeting and ask lots of questions. I think it was around $370 in 2006 ( but we got $$$$ back....)

A
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Old Oct 21st 2011, 5:21 pm
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Default Re: US tax return for first year.. can anyone help?

I also wanted to mention that Pete Newton is a really nice guy and very patient! Definitely contact him. He has helped quite a few expats on here and he knows his stuff!
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Old Oct 23rd 2011, 12:53 am
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Default Re: US tax return for first year.. can anyone help?

I would second using Pete Newton.......he did our first US tax return last year and was a great help navigating the US bureaucracy.

Although you could do it yourself, I would strongly recommend using a professional first year.

Money well spent.
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Old Oct 23rd 2011, 5:42 am
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Default Re: US tax return for first year.. can anyone help?

Originally Posted by washsaint View Post
I would second using Pete Newton.......he did our first US tax return last year and was a great help navigating the US bureaucracy.

Although you could do it yourself, I would strongly recommend using a professional first year.

Money well spent.
HI, may I ask (if you dont mind) approximately the cost of using him for the tax return?
thank you very much
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