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Need accountants who can do US income tax preparation

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chinoloco
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Need accountants who can do US income tax preparation

Postby chinoloco » Sat, 07 Jun 2008 9:08 am

Hi,

Could someone recommend accountants who specialize in US income tax preparation for US citizens who live and work in Singapore?

Thanks,
David

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maneo
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Postby maneo » Sat, 07 Jun 2008 11:17 am

Why do you think that you need a tax accountant?
Is this just a question of confidence and familiarity with filling out the forms or do you have a complex situation?

From what I've heard, the recent tax prep software packages (e.g. TurboTax, etc.) take into account overseas taxpayers' situations quite well.

With the simplifications in instructions that the IRS has done over the years, a moderately intelligent person should be able to do his/her own.

That said, I have used a tax accountant, but my situation is not so simple.
A good tax prep service is not cheap.
What is your budget for the tax prep fee?

chinoloco
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Postby chinoloco » Sun, 08 Jun 2008 6:12 pm

My situation is not complicated. The forms seem complicated and time consuming and I would like to get some professional help for the first year and DIY next year. My budget is under 300SGD. I heard the local American accounting firms like Pricewater House provide similar service. I am just curious if someone has experience with them before.

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Strong Eagle
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Postby Strong Eagle » Sun, 08 Jun 2008 7:36 pm

Good luck. I doubt you will find what you want. First, there are very few in Singapore with the knowledge. All that were/are here are American expats and one of the best has left the country. Singaporeans will not have US tax knowledge.

Second, expect to pay at least S$600 for the forms, more if you have any complications. You will be employing an expat who will charge more than a Singaporean. PWC and the like will charge much more.

There is no reason not to use a US based tax accountant if you need one. I use a US based accountant, costs me S$1,000 but that includes the telephone book of forms I need to file because I own controlling interests in foreign corporations. They are skilled in US foreign filing tax law.

Cheers.

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maneo
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Postby maneo » Mon, 09 Jun 2008 6:27 am

chinoloco wrote:My situation is not complicated. The forms seem complicated and time consuming and I would like to get some professional help for the first year and DIY next year. My budget is under 300SGD. I heard the local American accounting firms like Pricewater House provide similar service. I am just curious if someone has experience with them before.

I have used PWC for many years.
They are very capable, but what I pay is way out of your budget.
If your situation is not complicated, their fee might be very expensive tuition just to see what your own tax forms should look like.
(I presume that your employer is not subsidizing your tax preparation.)

I did try a cheaper alternative once (only S$1000 by American expats in SG).
They did not know how to handle the Foreign Tax Credit and claimed to know more than they really did.
Seems you get only what you pay for (and maybe not even that).

If you really want to learn how to do your own taxes, you should try to do your own now, even if you choose some other means for the final filing.

Today's tax preparation software packages should be a good self-help guide.
I know of seasoned expats that are satisfied with TurboTax
(however, I haven't seen anyone on this SG Expat site that has used it).

The IRS forms may seem complicated at first, but the accompanying instructions are step-by-step and should be able to get you through them.
IRS has made things easier with online access to forms and instructions.
They also have phone numbers you can call for help.

I would not expect to get through the tax forms in one sitting.
Work through them, then give it a rest for a day or so and go back again with a fresh eye. So, yes, it can be time consuming.

However, you will need to spend time anyway transferring all your information to whomever it is that you choose to use.
A big part of what you end up paying for is this time spent together sifting through the raw information your provide trying to organize it so that they can make sense out of it.
Making an attempt to go through your own tax forms first can help you be better prepared for this.

Hope this helps.
Compared to what's required for the IRS, the IRAS tax filing for SG is a breeze.

xernstx
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Postby xernstx » Tue, 10 Jun 2008 9:08 am

I used a local (American expat) to do my US Federal/State returns for around S$1200.

Far cheaper than PWC, and she was just as schooled in expat-specific items... Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (and how to delay / pro-rate for mid-year moves), Tax Credits, Treasury Forms and a host of items I was unaware of.

If you'd like her contact info I can refer you - but you are dreaming if you think you'll get any worthwhile help for S$300


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