Recommendations on where to file U.S. tax return?

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StockAnswer
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Recommendations on where to file U.S. tax return?

Post by StockAnswer » Wed, 19 Aug 2009 11:46 am

Hi all...

would anyone have recommendations for an accountant who can do a U.S. tax return?

My situation is that I am a green card holder (married to an American) and as such have to file my US tax return regardless of where I live.

Or is there software that can be used for this - although I would think that the software would have to be able to take into consideration the situation of dual tax returns (since I also have to file one for Singapore).

Another question: it seems that Singapore does not have any agreement with USA regarding dual taxation - does this mean that Americans in Singapore end up paying a lot more taxes than other people?

cheers

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Re: Recommendations on where to file U.S. tax return?

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 19 Aug 2009 12:50 pm

StockAnswer wrote:Hi all...

would anyone have recommendations for an accountant who can do a U.S. tax return?

I cannot help you there as I've been filing my own for the past 42 years included dual returns (US & Sing as well) for the past 25 years.

My situation is that I am a green card holder (married to an American) and as such have to file my US tax return regardless of where I live.

Just like my wife used to be.

Or is there software that can be used for this - although I would think that the software would have to be able to take into consideration the situation of dual tax returns (since I also have to file one for Singapore).

In the US I believe you can use something like Turbo Tax but I can't vouch for it as I've never used or seen it used so don't know if it's got tha ability or not.

Another question: it seems that Singapore does not have any agreement with USA regarding dual taxation - does this mean that Americans in Singapore end up paying a lot more taxes than other people?

In Theory yes. A lot depends on what your income levels and perks levels are. There is no direct tax relief between Singapore & US but you do, of course have the ability to use the 2555 Income Earned Abroad Exclusion on your 1040. This will whack the first 84K USD off of your earned income (doesn't do anything for investment income or business P&L or Interest/Dividends etc). What's left will be taxed at the tax rate that would have been used without the exclusion deduction. This means you save the cumulative taxes UP TO the 84K only. after that everything is taxed at the 84K & up rates.

Having said that, the tax rates in Singapore are so low, that in effect, you will still be paying less overall taxes than if you were at home (depending on perks).

Unless you have a really convoluted tax return (usually brought about by too many years in too many countries with investments all over the place - like Maneo) all you really need to do is pick up a copy of Publication 54 Tax Guide for US Citizens and Resident Aliens abroad. It will take you through all but the most difficult tax situations.

You can download it here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p54.pdf

cheers
Or, you can pay an accountant 1500+ dollars to do it.
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Post by cbavasi » Wed, 19 Aug 2009 1:21 pm

Check with the Embassy - I think closer to tax time (at the start of the year) they have people you can meet with to answer questions. I remember seeing a notice there when I was in there last year. They also have this link: http://singapore.usembassy.gov/us_income_taxes.html

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Post by Strong Eagle » Wed, 19 Aug 2009 1:39 pm

Turbo Tax does a decent job and does handle the foreign income exclusion quite well.

I use a US based tax accountant... costs me around $600 to do a fairly complex return. If there is someone besides the Big 4 in Singapore doing personal tax, I am unaware of him/her.

PM me if you want details.

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Post by StockAnswer » Thu, 20 Aug 2009 3:31 pm

wow, thanks very much for your help sundaymorningstaple, cbavasi and Strong Eagle. Very informative.

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sundaymorningstaple
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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 20 Aug 2009 5:26 pm

Strong Eagle wrote: I use a US based tax accountant... costs me around $600 to do a fairly complex return. If there is someone besides the Big 4 in Singapore doing personal tax, I am unaware of him/her.
Amanda St. Claire
Office Phone: 9729-4300
Fax: 6491-5885
Email: amanda@expattaxusa.com
Webpage: www.expattaxusa.com

TaxCents Pte Ltd
Contact: Balwinder Kaur
Office Phone: 6343 4053
Mobile: 8112-7439
Fax: 6734-1797
Email: taxcents@gmail.com

Taxplan Services Pte. Ltd.
1 Scotts Road #15-03
Shaw Centre
Singapore 228208
Tel: (65) 6737-5444
Fax: (65) 6737-8605
Contact: Laurel Lee Sweener; Helen Tjandra

While I cannot vouch for any of them, I can say that the first and third companies principals have been doing US returns here for many, many years. In fact, I know Laurel Lee Sweener has been doing them here for several decades (believe she was doing them for another outfit here in the early years when I first came in the early '80's.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by bostonT2 » Sat, 22 Aug 2009 5:02 pm

i used turbotax online this year and the foreign earning exclusion is sweet. Knocks of 84K or something... and it cost around 30 US cheaper if you have r a fidelity and do it early...

suggest u use the premium if you have stocks
semi lost in translation...

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