Like resident taxpayers, U.S. taxpayers living abroad must complete Line 61 under “Other Taxes” and “Health care: individual responsibility” on their Form 1040 or equivalent. For 2016, the IRS will not consider a return complete and accurate if the taxpayer does not report health care coverage for the year, an exemption or a payment. However, U.S. citizens filing as non-residents in foreign countries while covered by an employee health plan, or even by a foreign country’s national health care system, have different considerations when complying with the requirements of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (“ACA”).
7 Deadly Tax Sins
When it comes to the IRS, some bad acts are worse than others. We have compiled below the top ones to avoid at all costs. However, if you should find yourself in the middle of one, you should certainly call tax attorneys to get you out of the bad situation (yes, it is a bad situation).
Did you know you could be responsible for your parents’ unpaid bills? Ever heard of Filial Responsibility Laws? Well, these are laws obligating you to provide financial support for your indigent parents. Yes, obligated under law. According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, 21 states across the country (including states like Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts) allow for a civil action to obtain financial support for indigent parents. At least 12 states may impose criminal penalties on children who refuse to support their parents. Though rarely enforced, these laws may be dusted off by states looking to save money on Medicaid bills.
The popular $1,000-per-child tax credit was made a permanent part of the tax code by the American Taxpayer Relief Act. Depending upon a parent’s income, the Child Tax Credit is an important and useful tax credit that may be worth as much as $1,000 per qualifying child under the age of seventeen (17). A qualifying child for this credit is someone who meets the criteria of six tests: age, relationship, support, dependent, citizenship, and residence.
Age Test – To qualify, a child must have been age 16 or younger at the end of the applicable tax year.
Do you live abroad? Do you own an asset or bank or investment account that had an accumulated value or total exceeding $10,000 at any time in 2015 (or any year)? If so, you are required to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Reports (FBAR). Thus, if an asset was valued at, or an account totaled, $10,001 for just one day, an FBAR is due and must be filed. The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen) received a record high 1,163,229 FBARs in 2015. What is surprising is that FinCen data shows that FBAR filings have grown an average of 17 percent per year during the last five years. Over 90,000 taxpayers filed FBARs in 2015.
When married taxpayers file jointly, which is often done because of certain benefits available to couples filing jointly, both taxpayers are jointly and severally liable for the tax and any additions to tax, interest, or penalties that arise from the joint return, even if their marriage is later dissolved. Joint and several liability means that each taxpayer is legally responsible for the entire liability.
Thus, both spouses on a married filing jointly return are generally held responsible for all the tax due even if one spouse earned all the income or erroneously claimed deductions. This is true notwithstanding the provisions of a divorce decree regarding a former spouse’s responsibility for any taxes due on previously filed joint returns. However, in rare cases, a spouse may obtain relief from joint and several liability.
Unsure of whether you should use the standard deduction amount, or take the time to itemize deductions? The answer is fairly straightforward; you should itemize deductions if your total deductions are more than the standard deduction amount. Also, you should itemize if you don’t qualify for the standard deduction. Taxpayers should initially calculate itemized deductions and then compare that amount to their standard deduction to determine which provides the greater benefit. A taxpayer may be subject to a limit on some itemized deductions if he or she exceeds the adjusted gross income limits.
Here’s a primer for United States taxpayers residing abroad:
U.S. citizens must file a tax return. Any U.S. citizen who earns income of any kind is obligated to file a U.S. tax return every year, no matter where he or she resides in the world. Many Americans, living abroad and in the U.S., find it unfair that the United States is the only country that requires citizens to file tax returns whether or not they are earning income on U.S. shores. This is a leading reason why some Americans are renouncing their U.S. citizenship.