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Old 08.03.2015, 09:32
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US taxes - turbotax driving me nuts

Hello, so I am trying to file my 2014 taxes using Turbotax which seems to usually work great but is proving to be annoying this time around. It is automatically filling in deductions that I know I cannot claim and some that I am not so sure about.

Standard deductions: I am 99.99% sure that I cannot claim the $6200 standard deduction as an expat claiming foreign earned income exclusion and instead I have to itemize it which in my case comes to zero. I finally managed to figure out how to remove that in Turbotax. Bit dissapointed that it could not figure it out itself based on my other information (??).

Personal exemption: This is the one I am not so sure about. My income after claiming the FEIE and housing credit is less than personal exemption ($3900 for 2014). So turbotax automatically applies the personal exemption and says I don't owe any taxes. However, it seems dodgy to claim an exemption which is in spirit meant for people who actually earned less than $3900 gross in 2014. Based on how smart it was with applying the standard deductions (or not), I am guessing personal exemption is a big no as well. If I am correct, does anyone know how to remove this exemption in Turbotax so that it will calculate the change that I owe to Uncle Sam?

I don't want to raise any flags and deal with an audit over chump change!

Thanks for the help. Happy tax season to rest of you.
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Old 08.03.2015, 12:06
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Re: US taxes - turbotax driving me nuts

I found that TurboTax is not a friendly software to use if you have foreign income. I tried the first year we moved here, but it was difficult to find the forms needed and it would apply deductions and exemptions we could not take. Instead of having the headaches with TurboTax, I have a company in the US who specializes in expat taxes fill out all the forms so I don't have the worry.

You could have a company/accountant this year fill them out so that in future years you will know how it is done.

I wish you much luck in figuring out TurboTax!
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Old 08.03.2015, 12:15
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Re: US taxes - turbotax driving me nuts

I would agree that it is worth spending the extra money to have a professional do your taxes as an expat. I have used Turbo Tax for years prior to my international assignment, but the thought of doing so now never even crossed my mind.
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Old 08.03.2015, 12:39
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Re: US taxes - turbotax driving me nuts

OP, I think you might be overthinking the Foreign Income Exclusion a bit. I have been claiming both the standard deduction and the FIE for years, including on tax returns prepared by a professional. I suggest you download and read IRS Publication 54: Tax Guide for US Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad. Then contact a tax professional if you still feel uncertain.
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