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Old 13.07.2011, 13:47
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Filing US tax before Swiss tax?

I have a question which I think might be a common one, but surprising I didn't manage to find an answer on the forum already...

Here's the question to other Americans in Switzerland who still have US tax liability after foreign income exclusion and housing exclusion (who would therefore be able to take a pro-rated foreign tax credit) OR who simply are better off with foreign tax credit instead of foreign income exclusion:
How do you deal with your US Federal tax return when the Swiss authority has a much longer time (5 years!) to eventually finalize your Swiss tax filing?

When you use the withholding tax (assuming you're not on a C permit) as foreign tax paid to determine foreign tax credit, do you then file an amended tax return when you eventually find out what your "real" Swiss tax liability is? But you only have 3 years to file an amended return, so if the Swiss authority takes longer than that, what do you do?

This is espeically the case for the first couple of years where often the request to file from Switzerland doesn't even arrive until a year or 2 later.
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Old 13.07.2011, 14:42
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Re: Filing US tax before Swiss tax?

This is one of the reasons why I use a tax professional. It's his job to keep track of filing amendments.

We get random Swiss final statements going back several years with some regularity, sometimes 2-3 'final' bills for the same year, but so far have never had trouble filing a US amendment. (Thumbs pressed!)

I would advise getting professional help if you anticipate this to be a recurring issue.
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Old 13.07.2011, 14:52
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Re: Filing US tax before Swiss tax?

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This is one of the reasons why I use a tax professional. It's his job to keep track of filing amendments.

We get random Swiss final statements going back several years with some regularity, sometimes 2-3 'final' bills for the same year, but so far have never had trouble filing a US amendment. (Thumbs pressed!)

I would advise getting professional help if you anticipate this to be a recurring issue.
Hah...

The point though is also that filing amendments increase your chances of being audited (as amendments are entered manually by an IRS tax person, as opposed to some clerks there for regular paper filings).

And even with professional help, you're still only allowed up to 3 years to file an amendment to your US tax return, unless there's some exceptions that I've missed somewhere!?

Ok, with all that, who do you use for your US accountant if you don't mind recommending?
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Old 13.07.2011, 16:48
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Re: Filing US tax before Swiss tax?

To be honest, I just file my US tax late. I know it's a bad thing, but I wait till we get the Swiss tax back and I file. As long as I don't owe anything it's ok. If I owe it will cost me, and then I'll change my strategy. We've not had any trouble going in and out of the US so far with late taxes. It's a risky strategy, I know, but I don't intend to live in the US again.

I file my Fbar on time, and for the rest, don't really care. I always write a note of explanation on the taxes. And so far, I've not owed anything... but we'll see what happens next.
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