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Old 09.12.2011, 08:57
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Tax Information for US Citizens ( and Resident Aliens abroad ) 2011

Here are the links to some of the IRS tax forms for 2011:

Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad

Instructions for Form 2555

Form 2555

Instructions for Form 1040

Form 1040

Instructions for Schedule A

Schedule A, Deductions

Schedule B, Interest and Dividends

Last edited by KeinFranzösisch; 05.01.2012 at 10:34. Reason: added instructions for form 2555
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Old 12.12.2011, 14:15
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Re: Tax Information for US Citizens ( and Resident Aliens abroad ) 2011

Thanks for the links. Do you know of any folks in Switzerland that are knowledgeable with these documents and Swiss taxes that I could engage with for my tax filing?

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Here are the links to some of the IRS tax forms for 2011:

Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad

Form 2555

Instructions for Form 1040

Form 1040

Instructions for Schedule A

Schedule A, Deductions

Schedule B, Interest and Dividends
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Old 05.01.2012, 14:56
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Re: Tax Information for US Citizens ( and Resident Aliens abroad ) 2011

As I've sat down to start drafting out my taxes, I've discovered another form that will be useful:

Form 1116 -- Foreign Tax Credit

Instructions
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Old 09.01.2012, 14:58
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Re: Tax Information for US Citizens ( and Resident Aliens abroad ) 2011

Don't forget your form 8938 (new this year!) for those who have $50,000 or more in their combined foreign accounts at any time in year 2011 (including renter's accounts, swiss retirement accounts, and normal bank accounts, basically anything your name is listed on)

http://www.irs.gov/businesses/corpor...251217,00.html

And your old frined, the FBAR (form TD F 90-22.1)

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f90221.pdf
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Old 09.01.2012, 15:10
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Re: Tax Information for US Citizens ( and Resident Aliens abroad ) 2011

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Don't forget your form 8938 (new this year!) for those who have $50,000 or more in their combined foreign accounts at any time in year 2011 (including renter's accounts, swiss retirement accounts, and normal bank accounts, basically anything your name is listed on)

http://www.irs.gov/businesses/corpor...251217,00.html

And your old frined, the FBAR (form TD F 90-22.1)

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f90221.pdf
Only if you live in the US. If you don't, then it's $200k+ (depending if you are married, etc.)

"If you are a taxpayer living abroad you must file if:
  • You are filing a return other than a joint return and the total value of your specified foreign assets is more than $200,000 on the last day of the tax year or more than $300,000 at any time during the year; or
  • You are filing a joint return and the value of your specified foreign asset is more than $400,000 on the last day of the tax year or more than $600,000 at any time during the year."

Tom
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Old 09.01.2012, 15:49
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Re: Tax Information for US Citizens ( and Resident Aliens abroad ) 2011

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Only if you live in the US. If you don't, then it's $200k+ (depending if you are married, etc.)

"If you are a taxpayer living abroad you must file if:
  • You are filing a return other than a joint return and the total value of your specified foreign assets is more than $200,000 on the last day of the tax year or more than $300,000 at any time during the year; or
  • You are filing a joint return and the value of your specified foreign asset is more than $400,000 on the last day of the tax year or more than $600,000 at any time during the year."

Tom
Thanks! One less form for me!
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Old 12.01.2012, 17:31
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Re: Tax Information for US Citizens ( and Resident Aliens abroad ) 2011

I have a curious question here. Say a US citizen who also holds either a Swiss Passport or a Permit C decides to overestimate Swiss income in the beginnin of the year to the point where the effective Swiss tax rate closely approximates the effective US Federal tax rate. In effect, he would be overpaying Swiss taxes but at the sometime minimizing his US tax liability. Any refund or credit carried over to the following year could be further mitigated by continuous overestimation of Swiss income.

This would not only have the benefit of minimizing/eliminating (or probably even gaining US tax credits for future use), but your Swiss tax refund/credit would come with a juicy interest rate (something not possible in the US).

Would such a strategy be classified as tax optimization (especially under today's crazy exchange rates) or would it be tax evasion (nothing wrong here, as yearly bonuses and pay raises may be difficult to nail down on a January and if you underpay monthly you get penalized with late payment interest).

Good be good to do it while the CHF is overvalued and then trim it down as the CHF loses value. Anything illegal here?
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Old 12.01.2012, 18:19
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Re: Tax Information for US Citizens ( and Resident Aliens abroad ) 2011

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Say a US citizen who also holds either a Swiss Passport or a Permit C decides to overestimate Swiss income...[and] overpaying Swiss taxes but at the sometime minimizing his US tax liability. ...Would such a strategy be classified as tax optimization ...or would it be tax evasion. Anything illegal here?
In the US, knowingly preparing false documents (the CH over-statement of income) in order to reduce US tax liability is rather obvious criminal (not civil) tax fraud.

p.s. Is it possible you have a wonderful and under-appreciated sense of humor?
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Old 12.01.2012, 18:41
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Re: Tax Information for US Citizens ( and Resident Aliens abroad ) 2011

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Here are the links to some of the IRS tax forms for 2011:

Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad

Instructions for Form 2555

Form 2555

Instructions for Form 1040

Form 1040

Instructions for Schedule A

Schedule A, Deductions

Schedule B, Interest and Dividends
Funny, I just called the IRS today for some questions I have regarding our situation. My German husband (who does all the earning) turned in his green card last year as it doesn't look like we are returning to the US anytime soon, and I see no advantage (only disadvantages of the taxing situation) to keeping it. I am trying to figure out if I file separately do I only need to report his income up to when he still held the green card? The IRS guy pointed me to form 519 which I need to find time to read and decipher...anyone out there dealt with this before?
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Old 12.01.2012, 18:49
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Re: Tax Information for US Citizens ( and Resident Aliens abroad ) 2011

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In the US, knowingly preparing false documents (the CH over-statement of income) in order to reduce US tax liability is rather obvious criminal (not civil) tax fraud.

p.s. Is it possible you have a wonderful and under-appreciated sense of humor?
Not overstating income, overestimating. Swiss citizens and C Permit holders are not taxed at source, hence income has to be estimated in the beginning of the year to make estimated monthly payments to the canton and community throughout the year. Swiss tax refund/credit only comes after the declaration is filed (thus after overpaid taxes are fully paid) and after IRS tax return an payment is due.
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Old 12.01.2012, 18:57
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Re: Tax Information for US Citizens ( and Resident Aliens abroad ) 2011

When filing to the IRS, everything would be truthful. The overpaid taxes (backed by cantonal and community payment stubs) and the correct income would be reported (hence Swiss tax liability would effectively be higher).
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Old 12.01.2012, 19:25
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Re: Tax Information for US Citizens ( and Resident Aliens abroad ) 2011

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Swiss citizens and C Permit holders are not taxed at source, hence income has to be estimated in the beginning of the year to make estimated monthly payments to the canton and community throughout the year.
Ummm, no.

The taxes I pay this year are for last year.

And I don't make monthly payments, I normally pay it all in December.

Tom
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Old 12.01.2012, 19:36
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Re: Tax Information for US Citizens ( and Resident Aliens abroad ) 2011

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Ummm, no.

The taxes I pay this year are for last year.

And I don't make monthly payments, I normally pay it all in December.

Tom
Maybe it's different in Ticino? In Vaud payments are done monthly for the current year (unless you wanna pay it all off immediately in the beginning of the year on estimated income for said year). Federal taxes are done the following year.

Thing is, the overpaid taxes would not be known until way after the IRS filing and payment due date. So there is no possible way one could perform an exact IRS return with all the facts available. Hence there is always an incentive to overestimate income to avoid paying interest penalty on cantonal and communal taxes.
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Old 12.01.2012, 19:40
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Re: Tax Information for US Citizens ( and Resident Aliens abroad ) 2011

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Maybe it's different in Ticino? In Vaud payments are done monthly for the current year (unless you wanna pay it all off immediately in the beginning of the year on estimated income for said year). Federal taxes are done the following year.
Apparently so.

Good to know!

Tom
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Old 12.01.2012, 20:24
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Re: Tax Information for US Citizens ( and Resident Aliens abroad ) 2011

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When filing to the IRS, everything would be truthful. The overpaid taxes (backed by cantonal and community payment stubs) and the correct income would be reported (hence Swiss tax liability would effectively be higher).
Have you considered the impact of larger deductions on your AMT?

This might not impact you, as VD taxes are high anyway, but the difference between paying ZH taxes (and thus having a higher credit for CH taxes paid) versus paying SZ taxes meant a very significant difference in the AMT on our US taxes.

The SZ system is similar to what Tom describes - the only time the taxpayer estimates his/her taxes is the first year - thereafter the Steueramt sends you an estimated tax bill once a year based on your last years' final tax bill.

You can discuss making changes if you think earnings will vary significantly - but the Steueramt is generally not happy to be making large interest payments on overpaid taxes year after year. They have been known to ask for proof.

And if your estimated CH tax as reported to Uncle Sam differs from actual tax paid you have to re-file... not fun, and potentially expensive if you use a professional tax consultant.

But then, I'm just a housewife on a t'interweb forum. You would be best served by speaking with a tax professional about your unique situation.
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Old 12.01.2012, 20:35
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Re: Tax Information for US Citizens ( and Resident Aliens abroad ) 2011

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Maybe it's different in Ticino? In Vaud payments are done monthly for the current year (unless you wanna pay it all off immediately in the beginning of the year on estimated income for said year). Federal taxes are done the following year.

Thing is, the overpaid taxes would not be known until way after the IRS filing and payment due date. So there is no possible way one could perform an exact IRS return with all the facts available. Hence there is always an incentive to overestimate income to avoid paying interest penalty on cantonal and communal taxes.
No, but you would be obligated to file an adjustment with the IRS when your lesser burden became apparent. Obviously you'd get away with it, unless/until you're the subject of an audit.
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Old 13.01.2012, 09:25
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Re: Tax Information for US Citizens ( and Resident Aliens abroad ) 2011

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Thing is, the overpaid taxes would not be known until way after the IRS filing and payment due date. So there is no possible way one could perform an exact IRS return with all the facts available. Hence there is always an incentive to overestimate income to avoid paying interest penalty on cantonal and communal taxes.
Presumably, when the situation was clarified, you would need to file an amended return, rectifying the previous year(s) overestimation. I am guessing if taxes were underpaid as a result of the overestimation, penalities and interest would likely be charged.
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Old 13.01.2012, 09:46
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Re: Tax Information for US Citizens ( and Resident Aliens abroad ) 2011

On a different subject of 2011 tax year reporting--

Wondering if anyone has wandered through the new territory of Form 8938? and its 15 pages of instructions. Given its penalities and the such, I feel somewhat obliged to understand it.

My confusion is over the need to file in 2011 for tax year 2010? Although the forms just appeared in December 2011, the instructions seem to indicate that it was applicable for 2010 or earlier, kind of retroactive application of something we knew nothing about (a big thanks to the IRS for such a procedure).

The applicable language is this, page 1 of instructions--
Transitional rule for 2011.
Your obligation to file Form 8938 in 2011 is deferred to 2012 if you are an individual who satisfies all of the following.
ˇ
You had a tax year that began after March 18, 2010.
ˇ
You were required to file Form 8938.
ˇ You filed an annual return before Form 8938 was released.

The confusion is mainly about the 1st bullet point, as I assume the 2010 tax year began as of 1 January for most calendar year taxpayers. Thus, most would be caught by this 18 March date unless foreign accounts appeared only after that date. Any thoughts?
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Old 13.01.2012, 13:04
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Re: Tax Information for US Citizens ( and Resident Aliens abroad ) 2011

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On a different subject of 2011 tax year reporting...Form 8938...My confusion is over the need to file in 2011 for tax year 2010? Although the forms just appeared in December 2011, the instructions seem to indicate that it was applicable for 2010 or earlier...
An individual taxpayer's "tax year" is the calendar year, so your 2010 tax year began Jan 1, 2010.

The IRS website states "Form 8938 reporting applies [to]...taxable years starting after March 18, 2010. For most individual taxpayers, this means they will start filing Form 8938 with their 2011 income tax return to be filed this coming tax filing season."
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