Are you a citizen of the United States who lives abroad? Maybe you're thinking about moving from the United States, and aren't sure how this affects your tax filing requirements. Or perhaps you have been tax non-compliant for many years, and don't know how to get caught up with the US government without incurring huge fees. You could be a self-employed "digital nomad" who works from many different countries, moving wherever you want at your leisure. No matter what your situation, you probably still owe taxes to the US. If you don't file correctly, you could be missing out on important opportunities to legally reduce your tax burden.
The United States of America is one of only two countries in the world that imposes taxes based on citizenship, not on where you live or where your money comes from. How can you ensure that Uncle Sam gets his due without suffering enormous penalties on the road to becoming tax compliant? By combining the right strategies for citizenship, residency, banking, incorporation, and physical presence in other countries, it is possible for most people who work abroad to legally keep their taxes at $0.
In this book, certified public account, US immigrant (and eventual emigrant), and perpetual traveler Olivier Wagner teaches listeners not just the philosophy of being a worldly American, but how to use 100% legal strategies to make your life easier and less burdened by taxation. Wagner even takes you step by step through the specific forms and schedules you will use to file your taxes, no matter where you are.
©2017 Olivier Wagner (P)2017 Identity Publications
While there are many books that cover the basics of things like the foreign earned income exclusion or the foreign tax credit, none of them clearly explain why these things exist, how they work, different ways you can arrange your life to tax advantage of them, and how to file correctly with the various forms that make up the US tax system. It is written in a way that is casual and inviting when it needs to be, then hard-nosed and precise when appropriate. I particularly appreciated the first chapter where he goes over some of the practical but overlooked aspects of living in another country. Even people who are already expats or travelers will probably learn some very valuable they had not considered.
The final chapter discusses renouncing your American citizenship, and alternatives to consider. This is a subject that is often avoided as dark and ugly. Most Americans would never even consider giving up their US passport because they see it as a safety net. As the holder of three passports now, I am glad to see this topic coming into greater public discussion. It is not scary. There are ways to legally and easily become a citizen of another country. I believe that more Americans renounced their citizenship in 2016 than ever before, and I sure think the trend will continue.
The book is relatively short, but the detailed table of contents and index at the back make it easy to skim through and reference specific information when needed. You don't need to read it cover to cover to get value from it, and the images of specific parts of tax forms really make it easier to follow. In my opinion, it is the best book on American expat tax that currently exists on the market.
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