In today’s world, there are a lot of resources and opinions on international tax matters available at the tip of our fingers. It is time-consuming, confusing and somewhat daunting to parse through all the materials and practitioners to understand where to find the best resources to answer questions expatriates may have in regards to United States federal income tax and informational reporting compliance. This article offers our recommendation for the seven best online resources for expatriate tax advice.
1. LinkedIn – LinkedIn is a great resource for expatriates. It is a website that links professionals around the world together with the general public, which allows members to create groups to bounce ideas off of and get feedback from. It allows practitioners to post their thoughts and opinions on a wide range of professional topics and enables them to provide thought-content publications.
When I talk with a prospect for the first time during our initial consultation, I always encourage them to review my LinkedIn profile, the publications I have posted, and my general commentary. By doing so, the person can get a sense of who I am, and preview my competency and commitment to my practice area. The prospect can also get a sense of my practice style to determine if I am the right fit. There are a lot of solid expatriate groups and very well-versed tax practitioners available on LinkedIn. You can also follow these groups and practitioners in order to stay current with their commentary and publications.
2. American Citizens Abroad – American Citizens Abroad (ACA, Inc.) is a non-profit, non-partisan, volunteer association whose mission is to defend the rights of Americans living overseas. ACA has a great website that provides up-to-date news that affects expatriates. It also has an extensive global tax preparer directory. All you need to do is find your country and then conduct due diligence on the preparer list.
3. Expat Info Desk – Expat Info Desk is a private team of expatriates that came together to provide a comprehensive guide to expatriates. It provides a very detailed “Expat Manual” that walks the reader through all the steps in an expat life cycle. It has everything you need from expat insurance to how to plan the move abroad to retiring abroad. It has both a blog that provides real-time observations about many foreign jurisdictions and a forum for bringing up regularly recurring issues expats face like “do I need to file an FBAR?”
4. Forbes – Yes, Forbes may seem like an odd choice here, as the content would seemingly be directed at those in the United States only. However, the tax section has a slew of highly intelligent and well versed tax practitioners who touch on all manner of topics both domestic and foreign. All you need to do is find a practitioner with content that appeals to you and follow them. I recommend Kelly Phillips Erb and Robert Wood. Kelly, also known as Tax Girl, provides tax-related content that is easy to understand and relatable. After only a couple of articles, you feel like you know Kelly and are excited for her next post. Robert does a fantastic job at drawing out the big picture from the information and then explaining how it relates to the everyday individual facing the issue. He is a credit to the industry.
5. The United States Embassy – The U.S. Embassy website is likely overlooked by many people, but contains valuable information for both expats and those traveling throughout the globe. It carves the earth into different slices: Africa, Western Hemisphere, Near East, etc. From those links you then drill down to the specific country you need information on by linking to the U.S. embassy in that country, which then provides you with content about that area. It is a fast and effective means of keeping “in the know.”
6. Chamber of Commerce – You can find specific information about resources within a foreign city by tracking down the Chamber of Commerce that links to the United States. For example, our firm has a great relationship with the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce. The organization provides detailed information about specific cities in Switzerland as well as events, publications and member interests. The CEO, Martin Naville, and his team of associates are a fantastic resource and truly a pleasure to meet in person.
7. Worldwide Tax – The Worldwide Tax website is a powerful tool for those who want to know specifics about a foreign country. It has all the tax rates for each country from individual to corporate to VAT. Once you have selected a specific country, it provides links to general details such as the national holidays, overview of the economy of the country, business opportunities, and how the specific tax structure works (e.g. for individuals in Greece, it provides the individual tax, corporate tax, capital gains tax, reporting dates, and payment dates). Finally, the site provides links to embassies, consulates, chambers of commerce, service providers, consultants, as well as news outlets.
About Five Stone Tax Advisers
Five Stone Tax Advisers has years of experience negotiating directly with the IRS to get the best possible outcome for you. Our International Tax Advisory and Compliance unit has a team of tax attorneys, certified public accountants and enrolled agents that form a single sourced point of contact that will provide services for all the legal, compliance and financial reconstruction aspects of offshore account cases.