Oh happy day in La Ciotat! I've filed my US expat taxes and now I can go out and play! It only took a few hours thanks to this excellent tax software at Expatfile. Now, don't miss today's non-taxing story.
: chuffed, very pleased
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse
Chuffed is a word I use so infrequently I could count on one hand the number of times I've said it. Today, it perfectly describes this feeling of satisfaction. I am chuffed, chuffed, so very chuffed to have completed my taxes on my own this year!
Chuffed, chuffed, chuffed! (In French that'd be vachement contente!) Now maybe you're thinking, Well, Mrs. Kristi, what's so chuffy about doing your own taxes? I do mine all on my own! Yes, but are you navigating the complex terrain that is US expat taxes? Are you a "resident alien"? I've been sweating over my international tax requirements--specifically my US federal tax return--ever since 2005, when I learned I had to report my income to the IRS--even though I live full-time in France and co-file here with my French husband.
I did my own taxes that fateful year, thanks to the help of another "resident alien", Sharon, who had some good news for me: thanks to American tax treaties with France I would most likely not owe any money to the Internal Revenue Service. I printed out all of the forms and somehow managed (thanks to Sharon!) to submit my first 1040 from overseas.
But I didn't want to bother my friend every year. So around 7 years ago, I learned about an expat tax service for Americans abroad. I used them up until two days ago, when I heard myself ruminating, I don't want to pay another $600 for tax preparation this year! I realized I was doing most of the work myself, via their online software, and even correcting mistakes made by the IRS-enrolled tax agent (and I'm not the smartest crayon in the box, either...).
So this year I googled "expat tax software" and stumbled onto Expatfile.com (they do not know me and I am not being paid for this enthusiastic report. However, I will receive referral fees should any other "aliens" (in France, Germany, England, or on the Moon) file their US taxes with Expatfile via any link in this post--and here's why you should:
Simple and Fast: While the record for one of their clients is "6 minutes" (talk about alien intelligence!), it took me just two hours. But that's because I took my own sweet time (I need time to overthink instructions and to constantly second-guess myself).
Inexpensive: This year I paid $189 for tax help at Expatfile.com. Did I tell you that up until now I've paid $600 each year for tax assistance? Considering I made less than $15,000 in 2022 from all three of my jobs (blogger, columnist, and author), that's a big chunk of cash to pay (4 percent of my income) for help filing my US federal tax return. I already pay a whopping $1600, yearly, to send out this newsletter via a listserver and my blog expenses don't stop there. Thankfully I am finally learning to list all expenses for the IRS--including a home-office a.k.a. Formerly My Daughter's Bedroom (deduct $5 per square foot with a maximum of 300 square feet).
Responsive: I don't know if "Matt" is an AI robot, but when I asked him for a discount after signing on at ExpatFile.com he immediately gave me 10 bucks off and remained super attentive for each question that followed. Thanks, Matt! (I can't guarantee you'll get the same discount but one should always ask.) Just like I asked the cashier at the supermarket whether he'd taken into account the 10 percent discount noted on the eggrolls. "Yes," he assured me. Only, when I got home and looked at the receipt, I saw he'd neglected to punch in the 20 percent discount for the chipolatas! So ask and verify. It all adds up.
Adds up: And so will my savings now that I'm no longer paying an extra 350 dollars a year for tax help. And I've been shouting it from the rooftops ever since I turned in my 2022 taxes. But each time I brag about my $350 savings--someone wants a piece of the pie! That is, my own family now wants to tax me...
...Jean-Marc says I can put it in the cagnotte (piggy bank) to buy him a Porche. (As if!)
...Max suggested I spend it on a cool birthday present (he turns 28 today! Happy Birthday, Mr. Son!)
...My sister, Heidi, hinted I might spring for lunch when my family from Denver arrives in 3 weeks.
No sooner did I save all this money, than a bunch of Sticky Fingers want to help spend it! I'm gonna go chat with Matt (the robot?) now and see if he has any more advice--now that my family wants "un petit tax" from me too. Meantime, if you are a US expat anywhere in the Universe and are struggling over taxes, don't sweat it. Update: You will get an even better deal than me: $20 off when you use this link. Go to Expatfile to begin the simple filing process.
EXPAT TAX FACTS
- Only 2 countries in the world have Citizenship-based taxation: the US and Eritrea (a Northeast African country whose name means "Red Sea". Expats from there are truly seeing red when tax season comes around!)
- A number of Americans abroad are so frustrated about filing US taxes they're giving up their citizenship.
- You are required by law to file your taxes as a US citizen living abroad, but you won't necessarily undergo double taxation (the US has tax treaties in place to avoid this).
- However innocent, you may need to file and "FBAR" (Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts) with Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), as I just did.
- As an expat you have an automatic extension through June 15th to file your taxes. Why not begin, as I did, this week? See the low pricing options over at Expatfile and remember--Matt is there to help you!
Autumn Excursion in France: "Women in Burgundy" - An adventure designed especially for "Wander-ful Women!" September 20 to 30, 2023 - Includes seven nights in Burgundy and three nights in Paris. Click HERE for details.
This time we'll focus on tax-related terms....
1. Les impôts - Taxes
2. La déclaration fiscale - Tax return
3. Le résident fiscal - Tax resident
4. Les traités fiscaux - Tax treaties
5. Les déductions fiscales - Tax deductions
6. Le contrôle fiscal - Tax audit
7. Le taux d'imposition - Tax rate
8. La période fiscale - Tax period
9. La réglementation fiscale - Tax regulations
10. Le compte bancaire étranger - Foreign bank account
Au revoir, for now, and thank you for reading. Here's an interesting blog for those interested in France and genealogy: Anne Morddel's French Geneology Blog. Enjoy!
In French, a patron or supporter is un(e) mécène. Following the "Glou-Glou" Wine Farewell edition, Tchin Tchin! and special thanks to these mécènes for their helpful donations which keep this blog and its newsletter going:
Have time for one more story? Read "A Hussy to the IRS" (about the time the IRS almost called an expat The Slut of the Port)
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety