Using Taxes for Expats is fairly straightforward, though of course it is still tax preparation so don’t expect it to be buckets of fun. That said, I’ve outlined the steps you need to take to file via their service.
1. Make an account Sign up with email, make a password, you know the drill.
2. Fill out the Tax Questionnaire
The TQ has five sections:
Main – covers the bulk of the Questionnaire, from your Basic Info (name/bday/address/ss/etc), to physical presence (were you in the US or abroad throughout the year?), all sources of income, did you pay taxes to a foreign nation, and deductions.
Foreign Accounts – all about non-US financial accounts
Supplemental – covers additional details only if prompted by your answers from the Main section
Text Entry/Notes – here you can let your Tax expert know anything else you want to tell them
Document Checklist – shows documents they may needs from you (based on your responses in the questionnaire)
Skip any questions if you don’t know how to answer – it most likely doesn’t apply to you. If you have any doubts, skip it but address the concern in the “Notes” section. And/Or you can bring it up via email with your tax specialist after you’ve signed the Engagement Letter (the next step after the questionnaire). Your questionnaire needn’t be 100% complete at the end – mine was 86% completed, that was fine.
The Questionnaire is fairly simple – but that said – expat taxes are not easily simplified, and a lot can end up left out so I highly suggest list any concerns or questions in the Notes section for your tax preparer to read. If you have questions about how the questionnaire works, you can schedule a call with a Taxes for Expats representative and they will help you as well – but this is not an Enrolled Agent, so they won’t be able to answer questions about your specific situation, only more general questions about the website, the questionnaire, and how the company operates.
When done, submit!
3. Engagement Letter Not long after you submit your Questionnaire, you will receive your Engagement Letter. This spells out the service your assigned Enrolled Agent will provide and how much the service will cost. This is not where you pay but it is the agreement so once you approve, you will be billed. The Agent will prepare your return in 1-3 days.
4. Review the return They will send you a PDF of the completed return for review, and you can ask questions via email if you have any doubts/concerns or corrections. Be thorough as the Enrolled Agent will only revise the return one time for free, after that there is a fee. That said, you can exchange several emails discussing an issue/s before they will begin the revision (I did this).
5. Approve & Pay Once you’re happy with the return, submit your approval and they will e-file the return for you, and you pay the fee you agreed to in the Engagement Letter.
For the Expat Panicking Over Taxes – You have until June 15th!
For those that live overseas, you have until June 15th to file. If you don’t think that you can get everything sorted by then, you can file an extension and then you will have until October 15th. Taxes for Expats offers to file that extension for you for free, if you put down a $50 retainer towards their tax preparation service fee. The link to file for an extension is found in their Client Home Page – they make it pretty big and hard to miss!
If you don’t want tax preparation service with Taxes for Expats, no need to pay $50 – you can file for an extension for free here.