The Self-Employed/VIPkid Expat Tax Angle

This article is a part of a review of an online tax preparation service for expats, called Taxes for Expats

I teach online with a foreign-based company called VIPkid. They are based China, but they have primarily US-based contracted teachers, and so they filed a 1099 form with the IRS upon my hire in 2017. This form essentially declares that I am an independent contractor and obligated to abide my self-employment taxation laws in the US. This is the primary reason for me seeking professional help when it came to filing my taxes this year, as self-employment taxation is considerably more complicated than the usual filing, doubly so from overseas.

I did not see anywhere in the Tax Questionnaire where to include info about the 1099 (which is certainly possibly due to my own ignorance, but it stands to reason if I missed it, others will too). In the end I emailed my Enrolled Agent asking her about it and she sent the following response.

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 4.52.02 PM

But then later on, she sent another email saying,

“Was [your USD income] reported to you on a 1099-MISC? If yes, then I need you to upload the 1099-MISC form(s) and I will need to revise your tax return. If not, then your return is correct as is. Please advise.

Kind Regards,
Lynn”

So if you are a VIPkid teacher reading this – make sure that you submit your 1099-MISC from VIPkid along with the other documents when filing the return! I will note that even after submitting the 1099-MISC, I still owed no federal tax.

The totalization agreement between the US and Czech Republic ended up saving me from a double-taxed fate, in the end. You can read all about what they are here and find a list of countries that have an agreement with the US here.

A note – make sure to account for different currencies when reporting your income. Several times in the Tax Questionnaire I was entering dollar or crown amounts that I had gotten by using conversions that I had used in March of 2018 (during my tax preparation for Czech taxes). Things got complicated, as I earned income in multiple currencies and my Enrolled Agent and I were using different exchange rates when converting to USD, and ended up with different numbers. To clarify I sent an email to her with my income in the original currencies, and she used the most favorable exchange rate from 2017 to submit my return with. So be aware when using any currency amount that you yourself converted, that you might not be using the best rate, and let your Enrolled Agent know.

An article the VIPkid teachers living abroad may find informative about their tax situation: Digital Nomad Taxes

***

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.

Everyone: You can save $25, credited against your total fee with Taxes for Expats if you sign up with my referral link right here.

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