If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, you must report income from sources outside the United States (foreign income) on your tax return unless it is exempt by U.S. law. This is true whether you reside inside or outside the United States and whether or not you receive a Form W2, Wage and Tax Statement, or Form 1099 from the foreign payer.
This applies to earned income (such as wages and tips) as well as unearned income (such as interest, dividends, capital gains, pensions, rents, and royalties). If you reside outside the United States, you may be able to exclude part or your entire foreign earned income.
If you are a US citizen or resident alien, you need to pay tax on foreign income. If you paid any tax on foreign income in your respective country you may get a tax benefit from the US government, but there is also a limit of exclusion for foreign income.
If you are a U.S. citizen or resident during tax year, you likely have foreign income that you must report on your tax return. Here we help you to understand a few concepts affecting foreign income.
The main foreign income concepts (explained below) are:
1. What foreign income is taxable on my U.S. return?
If you are a U.S. citizen or resident, you are required to report your worldwide income on your tax return. This means that you must not only report income you receive from U.S. sources, but you must also report income you receive from foreign sources.
2. Where do I report the foreign income on my return?
Generally, you report your foreign income where you normally report your U.S. income on your tax return. Earned income (wages) is reported on line 7 of Form 1040; interest and dividend income is reported on Schedule B; income from rental properties is reported on Schedule E, etc.
Since it is likely your foreign source income will be taxed by both the U.S. and a foreign country, there is a Foreign Tax Credit. The foreign tax credit helps to ensure that you are only taxed once on the foreign source income, but at the higher of the foreign or U.S. income tax rates on that income.
Related Article More About Taxes in the US.
If you meet certain tests related to the length and nature of your stay in a foreign country, you may qualify for foreign earned income exclusion. This allows you to exclude some of your foreign earned income from your tax return. You may also be able to exclude or deduct some of your reimbursed housing costs. You cannot exclude or deduct more than your foreign earned income for the year. For 2014, the maximum foreign earned income exclusion is $99,200. If you're looking for a foreign earned income exclusion calculator, you can refer to the IRS website.
There has been a requirement for many years to report foreign income, referred to as FBAR (foreign bank and financial accounts report). You must report any foreign financial assets or accounts that meet certain thresholds. Generally, a report on foreign accounts is required if you hold in the aggregate more than $10,000.
The following types of financial accounts are reportable, meaning you must report these on your U.S. tax return.
This is a relatively new form filed with your Form 1040 and is used to report specified foreign financial assets. The reporting threshold for FATCA depends on filing status and whether the taxpayer is living within the U.S. or abroad.
Unmarried taxpayers living in the U.S.: The total value of specified foreign financial assets is more than $50,000 on the last day of the tax year or more than $75,000 at any time during the tax year.
Married taxpayers filing a joint income tax return and living in the U.S.: The total value of specified foreign financial assets is more than $100,000 on the last day of the tax year or more than $150,000 at any time during the tax year.
You are filing a return other than a joint return and the total value of your specified foreign assets is more than $200,000 on the last day of the tax year or more than $300,000 at any time during the year.
You are filing a joint return and the value of your specified foreign asset is more than $400,000 on the last day of the tax year or more than $600,000 at any time during the year.
You must report interest earned on a foreign bank account as part of your worldwide income if you are one of these:
Report this interest with domestic interest income on Form 1040. You'll also file Schedule B if you had one of these for a financial account in a foreign country:
This applies even if you had less than $1,500 or more of total interest and/or dividends for the year. Convert the foreign currency into U.S. dollars at the current exchange rate when you receive the income. If there's more than one exchange rate, use the rate that most properly reflects the income.
The income might be taxable to both the United States and the foreign country. If so, you can claim a foreign tax credit on taxes paid to the other country.
Usually only U.S. citizens and resident aliens must include this income on their return. However, if you're identified as a U.S. person, you have to report foreign bank accounts to the IRS. This is true as long as both of these apply:
A U.S. person is any of these:
If these tests apply to you, you meet the reporting conditions when you do both of these:
You will face serious consequences if the IRS finds you have unreported income or undisclosed foreign financial accounts. These consequences may include, but are not limited to, additional taxes, substantial penalties, interest, fines, and even imprisonment.
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