American Expats Miss ThingsThings Americans miss most
One -  Mexican Food

The only country on earth that can do Mexican food as well as the US, is... Mexico. And the further away you go, the worse it gets, if you can find it at all. Say goodbye to those huge, delicious burritos, endless tortilla chips, and fresh, fragrant salsas: the nearest things you are likely to find will be pale impersonations. Unlike the Chinese, who opened restaurants in almost every corner of the globe, Mexicans haven't roamed far enough and in sufficient numbers to have introduced their delicious cuisine to the wider world. As an American expat, there are times when your only option is to track down the ingredients and make it yourself.

IRS Acronyms

Know your GAAPs from your FATCAs with our handy guide to some of the more commonly spotted IRS acronyms.

IRS - Internal Revenue Service. You probably knew that one, but you probably didn't know that the name was first used in 1918. It was previously known as the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and was established by Lincoln in 1862 to levy an income tax to help pay for the Civil War. This first income tax was 3%, or 5% if you earned over $10,000. Those were the days. Previously, the only federal taxes were on trade and property.

American Expats AbroadKristen Evelyn Rossi, Bangkok

American expats can live incredible lives, and often have incredible stories to tell. Kristen Evelyn Rossi is a jazz singer on a mission to spread the Golden Age of Broadway / Jazz throughout Asia. The following is an excerpt from 'Falling in Love at the Metropole Hanoi' in Global Living Magazine.

Born on Long Island, New York, Kristen Rossi is currently living the American expat life in Bangkok, Thailand, where she is an active member of the performing arts scene. She has appeared in numerous stage performances, in Thai and international films, on television and commercial sets and even behind the doors of many voice-over studios. On March 31st, she concluded a four-month stint as the jazz 'diva' at the landmark Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi ...

US tax filingDo you need to file US taxes?

If you are a US citizen, or you have a Green Card, and you earned more than about $10 thousand in the last tax year, then the answer is yes, you do need to file a US Federal Income Tax Return. You may also have to file a State Return, depending on which State you last lived in.

For your Federal Return, you need to file the same 1040 form as usual, as well as 2 more forms, the 2555 and the 1116, which are just for expats ...

American Expats American Expats Embrace Living!
Broadening our horizons

Whatever stage of life we are at when we decide to move from the United States, however well-traveled we are, and whatever our reasons for going, the experience is going to broaden our horizons. Seeing new places, experiencing another culture, and adapting to different surroundings and ways of doing things gives us a new sense of perspective on the world, our friends and family back in the States, and ourselves. 

FATCA and FBARUS Expats - Don't be scared. Be aware.
Recently the FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report) and FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) filing requirements have generated quite a bit of controversy, as they pertain to the recent IRS crackdown on financial assets in overseas accounts. FATCA in particular has caused some uproar since going into effect in March 2010, as foreign financial institutions now have to report on American clients' accounts, causing some banks to turn away new US citizen clients or closing accounts currently held by US Citizens, to avoid the high cost of compliance.

year end us expat taxCheck these kickin' year end tax strategies!
The end of the year is the perfect time to align your US expat tax strategies.

It's that time again, as we close out another year, to review some end of the year tax hacks that can still be used to save you money. As you may already know, many of the tax strategies you employ must be done in the same tax year as they will be claimed. That is exactly why, with some of these strategies, you must act quickly to receive the benefit. And remember, you should always consult your Bright!Tax CPA or financial expert before making these decisions. But this list gives you a good place to start ...

FATCA letter from foreign bankLike it or not, FATCA is here to stay
Robert Wood  -  If you have a bank account anywhere outside the US, starting in 2015, chances are you will receive a letter saying that your bank must hand over the details of any American accounts, including yours. The letters vary with the country and with individual institutions. But the overall message is that the IRS is about to get your information.

As unnerving as this message is, FATCA is here, and ignoring your offshore accounts isn’t wise. You might well think that your accounts are not big enough to be noticed. But that is a dangerous game of chance and isn’t worth the risk. And indeed, for most people, the cure isn’t likely to be terribly painful.

American Taxpayers Living Abroad

“FATCA was created in part because of the fear of the United States government that the globalization of finance would give far more people the opportunity to hide their money. It was becoming very clear that it wasn't going to be just the very wealthy, but that it could really be the middle class and upper-middle class that could start moving income offshore.”  Richard Harvey, Villanova Tax Law Professor, FATCA Co-author.

Greg Dewald, Bright!Tax, Expatriate Heros
Cincinnati Startup assisting 7 million US expats worldwide lifts anchor in NYC, scouts international sites for new HQ.

New York, NY -- Though it had been in the works for some time, just this summer, the US Treasury Department unleashed a regulatory tsunami upon US citizens living and working abroad, the Foreign Asset Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Uncle Sam and President Obama haven’t exactly spelled out “FATCAT”, but they’re only one letter off. And though their initial interest was to target the 1 percent with significant quiet offshore holdings, the average American expat has, unfortunately, been caught in the cross-hairs ...