H&R Block Offers Remote Tax Prep for Expatriates

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H&R Block has introduced a remote service for U.S. citizens living abroad that will help them meet their often confusing tax-filing obligations.

The Kansas City, Mo.-based tax prep giant estimates that there are more than 6 million expatriates, and that many of them will need help to meet the June 17 filing deadline (see IRS Warns Taxpayers with Foreign Assets of Filing Obligations).

Expatriates can have their U.S. tax returns completed by H&R Block tax experts in an H&R Block office in more than 14 countries and U.S. territories. In addition, they can work with a tax professional, using the company’s remote service, which includes a customized interview and secure connections.

Block has also launched a microsite for expats that aims to answer many of their questions and describe the filing obligations of those with dual citizenship and who are working or retired abroad.

“Taxes can be confusing enough,” said Kathy Pickering, executive director of The Tax Institute at H&R Block in a statement. “Throw in the additional complexity of residing or working abroad and the simplest of tax situations can become more complicated. Whether the taxpayer has dual citizenship, works abroad or has retired to a tropical island paradise, H&R Block and its new microsite are here to help in-person and online.”

U.S. citizens who meet the minimum income requirement—$19,500 for married filing jointly and $9,750 for single filers—are required to file a federal tax return regardless of where they live, even if all of their income was earned in a foreign country, Block noted. Some taxpayers working abroad may be able to exclude some foreign income and claim a credit for foreign taxes paid on their U.S. tax return, which could offset any taxes owed to the United States.

Many expatriates also may have foreign bank or retirement accounts. The IRS recently announced it is working closely with United Kingdom and Australian officials to identify accounts held by Americans who may have a reporting requirement. The foreign bank account reporting form must be submitted to the Department of Treasury by June 30, but the information also may need to be included with the tax return on Form 8938, which is due earlier in the month.

Taxpayers working abroad who are not able to file an accurate return by June 17 can submit a tax filing extension to make their filing deadline Oct. 15. While penalties are not assessed, interest accrues on any balance due from the April 15 filing deadline.

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