A Tax Story That Could Save You Thousands of Dollars

Are daydreams of finding a new life abroad appearing on your horizon?

Do you know what steps you need to take that will ensure you’re tax-compliant—or that could even save you thousands of dollars in taxes?

With the right steps, here’s what can happen for you:

Barbara came to us the year before she moved abroad. She was a thoughtful, quiet woman in her early 50s who was experiencing just a little trepidation. She had just been through a difficult divorce after being married for over 20 years and felt like she needed a little extra guidance as she followed the course of change into her dreams.

“I know where I want to move,” she said with confidence, “but I haven’t moved in 15 years—and have never lived abroad. Can you help me?”

When we met, Barbara was organized. She provided her planning notes: she had an initial budget, a timeline of travel, and some thoughts about earning income teaching or as a tour guide. But as organized as she was, we were able to show her areas where she could save herself precious money when it came to her taxes.

We restructured her travel timeline to allow her to qualify for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE), which would exclude ALL her earned income abroad from U.S. taxation.

We showed her how to deduct foreign housing expenses on her U.S. tax return.

We explained her IRS reporting responsibilities regarding her online art business and foreign financial assets, avoiding unnecessary $10,000 IRS penalties.

These were all new concepts for Barbara. She was glad to save money on taxes and have a strong financial plan. Moreover, while her initial plans have changed several times along the way, she has successfully lived abroad for over three years. Today, she has lived in three different countries and worked at four (very different) jobs. By making informed decisions about her tax and financial future, she has been able to steadily move ahead with her dreams—even if they change.

It’s something anyone can do—whether you’re planning on working overseas or retiring completely—as long as they have the right tax guidance.

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