An American in Scotland

Monday, February 05, 2007

Death and Taxes

I came across an interesting thing a couple of days ago - actually, I'm furious about it, but I'm pretending to be nonchalant in the hopes that I'll eventually QUIT being furious...The U.S. is the only country in the world that requires its citizens to fill out a yearly tax return, even if they haven't lived or set foot there for years.

The U.K. forgets about you from a tax standpoint after about six months of living in another country (according to Gareth, who had found this out when he moved to California), which is why it never dawned on me that the U.S. would be any different, Land of the Free and all that. But apparently the I.R.S. NEVER forgets about you and expects you to tell them how much you're earning and what you're getting taxed, in case you happen to be paying less taxes than in the U.S. In which case, they'll expect you to pay them instead.

So I'm now at least two years behind on this and wondering what to do about it. I could: a) contact a CPA in the U.S. and get it sorted out or b) make sure I never go back there to live again (it seems as though the IRS waits like a tiger in the long grass until you return - then they pounce) or c) when the inevitable time comes and I DO have to return, which always happens after you swear you're not going to, go through the painful (and no doubt expensive) process of setting several years of back tax returns straight.

And there's also another little bump that I was unaware of pertaining to form TD F 90-22.1, which is an annual form that reports the money over $10,000 that you have in a foreign account. I believe I'm okay on this, but what a pain in the ass.


Anonymous Ellie said...

Hiya, have just seen your blogs, great idea! I am from Florida and have been living in Scotland now for 5 years in total.
I had no idea about the tax thing. How did you find out? I have never heard a thing about it

12:09 pm  
Blogger Sabrynne said...

Hi Ellie,

Start by searching on Google. If you have any specific financial q's, I specialize doing finances (I'm a financial advisor) for ex-pats since I know about how the US does things and can talk about both countries. Email me at


12:37 pm  
Anonymous Cindy said...

Wow I was shocked to read this. If the US can soak you dry I guess they will even if your in a new country. Hope everything gets sorted out for you.


6:18 pm  
Anonymous Flats4Fun said...

Im an Spanish living in Canada, and its very simillar, taxes and all stuff. Our currency is better, but they pay for everything!!! Cheers!

6:10 pm  

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