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BANGKOK 19 January 2019 06:46
Jingthing

U.S. embassy income letter redux -- officializing social security benefits documents

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Even if the US embassy could be persuaded to certify Social Security statements and if TI would accept that as proof, the average Social Security payment is under $1600.00 which is well below the $2100. that would meet the 65000 baht requirement.  However, since it would be an "Embassy Letter", it might work as the income part of the combination method.
The Thai Embassy in Washington DC does accept Social Security statements without certification.  Who knows if US embassies and consulates would certify such statements?
OA visa application process is not the same thing as retirement extensions in Thailand. I don't think information about OAs is really relevant to this topic. For example for an OA you can show money in the US rather than Thailand. Extensions money must be in Thailand.

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Do they sell som tam on the streets in Mexico?
 
No but you can get chili fried grasshoppers in Oaxaca and worm tacos in some other regions. Mexican food in Mexico is some of the best food in the world but alas back to this income letter redux issue.

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11 hours ago, Jingthing said:

Absolutely don't expect the US embassy to come through for us. At this point it's obvious their position is that they have already completely washed their hands of the matter of issuing income letters.
 

Totally agree.  Elvis has left the building. 

 

All the US Embassy's talk about explaining (teaching) HQ Thai Immigration and some individual offices about the different forms of documentation US folks generally have to prove income such as social security pension, military retirement, VA retirement, civil service retirement, annuity statement, and other income documents was a futile attempt to justify their decision to stop issuing income letters. 

 

I expect Thai Immigration folks listened politely and asked some questions as the US Embassy gave their dog-and-pony briefing about various income docs, but Thai Immigration was really thinking "too hard, too many possible docs in all kinds of formats, too easy to fake, will be arguing with applicants all the time....Nope, I'm going to keep it simple and only accept Thai bank documents reflecting foreign inflow of funds monthly...use the KISS principle."  

Edited by Pib
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3 hours ago, Pib said:

expect Thai Immigration folks listened politely and asked some questions as the US Embassy gave their dog-and-pony briefing about various income docs, but Thai Immigration was really thinking "too hard, too many possible docs in all kinds of formats, too easy to fake, will be arguing with applicants all the time....Nope, I'm going to keep it simple and only accept Thai bank documents reflecting foreign inflow of funds monthly...use the KISS principle." 

Thanks for your detailed explanations on Transferwise and other things related to banking and technology issues. Much appreciated.

 

 

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On 1/11/2019 at 1:34 PM, Moonfire said:

Passport number tied to social security number tied to your last years' tax return statement. Would think you could automate this.

 

Set an appointment where you enter your passport number and your request.

It would do an auto search of the database, pull the final income number and add that to a prefilled out form.

 

Show up to the Embassy, show passport and social security number, the staff prints the form, you swear to the document and it is done.

 

Your tax returns are used for credit, home and auto purchases. The government holds the key document which is your social security number and the amount declared on your tax return. 

 

But that would be thinking something simple and efficent could be done by a government to help their citizens. 

 

 

Most US retirees aren't required to file income tax so therefore receive no tax return

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1 hour ago, carken said:

Most US retirees aren't required to file income tax so therefore receive no tax return

I don’t believe that statement is true. Most military retirees earn enough from a combination of SS, DFAS and other income to compel them to file annual federal income tax returns. All US military retirees contributed to SSA for their entire term of service and as such are entitled to receive at least those two pension streams. 

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On 1/11/2019 at 10:26 AM, Moonlover said:

It really is very obvious, and has been from the start, that what Thai Imm wants to see is money in a Thai bank account, Either 800/400k annually or the requisite monthly incomes as specified.

 

If you can satisfy that requirement, then there is no point in chasing after embassy based solutions. And if you can't meet the requirements then, well you know the answer to that one!

 

Ok mock me if you will, but IMO it's time you all put the old ways behind you and got on with preparing for the future. I started doing that back in October when this first kicked off and I'm now fully geared up to face the next income based extension in August. The one that all the 'gloom and doom brigade' said would never happen.

 

ML

A serious question. Is there a difference in using the ATM machine to withdraw funds from a foreign (US) bank account and having the funds IN a Thai bank account? Since my bank provides a detailed statement showing that the funds were withdrawn at a specific Thai ATM location and my monthly statements show the source of my funds, I have to assume that your post is likely the most accurate speculation...about having funds/adequate amount IN a Thai bank account. So the bank account somehow figures into this new police order?

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On 1/12/2019 at 6:23 PM, carken said:

Most US retirees aren't required to file income tax so therefore receive no tax return

I expect "most" US retirees do need to file an income "unless their annual income is less that approx $12,000 for 2018."   

 

But this trigger levels varies depending on various factors like  the person filing status (single, married, etc), type of income, etc.,  which determines his standard deduction.   

 

And if a US retiree is living in Thailand on $12,000 total income to his name and been using the embassy income letter to get his annual retirement extension of stay, then he's been disingenuous in affirming to the letter. 

 

Like below quote from TurboTax talking $12K for a person filing as a single.  $12K is not a lot...an average of $1,000 per month....I expect most social security pensions exceed that.   But all of a social security pension is not taxable so his income could still be more than $12K per year to avoid filing....probably up to around $16-20K per year.     

 

Like I said a person whether a person needs to file or not is based on several factors.   It's best to use the IRS webpage where a person can check their specific situation as to whether they need to file an income tax return as factors other than just the standard deduction amount can determine tax return filing need.  Several IRS webpages below help in determining.

 

https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tips/irs-tax-return/does-everyone-need-to-file-an-income-tax-return/L7pluHkoW

Quote

 

For 2018 all taxpayers are eligible to claim a standard deduction, and if not the dependent of another taxpayer. The standard tax deduction amounts are fixed by the government before the tax filing season and generally increase for inflation each year.

Your income that is equal to or less than the standard deduction is not taxable, the IRS doesn't require you to file a return in years your income doesn't exceed that sum. When determining whether you need to file a return, you don't include tax-exempt income. In 2018 for example, if you are under age 65 and single, you must file a tax return if you earn $12,000 or more, which is the 2018 standard deduction for a single taxpayer.

 

 

Do I Need to File a Federal Tax Return?....a couple of key IRS webpages to help a person determine the answer

 

https://www.irs.gov/help/ita/do-i-need-to-file-a-tax-return

 

https://www.irs.com/articles/who-has-file-federal-income-tax-return

 

 

 

 

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26 minutes ago, pizzachang said:

A serious question. Is there a difference in using the ATM machine to withdraw funds from a foreign (US) bank account and having the funds IN a Thai bank account? Since my bank provides a detailed statement showing that the funds were withdrawn at a specific Thai ATM location and my monthly statements show the source of my funds, I have to assume that your post is likely the most accurate speculation...about having funds/adequate amount IN a Thai bank account. So the bank account somehow figures into this new police order?

Same here...it’s how we’ve funded our 15 years of living here, in addition to credit card charges...all of which can readily be printed out from our USA bank’s website. But it seems unlikely these printouts will be accepted by TI.  In a stretch of one’s imagination, such printouts could be faked by someone proficient with a PC.  It’s not too easy to forge a Thai bank record with its official stamp.

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11 minutes ago, Pib said:

But all of a social security pension is not taxable so his income could still be more than $12K per year to avoid filing....probably up to around $16-20K per year.     

 

Not necessarily so....SSA benefits are taxable at an 85% rate if ones total income rises above a certain level.  In other words, 15% of one’s benefits are not subject to taxation, but the remainder is added to other income for each fact year and the taxpayer’s total tax liability is calculated on his or her total adjusted gross income.  

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4 minutes ago, Fore Man said:

Not necessarily so....SSA benefits are taxable at an 85% rate if ones total income rises above a certain level.  In other words, 15% of one’s benefits are not subject to taxation, but the remainder is added to other income for each fact year and the taxpayer’s total tax liability is calculated on his or her total adjusted gross income.

Correct- if one works and draws social security- it can be taxed as high as 85% of total.  There is a formula one should run in the IRS 1040 Instruction packet.   Such things as military disability, Veterans Disability and private disability are tax free and do not have to be declared.  For married couples in this years filing (2018) one's standard deduction is $24,000/ 

Things like private pensions are considered taxable income.

 

Even if one has no taxes to pay -one still has to file if they are getting any taxable income.

 

The tax code is somewhat complicated (runs 75,000 pages) but I have always filed my own taxes.  When in doubt go to the IRS 1040 Instructions and it should tell one how to handle their situation.  There is also a special phone number for overseas tax filers-  1-267-941-1000  (6AM-10 PM  Eastern Time) Best time is right when they open...

 

Remember if legally married - you have to have a Tax ID number to file as  Married- Joint.  Google IRS Tax ID  and it will walk you through the paperwork and steps.

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3 minutes ago, Thaidream said:

Correct- if one works and draws social security- it can be taxed as high as 85% of total.  There is a formula one should run in the IRS 1040 Instruction packet.   Such things as military disability, Veterans Disability and private disability are tax free and do not have to be declared.  For married couples in this years filing (2018) one's standard deduction is $24,000/ 

Things like private pensions are considered taxable income.

 

Even if one has no taxes to pay -one still has to file if they are getting any taxable income.

 

The tax code is somewhat complicated (runs 75,000 pages) but I have always filed my own taxes.  When in doubt go to the IRS 1040 Instructions and it should tell one how to handle their situation.  There is also a special phone number for overseas tax filers-  1-267-941-1000  (6AM-10 PM  Eastern Time) Best time is right when they open...

 

Remember if legally married - you have to have a Tax ID number to file as  Married- Joint.  Google IRS Tax ID  and it will walk you through the paperwork and steps.

You’ve offered a very good post, but I’d like to clarify that I am fully retired and have been for several years, but I do draw multiple income streams derived from taxable private and federal pensions, including SSA and DFAS military retirement pensions.  My annual SSA income is still taxed at the 85% rate. 

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15 minutes ago, Fore Man said:

You’ve offered a very good post, but I’d like to clarify that I am fully retired and have been for several years, but I do draw multiple income streams derived from taxable private and federal pensions, including SSA and DFAS military retirement pensions.  My annual SSA income is still taxed at the 85% rate. 

Yes- when you add it all up- if it is over a certain threshold-SS does become taxable- 85% max).  However, if any of your pensions or payments are from Disability- claimed as a result of being service connect- you don't have to declare it or pay on taxes on that portion.

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3 hours ago, pizzachang said:

A serious question. Is there a difference in using the ATM machine to withdraw funds from a foreign (US) bank account and having the funds IN a Thai bank account?

As far as qualifying for a retirement ext yes, your method will not!

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9 minutes ago, jacko45k said:

As far as qualifying for a retirement ext yes, your method will not!

Yes, it seems to be the requirement that British, American, Australian and Danish expats will have to show funds [income method or bank account method] in a Thai bank account.

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