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Americans must fly home every year to do tax return or can it done by post/consulate?

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The (Thai/US) wife of an American friend of mine who has sadly passed away says she needs to go back to the US every year for her tax return. Is this correct? Surely there is a more convenient way?

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Yes mail or online.

However there could be issues.

At least it used to be not all the online companies accepted foreign addresses. 

I use taxact.com which does so not sure about current policies for others.

Also in the case of taxact if you need do a fee return you need to pay by credit card. 

You also need access to your last year's return or user generated IRS password to sign online. 

They will show messages acting like you need a US state ID but actually you can file without it. 

Perhaps that person thinks that you need to file with a US address. You do not. 

 

Also not everyone needs to file at all! Low income people often don't. Check IRS online for details. They don't even want people to file that aren't required to. 

 

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I have used TurboTax for years...including filing US income taxes from Thailand.  

 

The most difficult part for me is gathering all the records.  It helps if there is someone on the states that can copy and forward docs you may can not get yourself...👍

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Yes, even the IRS has moved into 21 st century. Don't forget to efile your FBAR report as well.

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12 hours ago, Sheryl said:

I use the IRS's own efile system. Free and works fine and no problem to have a foreign address.

 

May be hard for her to do herself but for a US citizen familiar with taxes, easy. You could do it for her in minutes most likely.

freefilefillableforms.com

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15 hours ago, nglodnig said:

The (Thai/US) wife of an American friend of mine who has sadly passed away says she needs to go back to the US every year for her tax return. Is this correct? Surely there is a more convenient way?

She may mean she has to go back and collect some records and papers and mailings, although most things are available online.  W-2s, 1099s for dividends, interest, gambling winnings, Rental receipts, property records, taxes paid records form state offices, etc.  Maybe she/he used an accountant and she needs to round up stuff and deliver to him.  An authorized preparer could sign her return if they have power of attorney.

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14 hours ago, Puchaiyank said:

I have used TurboTax for years...including filing US income taxes from Thailand.  

 

The most difficult part for me is gathering all the records.  It helps if there is someone on the states that can copy and forward docs you may can not get yourself...👍

Yes, the only hassle is if you retain a US address (your own or a friend's) for mailings and then your 1099's or whatever are mailed there....as you need that stuff to file the return, use Turbotax, or whatever.  If somebody who gets mail for you in the US can scan or photograph the stuff and email it to you, that usually works out well.  But, for almost everything (US bank records, social security receipts, etc.), you can go online and get the information you need for the 1040 form. 

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Definitely Turbotax -- easy to use and file online (state taxes too), and it remembers all your information from year to year. You can download much financial information from investment firms/brokerages directly into the program, but having a US address where somebody stateside can collect mail and forward it to you is tremendously useful. But if you know exactly what documents you'll need beforehand, you can plan ahead for it. Failing that, I seem to recall that there were at least a few accountants in Bangkok who were licensed to do US tax filings -- H&R Block may even have a representative or office. I would be surprised if the US embassy didn't have information about such accountants they deemed reliable.

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