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What is the best tax software for American expats filing taxes online?


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Turbo Tax, TaxAct, free Fed tax file all sounds good. Looking for tax software that does all the forms including FATCA, etc. I'm not qualified for free versions and have to pay.  Moved out of high tax state to no income tax state. My taxes are straight forward with pension, 1099, INT. 

 

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Freetaxusa.com   Been using it for over 5 years.  Carries over your information from year to year, so you just fill in the relevant info for each new year.  Auto deposit to my account in the USA.   Not a complicated return:  Social security, pension, interest/dividends.

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7 hours ago, kokesaat said:

Freetaxusa.com   Been using it for over 5 years.  Carries over your information from year to year, so you just fill in the relevant info for each new year.  Auto deposit to my account in the USA.   Not a complicated return:  Social security, pension, interest/dividends.

 

Does FreeTaxUSA offer free returns if using a foreign address?

 

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Has anyone filed for free using Turbo Tax this year using a Thailand address?  On the IRS website it states that that within certain income limits Turbo is free for foreign addresses but after inputing my address I saw this message:

 

Quote

Free products like TurboTax Free Edition and TurboTax Easy Extension require a U.S. or APO/FPO/DPO address upon registration.

 

I have not reached the stage where I file and payment is requested though.

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4 minutes ago, shortstop said:

 

I'm OK with filling out the forms.  I assume that it creates a PDF which you send electronically?

Yes, you file electronically

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2 minutes ago, doontp said:

FYI......

I calculated my taxes using 3 different online provides.  H&R Block, Turbo Tax and I chose one of those IRS freebies.

 

H&R and Turbo calculated the same exact tax refund amount.  The freebie calculated a tax refund that came out to about $400 less.

 

I chose to pay H&R $60.

 

I though I'd share.......you be the judge.

"one of those IRS freebies" is different from the free fillable forms. they are private companies and something of a rip off.

 

Free fillable forms does nto make any decisions for you, just greatly simplifies the filing process.

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5 minutes ago, Sheryl said:

"one of those IRS freebies" is different from the free fillable forms. they are private companies and something of a rip off.

 

Free fillable forms does nto make any decisions for you, just greatly simplifies the filing process.

No one is making a decision for us, free or not.  Calculations are simply made based on the info we supply.

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9 hours ago, gt162 said:

Turbo Tax, TaxAct, free Fed tax file all sounds good. Looking for tax software that does all the forms including FATCA, etc. I'm not qualified for free versions and have to pay.  Moved out of high tax state to no income tax state. My taxes are straight forward with pension, 1099, INT. 

 

I too do not qualify for the free eFiling.  I have used Turbo Tax for several years. I do not meet the threshold for FATCA (US$200,000 in financial assets as I file single and reside full time in Thailand), but Turbo Tax does ask for information re FATCA thresholds. Since the FATCA requires a specific form be filed with the tax return (IRS 1040), if you meet the threshold, their system will most likely require the necessary information and include the required form. 

 

They also ask for the FBAR thresholds. If you do meet the threshold (a total of US$10,000 in foreign bank accounts any time during the year), TurboTax will give information for reporting (the FBAR report is done online with report going to FINCEN, not the IRS).  

 

Give it a try, if it doesn't do what you want, then you can choose not to continue - they only charge when you are ready to file.  Once you pay, you have the option to eFile through TurboTax or to get a copy (print out) of the completed forms so you can send by mail.

Edited by soisanuk
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Just now, soisanuk said:

I too do not qualify for the free eFiling.  I have used Turbo Tax for several years. Since I do not meet the threshold for FATCA (US$200,000 in financial assets as I file single and reside full time in Thailand), but Turbo Tax does ask for information re FATCA thresholds. Since the FATCA requires a specific form be filed with the tax return (IRS 1040), if you meet the threshold, their system will most likely require the necessary information and include the required form. 

 

They also ask for the FBAR thresholds. If you do meet the threshold (a total of US$10,000 in foreign bank accounts any time during the year), TurboTax will giver information for reporting (the FBAR report is done online with report going to FINCEN, not the IRS).  

 

Give it a try, if it doesn't do what you want, then you can choose not to continue - they only charge when you are ready to file.  Once you pay, you have the option to eFile through TurboTax or to get a copy (print out) of the completed forms so you can send by mail.

All of them are free to fill out.  The fee is for electronic submission.

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22 hours ago, gt162 said:

Time to file taxes again. What tax software is the best for American tax filers living in Thailand?

 

I use TaxSlayer. I tried a couple of others (forgot which ones) back in 2018, but I had trouble connecting from Thailand.  TaxSlayer was always connectable and easy to use.

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I have been using Taxes for Expats, an online company specializing in Americans overseas, for the past 6 years. They are a bit expensive at $350-450, but my finances have been complicated with income from multiple countries, significant capital gains and dividend income, carry-over losses, etc.

 

For "fun", I've plugged the same data into TurboTax. Until this year, TurboTax always calculated a tax liability that was a few hundred dollars higher. So even though a professional tax preparer was more expensive, it was cheaper since I saved on my taxes. This year TurboTax calculated the exact same tax liability as my professional preparer which makes me think it's getting better with complicated returns. I also tried the free fileyourtaxes.com it it came up with a different/higher tax liability. 

 

Since you don't pay for software until you file, and plugging the data into the sites is pretty easy (e.g., TurboTax "reads" 1099 pdf's when you upload them), I'd try a couple of different software packages. If they come up with the same result, use the cheapest one.

 

 

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23 hours ago, lopburi3 said:

How long is a string?

If just normal return OLT seemed to work well for me and was free.  Had been using TaxAct for several decades but could not log on this year (believe they corrected now).  Paid for TurboTax which most like but found software a bit childish and they could not upload to their servers when complete or provide a reason why so used OLT (they now indicate needed agi from previous year).  

yes I also used Tax Act for over ten years, this year could not log into my account because I didn't have a US phone number to get there code for log in. Talked on the phone with a rep for almost an hour, he assured me that by using a phone number they he gave me it would then send the code to my email account. Didn't work, so I found one called Tax slayer for $17.95 worked fine, no phone number required. Not as user friendly as Tax Act but worked fine for me, got my refund last week. Tax Act did fix the issue but not until after I was done with my taxes.

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13 hours ago, gt162 said:

Turbo Tax, TaxAct, free Fed tax file all sounds good. Looking for tax software that does all the forms including FATCA, etc. I'm not qualified for free versions and have to pay.  Moved out of high tax state to no income tax state. My taxes are straight forward with pension, 1099, INT. 

 

TurboTax will accommodate your FACTA needs.  However, assuming you have more than $10k total in total on deposit at any number of bank or stock accounts you’ll need to file FBAR reports.  You can file FBAR reports yourself, online.  It’s easy.  I do mine every year.  Feel free to pm me if you want to discuss.

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Depends. I have filed my paper form in previous years but the recommendation this year, in order to get my $600 2nd Covid Check was to file via e-file. I used the free TurboTax filing. Supposed to get back $414.00 after tax owed is deduced from the $600.00 credit. Ah, yes, ... glitch ... I needed to know my 2019 AGI ... IRS says I stated the wrong figure. Problem getting 2019 transcript of my return due to address/phone number.  Sooo ... mailed the 2020 Tax Return. After 8 days ... says it is still in Bangkok. Hmmm ...

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13 hours ago, soisanuk said:

I too do not qualify for the free eFiling.  I have used Turbo Tax for several years. I do not meet the threshold for FATCA (US$200,000 in financial assets as I file single and reside full time in Thailand), but Turbo Tax does ask for information re FATCA thresholds. Since the FATCA requires a specific form be filed with the tax return (IRS 1040), if you meet the threshold, their system will most likely require the necessary information and include the required form. 

 

They also ask for the FBAR thresholds. If you do meet the threshold (a total of US$10,000 in foreign bank accounts any time during the year), TurboTax will give information for reporting (the FBAR report is done online with report going to FINCEN, not the IRS).  

 

Give it a try, if it doesn't do what you want, then you can choose not to continue - they only charge when you are ready to file.  Once you pay, you have the option to eFile through TurboTax or to get a copy (print out) of the completed forms so you can send by mail.

 

Thanks, do you use Thailand address or US mail forwarding address? Or it doesn't matter?

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13 hours ago, Sheryl said:

"one of those IRS freebies" is different from the free fillable forms. they are private companies and something of a rip off.

 

Free fillable forms does nto make any decisions for you, just greatly simplifies the filing process.

 

I read while back that tax financial software companies like Turbo Tax(Intuit) lobbied heavily not to give free  tax software to general public since it will bankrupt their business. Government and financial software companies compromised to given free versions for low income and/or limited income  with rules and tricks software companies use to lure unsuspecting tax filers to pay if wrong option is picked.

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I use TurboTax and it has been fine. I do not do it online, I buy the software package (this year from Amazon). First year a lot of data to enter, subsequent years, plug & chug...

 

I can save several several scenarios before settling on one.

 

If you no longer reside in a high tax state, I would recommend continuing to file in that state as a non resident at least for a few years, particularly if you have a bank or brokerage account with a US mailing address. 

 

California is relentless...

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On 3/1/2021 at 2:14 AM, gt162 said:

 

Thanks, do you use Thailand address or US mail forwarding address? Or it doesn't matter?

I have a residence address in USA, which I use for filing.  I also have a USA bank account and my refund is direct deposited to that account -- one year some time ago, instead of a refund, I had to pay a bit more. Although I filed in February that year, IRS waited until April 15 before taking from my account.  I usually eFile through TurboTax in February and have my refund deposited within two weeks of filing. 

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I file using my Thai address as a residence, and use my US bank account for refunds. 

 

If you do not have to pay any taxes, it's easier just to file using a US address. 

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I've always used my Thai address as part of a strategy to divorce myself taxwise from my last U.S  state. When I started the only online service that I found that accepted foreign addresses was taxact. So I stuck with taxact as it works well enough for me. 

 

I assume there are others now that do accept foreign addresses.

 

Perhaps people may want to mention ones that they are using that do accept their foreign address.

 

Obviously they all accept U.S. addresses. 

Edited by Jingthing
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5 minutes ago, Jingthing said:

I've always used my Thai address as part of a strategy to divorce myself taxwise from my last U.S  state. When I started the only online service that I found that accepted foreign addresses was taxact. So I stuck with taxact as it works well enough for me. 

 

I assume there are others now that do accept foreign addresses.

 

Perhaps people may want to mention ones that they are using that do accept their foreign address.

 

Obviously they all accept U.S. addresses. 

I used Taxslayer this year with a Thailand address and a US bank account

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