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If you have foreign assets, don't forget to report them

If you live overseas but are a citizen or resident of the United States, there's a good chance that you either owe taxes or have to at least file a tax return with the Internal Revenue Service. But didn't the deadline for submitting a tax return already pass?

Actually, many of those who live abroad have a later filing date than those who are living in the U.S. This year, that date is June 16. So, what do you have to report?

Any citizen or resident of the U.S. must file a tax return reporting any income they earned for the previous year -- even if it came from a different country. This includes income from accounts and trusts in other countries. Generally, these individuals will have to fill out a Schedule B, which covers interest and ordinary dividends including foreign accounts.

If the value of your foreign assets exceeds a certain threshold, you will be required to also fill out Form 8938. The thresholds vary depending on whether you are married or single and whether you are filing jointly or separately. If you have more than $10,000 in a foreign account at any time during the tax year you are filing for, however, you will have to report it to the Treasury Department.

Although the Internal Revenue Service does little to make reporting assets easy on those who live abroad, it does offer free filing for U.S. citizens and residents who are living overseas. However, your adjusted gross income must not exceed $58,000 if you want to take advantage of free filing.

As you may be able to tell, filing your taxes is not exactly a simple process if you live in another country. It is important to remember, however, that you do not have to tackle your taxes on your own. A tax law attorney can help you work through your foreign assets and income to make sure you file accurately and avoid any criminal accusations from the IRS.

Source: IRS, "IRS Reminds Those with Foreign Assets of U.S. Tax Obligations," April 11, 2014

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