As a new year starts, I always find myself worrying already about how to do my US taxes properly. However, I find myself a little irked when I read things like the following quote from the Expats Guide to US Taxes:
I’m so excited by these “large tax savings”. I do not live in the US, maintain a residence there or benefit from anything my US taxes pay for, but I can be excited that I am “saving” on what I have to pay in addition to my Swiss taxes. My US taxes don’t take into consideration the cost of living in Switzerland, but hey… I’m saving!
I can also console myself in the fact that I am “doing my American duty.” Because labeling it a “duty to my birth country” makes me feel better about being taxed twice, sometimes on the same money because the US doesn’t recognize certain tax laws here.
The reality is more that I am terrified what kind of charges the IRS could impose if I accidentally make a mistake on my taxes or on my FBAR or FATCA filing requirements. So I try my hardest to fill out everything correctly on time, but I do it because I am fearful of the wrath of the IRS. Not because it makes me feel “more American” over here in Switzerland.
Expats Guide to US Taxes may be a little outdated and it is not from the IRS, but it does have some good information. It’s just hard to gloss over little gems like the one above that try to make me feel better about being taxed abroad.