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US back taxes help (2003 - 2010)

Gilbert0Gilbert0 North of SeattleRegistered User regular
edited November 2011 in Help / Advice Forum

I'm a US / Canadian dual citizen living in Canada. Since age 9, I have only visited the US once and basically ignored my American obligations. I have never worked in the US.

Apparently, the US / IRS is weird with it's tax law and even though I've never worked in the US, as a US citizen, I'm supposed to be filing US tax returns for every year I've filed Canadian ones. I do not expect to pay tax (there is a line item for income earned in a foreign country), I just need to become current with the IRS with my paperwork.

Looking online, there are services that will do this for me but will basically charge me $2,200+ to do it all for me because I go back so far. I'd rather just buy something like TurboTax for each year and do it myself ($50 x 8 years is $400, a lot less than $2200).

Can anyone recommend a US product that has versions back that far? or alternatively can anyone recommend a good US accountant/company that will deal with a Canadian by email/phone? or any other online service that will do it for say under a $1000.

Gilbert0 on

Posts

  • Liquid HellzLiquid Hellz Registered User regular
    Do you know anyone living in the US? I would say have them look up a local tax accountant (not a chain like HR block or a in a bank) and they can probably take care of it for you for a minimal fee, as long as you can provide all the necessary paperwork to make it easy for them.

    What I do for a living:
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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Honestly I'd get in touch with the IRS directly. You may be able to say "hey I never earned income in the US, and I have dual citizenship, what do I need to file?" and they'll tell you to print off a form ZYXUAW1303010 and fill it out and that catches you up.

    Bank accounts are tricky though, so be cautious of that.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • Gilbert0Gilbert0 North of SeattleRegistered User regular
    bowen wrote:
    Honestly I'd get in touch with the IRS directly. You may be able to say "hey I never earned income in the US, and I have dual citizenship, what do I need to file?" and they'll tell you to print off a form ZYXUAW1303010 and fill it out and that catches you up.

    Bank accounts are tricky though, so be cautious of that.

    I've gone through the IRS's webpages and this is what I need to file unfortunatly. I need to do all my Federal Taxes. It's simple, basically all my income goes on 1 line. It's just I need to get the set of forms for each year and do it. Simpliest way without printing each year off individually is to use something like TurboTax.

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    You're probably going to need 3rd party help of some kind as I don't think you can normally file more than 3 years back.

  • RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    edited November 2011
    bowen wrote:
    Honestly I'd get in touch with the IRS directly. You may be able to say "hey I never earned income in the US, and I have dual citizenship, what do I need to file?" and they'll tell you to print off a form ZYXUAW1303010 and fill it out and that catches you up.

    Bank accounts are tricky though, so be cautious of that.

    The US GOV is actually being a massive ho in this circumstance, basically making US citizens living abroad prove that they don't owe any tax, regardless of whether they've ever worked or even lived in (or been to) the US, and they're doing it under the threat of massive fines and even jailtime for failing to report, even if the person actually owes nothing.

    I'd recommend you get in contact with an accountant and/or Lawyer specializing in US Tax law and see if you can get a free consultation to find out what your responsibilities are in this situation.

    Ruckus on
    Raneados wrote: »
    so what SPECIFICALLY is the problem with my hole?
  • UsagiUsagi Nah Registered User regular
    Not to throw another wrench in your situation, but do you really need to keep your US citizenship?

  • RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    Usagi wrote:
    Not to throw another wrench in your situation, but do you really need to keep your US citizenship?

    Simply disowning your citizenship is, from what I've read, not a solution for the historical filings, they will still pursue you, except it should prevent the filing requirement for future years.

    Raneados wrote: »
    so what SPECIFICALLY is the problem with my hole?
  • Gilbert0Gilbert0 North of SeattleRegistered User regular
    Ruckus wrote:
    bowen wrote:
    Honestly I'd get in touch with the IRS directly. You may be able to say "hey I never earned income in the US, and I have dual citizenship, what do I need to file?" and they'll tell you to print off a form ZYXUAW1303010 and fill it out and that catches you up.

    Bank accounts are tricky though, so be cautious of that.

    The US GOV is actually being a massive ho in this circumstance, basically making US citizens living abroad prove that they don't owe any tax, regardless of whether they've ever worked or even lived in (or been to) the US, and they're doing it under the threat of massive fines and even jailtime for failing to report, even if the person actually owes nothing.

    I'd recommend you get in contact with an accountant and/or Lawyer specializing in US Tax law and see if you can get a free consultation to find out what your responsibilities are in this situation.

    Exactly, it's the IRS trying to get back any money they can. For anyone else interested, look into OVDI (Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative). The most recent one closed in Sept of this year but they guess there are close to a million Canadians alone in this same situation. I'm not unique, just trying to make it as simple as possible. One of the provicial premiers is in the same boat (think US state govenor). http://hodgen.com/new-brunswick-premier-is-in-the-ovdi/
    Ruckus wrote:
    Usagi wrote:
    Not to throw another wrench in your situation, but do you really need to keep your US citizenship?

    Simply disowning your citizenship is, from what I've read, not a solution for the historical filings, they will still pursue you, except it should prevent the filing requirement for future years.

    This is another way to go yes but you have to file paperwork to do this as well. BEFORE they approve it, you have to be up to date with you're taxes. As well, I have family in the US and now that I'm working full time I'd be looking to actually visit and see them. Last thing I want to have is problems at the border in coming, or even worse leaving (pay or we won't let you go).

  • SwashbucklerXXSwashbucklerXX Swashbucklin' Canuck Registered User regular
    Not to mention that the IRS still claims the right to make you file taxes for like ten years after you drop your citizenship. I've looked into it. :-p

    Want to find me on a gaming service? I'm SwashbucklerXX everywhere.
  • ED!ED! Registered User regular
    Just call them up and have them send you the proper forms. Yes its a pain in the ass because YOU know you owe nothing, but for whatever reason they want to know this as well. The people on the other end of the line will help you; it's not all robots in suits and box glasses.

    "Get the hell out of me" - [ex]girlfriend
  • rockmonkeyrockmonkey Registered User regular
    edited November 2011
    I would just print the forms from irs.gov and read the instructions related to your situation and that one line entry. Filling out a basic tax return, even by hand with pen and paper should be pretty easy for something like this. I would call the irs and ask them if you need to do anything different since you're filing so many years back.

    edit
    : how old are you? How many working years are you being require to file for, you mention 8 years of turbotax, so you've been receiving income for 8 years I assume. IF your gross income for a year is less than (for 2010) $9,350.00 then you're not REQUIRE to file a return. You of course CAN and a normal u.s. citizen probably should if they're expecting money back from payroll taxes taken out over the year by their employer for them. In your case if it was less than the minimum amount for each year (it will likley be lower and lower the further in years you go back) then you would not need to file. I only really mention this because you mentioned just recently moving to working full-time.

    Typical I am not a Tax attorney/irs auditor disclaimer. So read this: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p54/ch01.html#en_US_2010_publink100047340

    rockmonkey on
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  • November FifthNovember Fifth Registered User regular
    You might start by getting Turbo Tax for the current year and playing around with it. I think you may be able to find all the forms you need on there. I know you can file amended returns for previous years without purchasing the software for each year,

  • tyrannustyrannus Registered User regular
  • Gilbert0Gilbert0 North of SeattleRegistered User regular
    @rockmonkey - While I'm only in the last couple years full-time, before that I was working part-time so I could go to University. I did make over the basic personal amount, it just didn't stay with me long as it went to tuition,books,etc. Now I actually have disposable income :)

    @November Fifth / tyrannus - I am actually going to end up calling them and talking to a human. According the IRS website, I need to basically prepare a full packet of stuff, though I'm in a different scenario then what they describe, as I don't live in the US. They might even have a product they prefer I use.

  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Candy IslandRegistered User regular
    I'm fairly certain that after some period of time you are in the clear in terms of taxes. Like, they don't go back more than x years to fine you if you never paid. Not sure how long it is though.

    I don't have courage but I have something else.
  • tyrannustyrannus Registered User regular
    The statute of limitations does not apply for returns not filed.

  • KiplingKipling Registered User regular
    http://home.mchsi.com/~taxcalculator/

    This crazy person makes Excel spreadsheet versions of the 1040. If you have to fill out the 1040 and not the A or EZ version, I'd suggest these. I don't know if they have specific options for non-residents, but they have everything else under the sun.

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