Can anyone provide instructions on how to file taxes with the IRS using the foreign income tax exclusion?

Question

Foreign income tax exclusion: I am American, and before 2016 (when I became an auxiliar) my parents always just filed my taxes for me, as embarrassing as that is to admit. From 2016-2018 I was an auxiliar de conversación and never filed taxes because I just assumed it was such a small amount of foreign income that it would be $0 after deductions.

As of now I am a legal resident of Spain and I work at an academy making way less than 90k which is what I heard is around the cut off for having to pay American taxes while claiming foreign income tax exclusion. Where do I even begin with taxes? I don’t want to pay a lot of money to have a lawyer basically show the IRS that I don’t owe any American taxes and I want to do this process accurately because I don’t want to jeopardize renewing my American passport in the future.

Can anyone help me understand how I can file my taxes with the IRS using the foreign income tax exclusion? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I’m so lost on this issue because I have just been paying taxes in Spain.

Answers

These are the answers of some Facebook group members:

“It is a massive pain in the ass, a super long form… It is worth hiring someone unless you want to spend hours and hours doing it yourself. I use Chaz Attamah who is based in Murcia with Clarionbridge Consulting. He is a lifesaver!”

“Any US CPA can do this for you. First file in Spain then US but your Fbar is due earlier.

( if you have investments or an account that had $10,000 in it)

You can learn how to do it next year by checking how they do it this year and any questions write or call the IRS as they are quite helpful. I think I would later file those years you didn’t, after you see how the CPA fills out this year’s”

“I file with Artio Partners and I think by law you have to file every year, even if you are on a scholarship. I had to backfile a handful of years to catch up. It sucks shelling out the money but definitely worth resting easy knowing the IRS is happy with you.”

“For US taxes you should be able to find a free tax service (like TurboTax) that lets you file the foreign income credit. Sometimes it takes a few tries (cause some services appear to be free but actually aren’t) but I had to do this when I lived in the UK. And I always estimated my income by converting it to dollars when I filed.”

“I filed for years using the FITE and honestly it’s super easy and straightforward. I don’t think it takes even an hour to fill out. I always filed with real paper and sent it in with tracking.”


“I highly recommend Almudena and Bea from albea tax, they are super experienced and professional, both specialized in Spanish taxes. For U.S. tax filings I recommend Nick from Revolve tax. You can get free consultations with any of them here: https://spainguru.es/consultations-immigration-tax/


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