LIVING and working abroad may sound romantic. But having a financial life in more than one country — if one of those countries is the United States — is becoming increasingly complicated.
Living across national boundaries is an exciting life for an increasingly large portion of the population, not to mention a daily reality for immigrants heading one way or the other. That said, if you are skipping back and forth across a U.S. border, beware of the attending financial hurdles and the ever heightened attention of the IRS.
If you are no stranger to frequent border traffic, then likely you are aware of the recent adjustments in IRS practice, not to mention several large developments involving overseas accounts and income. Essentially, the IRS is on a mission – it wants to capture more and more overseas accounts and assets taxable under U.S. law. How? By working in sync with international banking institutions.
Ostensibly, the targets are tax-evasion type accounts in Swiss banks. In reality, the dragnet is catching a broader group of individuals and families of all means and intentions. And many of these individuals and families are unaware that they are targets and even fewer are aware the rules of the (tax) road.
The problem has been growing with the surge in IRS attention to the matter and The New York Times tackled the issue not too long ago in an article titled “Overseas Finances Can Trip Up Americans Abroad.”
Bottom line: if you’re going to be crossing borders regularly, whether for work, for family, or even as part of your retirement, then this is an important reminder about the hurdles those little lines on the map can pose if you aren’t careful. Whether you work, live, or retire abroad, it’s important to be aware of the new international complications.
Reference: The New York Times (April 5, 2013) “Overseas Finances Can Trip Up Americans Abroad”