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Tax Season HELP!

  1. #1
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Question Tax Season HELP!

    So, for 2007 & 2008, I didn't have to pay taxes or even file my taxes because I wasn't working outside the home in any way that would require me to file taxes.

    However, that has changed and for 2009 I have to file my taxes. I went to a tax seminar this week and now I'm in a rush to get everything ready to file.

    I need some advice:

    -Do any US citizens who have lived in HK use a computer software to prepare your taxes? If so, which one do you use? I contacted Turbo Tax and they told me that I can't use their software in HK because I am using a non-US address.

    -I assume most US citizens here use an accountant to prepare their taxes for them. I have actually never used an accountant in my life and don't know where to begin. Also, I don't have a big budget for this type of service. Who do you use? Is there anyone you recommend? What are their fees? Do they do a good job (aka save you money)?

    One note: My taxes are pretty simple and straight-forward to file, I think. I don't own any property anywhere in the world. My husband is a HK citizen and therefore his income and everything isn't under the jurisdiction of US Tax law. I have one son. I am a wage earner with no housing allowances or benefits. I don't own any investments or stock. Basically, it's just a straight-forward form, I think.

    If anyone can help, please let me know!

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    monte is offline Registered User
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    We also have pretty simple taxes, similar to yours, and I just do it myself, with no accountant. I looked around for an e-file option, and finally found one that would accept a non-US address (don't remember the name) but I didn't end up liking it very much so I just did it myself. The forms and directions are all online, and it wasn't too bad. I'd be happy to talk/email with you privately if you want to do it yourself and have more questions! Because of the foreign income exclusion (up to something like $90,000 US) you probably won't actually owe anything, so I'm not sure the accountant would be worth the money.

  3. #3
    gladyswly's Avatar
    gladyswly is offline Registered User
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    The same case apply to my husband too. Monte, if you would kindly tell me about how to file US taxes by self without an accountant or a computer software, it would be wonderful! Thanks in advance!

  4. #4
    monte is offline Registered User
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    Well, I've been doing our taxes for a long time so probably that makes it a little easier for me, but anyway, here's what I do. First I gather all my info--wage statements (we just ask for an official statement from HR for the year's earnings in lieu of the W-2s you get in the US), bank interest statements, student loan interest statements (we get a deduction for this), IRA contributions, etc.
    Then I print off the 1040 and its instructions, along with the 2555 or 2555ez and its instructions. Then I just follow along, step by step. The hardest part is knowing if there are any other deductions or credits you can take, though if the income will all fall under the foreign income exclusion then it doesn't really matter. Other deductions we have commonly taken include retirement savings, for contributions to an IRA, along with some education credits and the child tax credit. But it's all pretty clear in the instructions.
    However, I have to say that now that I have paid taxes in Hong Kong I sure think the US system is overly complicated!!

  5. #5
    DebbieChan is offline Registered User
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    you can probably get simple tax files done by an accountant, hassle free - they know it all and do it all. just pass all your files, receipts, documents onto them, they sort them out.

    try emailing [email protected] and quote "Pinnacle"

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