Filling out your tax form
How does it work?
Have you been living in the United States for more than 183 consecutive days? Welcome to the wonderful world of the American tax mille-faille.
If you are employed (e) of a company, you already have received the Form W-2 from your employer, if not you can get your w 2 form. This declaration contains the total amount of your taxable income over the previous year, as well as each tax deducted at source. If you are a contractor (an) independent (e) and have worked on several contracts during the year, each company must send you Form 1099.
Which form should I use?
Using the information provided in W-2 or 1099, you can now complete Form 1040. It is the main form (but not always the only one) used to declare taxes (tax return in English).
The form asks you in particular to choose your status (married filing a joint declaration, married filing a separate declaration, single, and head of household and widowed with dependent child. It is important to choose your status, as this will affect the total amount of your taxes and deductions.
The process is much the same whether you are a (e) Contractor (e) s independent (e) s, but you must also pay self-employment tax. In both cases, you will need your American Social Security number, the Social Security Number. Otherwise, you can provide a taxpayer identification number.
The deadline for filling out and returning Form 1040 is April 15, 2019. Better not to do it at the last moment, because unlike the French system, there is no pre-filled declaration here.
With the exception of independent contractors, the Americans apply the withholding tax, which means that part of the taxes is already paid. The purpose of the “tax return” is to regularize the situation of the taxpayer. “In the United States, the level of taxation depends on the state where you live. Some states like New York have three taxes: federal, state and city taxes. Conversely, the state of Florida has no local tax, explains William Blanchet, accountant for the firm Blanchet CPA.
In principle, you must declare your income from $ 12,000 per year for a single person and $ 24,000 for a married couple. As for independent entrepreneurs, they must declare any income greater than $ 600 per year. According to expert accountant, it is better to complete the “tax return”, even if your income is lower. “Otherwise, you will not be able to receive a refund if you have been overcharged, says the expert.
If you paid more tax than you owed during the year withholding tax, you will then receive a tax refund. This amount of money can sometimes be substantial and will be sent to you by the IRS (Internal Revenue Service), the government body in charge of collecting taxes. You will receive your tax refund a few weeks after sending your tax return.
Declare all of its assets abroad
The Tax Convention signed between France and the United States on August 31, 1994 avoids double taxation. Consequently, American tax has a very broad scope. If you have income in France during the year 2018, you must declare it on the American territory.
Many French people do not know that they have to declare everything when they arrive in the USA says William Blanchet. If the person only has US bank accounts, the reporting will be simple. On the other hand, if she also has property in France, other declarations will have to be completed warns the CPA.
Among the forms most forgotten during declarations: 5471 , for those who have a company abroad, or 3520 if you have received a donation of more than 100,000 dollars from a person not residing in the United States (this form will not make you pay more tax). If you own real estate abroad, you will also need to complete Form 8938. Do not forget to declare your accounts abroad via the FBAR form available online and very quick to complete.
If you cannot complete your return before April 15, it is possible to request an extension until October 15, 2019 by sending form 4868. This does not allow you to delay a possible payment, but simply not to have a late filing fine. “You have to make an estimate with the ladle to pay the tax even if you have not filled out the tax return form.
Attention, the American tax authorities do not leave much room for error. “I often compare the IRS to a road roller. It is very slow but very heavy. They will take the time to get back to you. But the day you are under their roll, they will not let you go.
Useful tools for completing your declaration
Several tools allow you to fill out your tax form while avoiding making mistakes. For those who simply have a W-2 or 1099 form, without assets or real estate abroad, certain internet software is sufficient. Popular with Americans, Turbo tax software allows you to fill out your tax form online, just like H&R Block. Turbo tax is rather practical and offers several formulas between 59 and 119 dollars depending on your status.
To find out about the latest laws, or get more information about your status, the IRS website has posted a lot of information and has set up the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to help people. Who have a disability or a limited level of English? Finally, it is recommended for those who have several jobs in several countries, as well as assets abroad, to contact a professional accountant. The cost of the service depends on the service, but avoids errors and large fines.