Handy Tools for Expats: Free US Expat Tax Calculator

Handy Tools for Expats: Free US Expat Tax Calculator
October 19, 2022

As a US citizen, you are required to file a US tax return every year regardless of where you live. And as an American living abroad, you may have to file additional tax forms, such as the FBAR or FATCA report. 

It’s never too early to start preparing for that looming April tax deadline. If your expat taxes are still on your to-do list, you may want to check out one of the many useful instruments Greenback Expat Tax Services has engineered for expats: our free US Expat Tax Calculator

Let’s look over what it is and how it works. 

What Is the US Expat Tax Calculator? 

Since Greenback was founded by expats, our leadership knows the pain of hiring an accountant sight unseen only to find the payment structure unclear, expensive, and surprising. That’s why we’ve got a US Expat Tax Calculator right on our site. 

By answering a few quick questions, you can find out: 

  • What US tax obligations do you have 
  • Whether you need to catch up on your tax filing 
  • How much will it cost to file your US expat taxes 

Armed with this information, you can make an informed decision on the best steps to take to meet your US tax requirements. 

How to Use the US Expat Tax Calculator 

Greenback’s US Expat Tax Calculator is designed to be as simple and intuitive as possible. The whole process should only take you a minute or two at most. Just answer a few easy questions, and the US Expat Tax Calculator will use your input to determine your tax obligations and estimate how much it will cost to meet them. 

Want a little more detail? No problem. Here’s how it works. 

1. Determine If You Need to File an Income Tax Return 

For starters, you’ll need to know how many years of federal tax returns you need to file and whether you’re also on the hook for state tax returns. This will help the US Expat Tax Calculator tell you how many income tax forms you’ll need help filing. 

2. Learn If You Need to File Form 5471 

The US Expat Tax Calculator will also ask if you: 

  • Own more than 10% of a business 
  • Are self-employed 
  • Are the benefactor or administrator of a trust 
  • Need an expatriation statement 

If the answer to any of these is yes, you will need to file Form 5471: Information Return of US Persons with Respect to Certain Foreign Corporations. 

3. Check If You’re Required to File an FBAR 

Next, do you need to file a Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR)? If you have more than $10,000 in one or more foreign bank accounts, you’ll have to file an FBAR to report it. FBARs are not filed with the IRS. Instead, you must file your FBAR with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network or FinCEN. 

Note: The FBAR is a purely informational form. Even if you do have to file this form, it won’t increase your US tax liability. 

4. Determine If You Have to File a FATCA Report 

A FATCA report is similar to an FBAR. If you own foreign assets valued above certain amounts, the IRS requires you to file Form 8938 to report them. The filing threshold will depend on your location and filing status. 

As with the FBAR, Form 8938 is an informational form and will not increase your tax bill. 

5. Find Out If the US Has a Tax Treaty with Your Host Country 

Also, you’ll want to come armed with the knowledge of whether or not you’ll need to file Form 8833. It’s not as scary as it sounds: the form’s sole purpose is to make sure treaty provisions are applied properly. Want to do a quick check to see if your country of residence currently has a tax treaty with the US? The IRS has conveniently made a list

6. Decide If You Want Expert Advice from Our Accountants 

If you feel like you could benefit from some tax consulting, there’s a place to select that as well. In particular, if you’re thinking about investing in property, starting a business, or saving for retirement, a consultation with one of our accountants can help you choose the best options for you. 


If interested, you can work one-on-one with a member of our team. Our expert CPAs and IRS Enrolled Agents have helped expats from around the world manage their US tax obligations—and they’re ready to help you too. 

7. Review Your Custom Quote 

Next stop: price quote, so you’ll know exactly what to expect if you choose Greenback to be your tax provider this year. In other words, how much does it cost to file taxes? Or, if you’re really not sure yet which services you might need, you can take a quick  look at our services and pricing to do your own estimate. 

Please note that during the review process, your accountant may realize that you need to file other forms or schedules due to your individual situation. If that happens, your price quote may change—and, in exchange, you’ll gain the confidence of knowing your tax return is 100% accurate. 

Time Is Money: The Value of Getting Help with Your Expat Taxes 

Fun fact: American taxpayers spend a pretty substantial amount of time filling out their Federal Tax Returns each year. In fact, a recent estimate from the IRS is that it takes the average American about 11 hours just to file Form 1040! And you are not an average American; you’re an expat, so in this unfortunate scenario, it typically means your taxes will be much more complicated. 

Our expat tax accountants are experts in their field. They are financial detectives who find every last deduction and exclusion that will save you money—without wasting any of your time. 

Now that you have the information you need, you can make an informed decision on whether you want to strike out on your own (in which case, you’re definitely going to want to download our free expat tax guides) or leave it to the professionals to get your US expat taxes done right! 

Get Help from an Expat Tax Specialist 

If you still have questions about your US expat taxes, we have the answers. Just contact us, and we’ll be happy to help you in any way we can. 

At Greenback Expat Tax Services, we specialize in helping expats file their US taxes accurately and on time. Now we’re ready to put our years of experience to work for you. Let’s talk! 

And if you’re ready to put the US Expat Tax Calculator to good use, click here to get started with Greenback today

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