US Expat Tax Guide to 2020

US Expat Tax Guide to 2020
December 11, 2019

If 2020 is anything like 2019, then we are in for another big year of tax changes. Tax changes are certainly on their way. Some will be of the regularly-scheduled variety and others may come as a surprise. Though we can’t predict the future and accountants are prone to wild speculation, let’s take a look at the tax changes for which we can prepare in order to get ready for the upcoming year.

A US Expat Tax Guide to What’s Happening in 2020

Here’s what we know:

The presidential election will play a part. As Trump’s four-year term comes to an end, in November we’ll all find out who the president will be. Who the president is will be a major factor in taxes going forward. One of Trump’s lasting legislative marks will be the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act from 2017; if he’s still in office, we may be in for the TCJA 2.0. If he’s not, we’ll find out what the Democrats have in store for our taxes. Tax legislation is already a majorly determinative issue, and the candidates have (mostly) taken clear stances. Many of the Democrats plan to repeal the TCJA.Tax rates, as they always do, will change. For tax year 2020, the projected rates are published, so while they are subject to change, here’s a taste for individual tax payers:

If your taxable income is from 0-$9875, the tax due is 10% of taxable income.

For $9,876-$40,125 in income, the tax due is $987.50 + 12% of the amount over $9.875.

For $40,126-$85,525, the tax due is $4,617.50 + 22% of the amount of $40,125.

For $85,526 – $163,300, the tax due is $14,605.50, + 24% of the amount over $85,525.

For $163,301-$207,350, the tax due is $33,217.50 +32% of the amount over $163,300.

For $207,351 – $518,400, the tax due is $47,367.50 + 35% of the amount over $207,350.

For $518,401 and up, the tax due is $156,234 + 37% of the amount over $518,400.

Inflation will affect certain taxes. The standard deduction, which doubled for many taxpayers in 2018, is subject to inflation. But even with inflation as a consideration, the standard deduction will stay the same for the majority of taxpayers. The Alternative Minimum Tax is also subject to inflation, and the estimated amounts are projected to be: $72,900 for individual taxpayers, $113,400 for married filing jointly taxpayers, $56,700 for married filing separately, and $25,400 for estates and trusts.

US Expat Tax Guide to Preparing for the Upcoming Changes

One of the questions Greenback accountants are most often asked is how to prepare for the upcoming changes that the new year will bring. We always recommend that expats keep a detailed travel calendar so that qualifying for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion and, potentially, the Foreign Housing Exclusion is a breeze the next year.

Other best practices in preparation for 2020 include tracking your deductions very carefully (for instance, housing repairs for the Foreign Housing Exclusion). Also, find out if you will need to make estimated tax payments and budget accordingly. And, lastly, make a plan to vote in the upcoming election. Expats make up over nine million Americans who live all over the world in all sorts of industries, and we deserve to make our voices heard. Voting abroad can take a little extra time, so learn about the process, make sure you’re registered, and get your absentee ballot well in advance to avoid any last-minute voting stressors. Ninety days before the election is optimum timing to ensure voting with ease.

Want to Make Sure You’re Headed into a Successful 2020, Tax-Wise?

Let Greenback’s expat specialists handle your taxes. Get started with Greenback today, and never worry again if your taxes are done right.

The IRS tax code is 7,000 pages. Want the cliff notes version for expats? Let us help.
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