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US tax on foreign property for American expats.

Many Americans abroad invest in real estate. While foreign property taxes are similar to US property taxes, expats need to understand key differences to file accurately.

Start Your U.S. Expat Tax Return

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Taxes play an important role in your foreign real estate investment.

Find out everything you need to know about US tax on foreign property—from depreciation to deductions to capital gains.

  1. Typically, US expatriates will need to pay foreign taxes on foreign rental property income, while the same income is subject to US tax. Luckily, taxes paid to a foreign country can typically be used to offset your US tax bill.

  2. While you may deduct depreciation expenses on your US expat taxes, property outside the United States uses the Alternative Depreciation System. Using the wrong depreciation schedule can result in an inaccurate filing that raises a red flag with the IRS.

  3. When it comes to foreign real estate, record keeping is crucial. In addition to purchase details, American expats should keep records of improvements made to foreign property, which can be used to reduce your capital gains tax.

  4. When selling foreign property, look out for exchange rate gain! The IRS treats gains from exchange rates as taxable income, which can result in a large tax bill that surprises many US expats.

Get to know foreign property tax rules to make the most of your real estate investment. Greenback will help you do it!

We make US taxes easy for foreign property owners.

Most US expats who own foreign property will need to provide the documents below. To help maximize your savings, we’ll review your tax situation and filing needs together.

Federal Tax Return

All Americans living abroad need to file a federal tax return each year, if they make over the minimum filing thresholds (12,000 for filing single, 24,000 for married filing jointly). This is true even if you are filing in the country in which you reside.


State Tax Return

This varies on the last state you lived in in the US. Some states like California or Virginia require you to file a tax return, others like Washington or Texas do not. We can advise you based on your specific situation.


FBAR Reporting

If you have a financial interest in one or more overseas financial accounts and the total value of all of the financial accounts combined was $10,000 or more during any point during the tax year.

$100 per 5 accounts

The Greenback Difference

  • We go the extra - few thousand - miles.

    Whether it is finding every possible deduction to reduce your tax liability, or providing a timely answer to a question, all Greenback accountants go above and beyond to take care of our clients all around the world.

  • Messy calculations no more.

    Our accountants do all the heavy lifting when it comes to your tax return. We don’t have you do any of the financial calculations, as many firms do.

  • No tax jargon. Just clear communication.

    We take great care to explain taxes in simple terms that you can understand. Our accountants are excellent communicators who truly want you to understand what they are doing and why.

  • Ensuring your privacy with banking-grade security.

    Your privacy is always paramount. We use 256-bit data encryption, which is the same as most banks use, to ensure the highest level of security. Each client is given a personal, password-protected online folder where they upload their tax documents. Only you and your accountant will access to the files, so your private information stays just that – private.

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Free Guide
25 Things Every Expat
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