In one corner is our special guest who has years of experience in Bavaria, and in the other, the two of us who have called Berlin home for the past decade. Who will win?? – Americans in Germany Drinking Whiskey 🇺🇸
This past week I had the pleasure of coming on for an episode with one of my favourite expat podcasts Americans in Germany Drinking Whiskey. Geoff and Alex are too Americans also abroad, but based in Berlin. Most know this city has been a polar opposite to my home of Munich. So we decided to chat up the basics, compare, contrast and sass it up a bit.
Not only does being trapped at home mean that you’re staying safe and you’re helping save other people’s lives by not spreading the virus – it also means you have a new opportunity to reconnect with yourself, your friends and family, and your interests.-Nicole, The Expatcast
The 2020 pandemic has been a tough situation for all communities, and now that we are in 2021, it is still a part of our lives we are all adjusting to. But I find it to be not all bad, it is creating a new level of creativity.
Back in the summer my friend, fellow expat in Germany and dynamite podcast host, had a virtual quaratine sitdown to discuss our optimistic thoughts on the topic.
Have a listen and let me know what you think or if you prefer a visual option, check out the Youtube version ( kindly excuse the lazy lockdown video look) ⤵️
“Moving to a new country also means leaving another country behind. What if the situation you’re leaving behind is messy, full of problems and stress? Is your choice to move abroad a healthy way to improve your surroundings for a better future, or is it in some way a very elaborate method of running away from your problems? And what happens when certain problems sneak back up on you, because the baggage comes with you, even if you thought you left it behind?” –Nicole, The Expatcast
A while back I sat down with my friend and fellow Expat content creator Nicole of The Expatcast, to discuss the topic of moving abroad. This comes up often in questions, not just from other people but now and then in my own thoughts.
We all have our own reasons for leaving a place, but not too often do we acknowledge the full spectrum of factors that led to our initial decision. For me, I have come to accept it was a mixture of running from my past and running towards a different future… but I may still be on the fence.
Feel free to have a listen to the episode for the full details and let me know what you think
or if you want more of a visual, have a look at my Freiburg visit here ⤵️
Being an American abroad comes with a lot of responsibilities and challenges that you will face in your new country. And often times as we get wrapped up in those, we start to forget certain responsibilities that still exist back in our home country…or at least I did. And that responsibility happened to be filing my US taxes.
All in all it was a prett big suprise to me when I learned that even though I have no ties with the US ( nor have I for the past decade), and I keep all my work and earnings abroad, I still was required to file my annual American taxes based on my work abroad.
It was a pretty stressful situation, but through the help of a good friend of mine I was put in contact with the wonderful team at My Expat Taxes who not only helped me get my taxes filed but even made it possible that I recieved the 2020 US stimulus check.
*If you don’t feel like reading at the moment, head to the bottom of the page for a quick & easy video option*
US Tax Filing basics
Regardless of where you live, where you work or where you keep your income, US citizens are required to annually file a US tax return. First it’s important to know that there Is always a change in threshold requirement for tax filing, so make sure to stay up to date. So for this article I will be giving the details on last years. The current threshold at this time is $12,200 in gross income.
Who is required to file US taxes abroad?
As a single person, you will need to file a US tax return if you are:
Under 65 years old and have a gross income of at least $12,200
Over 65 years old and have a gross income of at least $13,850
As a legally married person and your spouse is a US citizen or Green card holder, you both need to file a US tax return if you:
Are both under 65 years old with a combined gross income of at least $24,400
One spouse is 65 or older, and the combined gross income is at least $25,700
Both spouses are 65 and older, with a combined gross income of at least $27,000
As an American citizen living abroad who is marriedto a non-US spouse, or someone who does not want to be included on your tax return, you will need to file a US tax return:
At any age, if gross income is at least $5 or more
If you are a self-employed person, you have a separate eligibility requirement. For self-employed individuals, the threshold is typically much lower. Currently, if you are a self-employed US citizen abroad you will need to file your US taxes if your worldwide income net earnings are a minimum of $400. *Net earnings are the total amount of sales revenues after operating/business expenses, interest, tax, etc…
Who is not required to file US taxes abroad? ( Non-Filer)
If you are a person who has no income or your income falls below the annual threshold, you are not required to file for the year. However, it is good to know, even if you did not earn the eligible amount there are still some potential benefits that can be received if you file regularly ( I.e in 2020 the stimulus check).
There is much more information to learn about the US tax regulations for those of us abroad. For more specific questions, I would definitly urge you to check out the super helpful blog at My Expat Taxes.
But if you are interested in my personal experience, go have a look at the video I created