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Tax reporting challenges for dual citizens

On Behalf of | May 24, 2024 | Tax Controversies |

Dual citizenship can bring about unique challenges when filing federal income tax returns in the United States. This complexity stems from the need for U.S. citizens to report their worldwide income to the Internal Revenue Service, regardless of where they live.

Not addressing these unique issues can result in audits and penalties.

Global income reporting

U.S. citizens must report all income earned globally, including wages, investments and rental income, to the IRS. Dual citizens must take care to include foreign income, such as earnings from a job in the other country or rental income from property abroad.

Foreign tax credits

To avoid double taxation, dual citizens can claim foreign tax credits for taxes paid to the other country. Calculating these credits requires meticulous record-keeping and understanding of both tax systems. Dual citizens must file Form 1116, which requires them to report foreign income and foreign taxes and to calculate the credit due based on IRS rules.

Foreign bank account reporting

U.S. citizens with financial accounts exceeding $10,000 in foreign banks or financial institutions must file the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties. Dual citizens must disclose all foreign accounts, including bank accounts, securities accounts and certain other financial accounts, by filing FinCEN Form 114 electronically.

Tax treaties

The U.S. has tax treaties with many countries to prevent double taxation and resolve tax disputes. Understanding these treaties and their implications for dual citizens can be complex. Dual citizens must consider the provisions of the tax treaty between the U.S. and the other country to determine which country has the primary right to tax specific types of income.

Dual citizens who fail to report their foreign income may be at a higher risk of IRS audits. Audits can be time-consuming and stressful and may result in additional penalties and interest. Furthermore, dual citizens who fail to follow the tax laws of both countries may have to pay more in taxes than they would if they had filed correctly the first time.