For US residents who live in Taiwan… please remember that you’re legally obligated to file taxes with the IRS.
But the good news is that if you’ve been in Taiwan for over 330 days in 2020 and earnd less than NT$3 million (NT$6 million if you’re married filing jointly), you don’t need to pay anything. But you still need to file. If you didn’t file and get audited, you’ll owe taxes. So, it’s better to report your income than not report.
I usually use TurboTax, but having to pay $90 every year to file a $0 tax return was getting really old. This year, I switched to Tax Slayer, which costs $25. Still not free… I don’t understand why I have to pay money to fill out forms that I’m legally required to submit (grumble, grumble). But it’s a lot better than TurboTax.
The only problem is that Tax Slayer isn’t very intuitive. After spending an entire day trying to figure out where they buried the appropriate tax forms, I finally figured it out. And I’m writing this up as a step-by-step guide in hopes that someone else might find this useful.
First, make an account with Tax Slayer. Then, complete these steps.
- If you have an interest-earning bank account back in the States, search for “1099-INT.” (Click the question mark in the top right corner of the screen) Fill in the required information, which you can get from your bank.
- If you have investments with a financial institution in the States, search for “1099-DIV.” Fill in the required information, which you can get from your investment company.
- Search for “Foreign Earned Compensation” Fill in your address, your employer’s address, and your 2020 pre-tax salary. (Make sure to convert all values to USD.)
- Search for “2555.” Enter the exact same information that you just entered in step 3 (I have no idea why the computer can’t copy the information over by itself).
In case you’re wondering, step 3 is to report your income, and step 4 is to exclude it. If you complete step 3 without step 4, you’ll end up paying taxes on the income you earned in Taiwan.
- Are you greeted with a screen that says you owe $0 in taxes? Awesome! Review and submit.
After you’ve filed taxes with Tax Slayer, you still need to report how much money you have in your bank accounts here in Taiwan. You can do this here: Individuals Filing the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR)
Hope this guide helps someone :).
NOTE: This guide assumes that you have a working knowledge of the US tax code. If you don’t know the difference between FEIE and FTC, don’t be afraid to research–it’s really not that complicated, and there are already many excellent guides available online. But if you don’t feel like researching your tax situation, Tax Slayer won’t be able to help you. If you’re looking for a product that holds your hand through each step of the way, Tax Slayer isn’t the product for you.