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FAQ's-Tax Issues for Americans Living Abroad (Vienna)

I often receive questions from American citizens living abroad relating to various tax issues. Below I am posting some common questions that I hope will be helpful.

Question: I am a U.S. citizen living abroad. Do I have to file a US tax return even though I don’t live or work in the US?

Answer: United States citizens living abroad

• Are required to file annual U.S. income tax returns.
• Must report their worldwide income if they meet the minimum income filing requirements for their filing status and age.
• Must contact the government of the country you are living in to determine whether you must file and pay taxes there.
• May be able to elect to exclude some or all of their foreign earned income, if certain requirements are met, or to claim a foreign tax credit if taxes are paid to that country..

Question: Under my visa as a temporary nonresident alien, I'm not subject to social security and Medicare withholding. My employer withheld the taxes from my pay. What should I do to get a refund of my social security and Medicare?

Answer: If social security tax and Medicare were withheld in error from pay received that was not subject to the taxes, you must first contact the employer for reimbursement. If you are unable to get a refund from the employer, file a claim for refund with the Internal Revenue Service

Question: If I am a permanent resident of the U.S. am I always a resident for tax purposes?

Answer: You are a lawful permanent resident if you have been given the privilege, according to the immigration laws, of residing permanently in the United States as an immigrant. You generally have this status if the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued you an alien registration card, also known as a green card. You are a U.S. resident for tax purposes beginning on the first day you are present in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident. Therefore, for the first year of your residency, if you were a nonresident prior to obtaining permanent residency status, you will be classified as a dual-status alien for tax purposes. As a dual-status alien you must file a separate return, cannot claim the standard deduction, and generally cannot claim dependency exemptions.

As a resident taxpayer you must report, for U.S. tax purposes, your worldwide income. You are also eligible to claim the deductions and credits available to U.S. citizens once you are a full-year resident.