Avoid the pitfalls and find the opportunities: Become a Tax-Savvy Expat

It’s a Jungle out There

You moved outside the US to live a new life and have new adventures. Then, you learned about the US tax complications that come along for the ride.

Navigating complex tax rules wasn’t the kind of adventure you had in mind when starting out, but it’s an unavoidable part of the US expat experience.

Then, with all the trouble simply figuring out how the rules work, you may never learn about the fantastic tax-saving opportunities available to US expats.

For example, living outside the US can allow you to earn income in a completely tax-free manner, depending exactly on how that income is earned.

Paths through the Jungle

So how can you learn about how US tax works for expats?

Well, you could try asking the IRS. Of course, the government isn’t known for being user-friendly. Check out IRS Publication 54—their main guidance on tax for expats. It’s a dry read, full of jargon and examples that don’t really make it any easier to understand.

You could ask a friend or get advice from internet forums. But that’s just a good way to get warmed-over conventional wisdom that may be outdated or just dead wrong (or may be right for some people but wrong for your particular situation).

You could ask an “offshore guru”—the folks who sell offshore companies and “asset protection” structures. These “experts” may have slick marketing, but they don’t have the credentials and experience necessary to make their advice worth the thousands they charge for it. And their advice is typically just warmed-over conventional wisdom, much of which just isn’t true.

It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.

-Mark Twain

A Better Way

That’s why I created the Tax-Savvy Expat courses—to bridge the gap between

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(i) the unreliable information you get for free from friends and the internet and

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(ii) the reliable information you can only get by spending thousands of dollars and hours of your own time with a tax attorney.

And that bridge also guides you safely over the “offshore gurus” snapping their jaws from below.

The Tax-Savvy Expat courses provide reliable, actionable, on-demand information so you can understand how US tax applies to you as an expat.

But the Tax-Savvy Expat courses aren’t just about surviving the complicated US expat tax rules. These courses also show you how to best take advantage of the unique tax-saving opportunities that work only for those of us who live outside the US.
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A Little about Me

You may be wondering why you should believe anything I have to say. (Actually, I hope you’ve wondered exactly that—lots of expats get in trouble because they don’t thoroughly check their sources.)

I grew up in Midwest City, Oklahoma, then attended Texas A&M University and the University of Houston Law Center (graduating magna cum laude and Order of the Coif). I practiced for 12 years as a tax attorney in three large law firms, culminating as a partner in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

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One cold winter morning, I heard the same little voice you may have heard: “There must be more to life than going to work while it’s cold and dark and the kids are in bed only to return home when it’s cold and dark and the kids are in bed.”

Thankfully, my wife is from Belize, where it’s sunny almost every day and the temperature sometimes dips into the high 60s when a cold front passes through.

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So, I told my firm about the new life my family and I had chosen, we packed up the house, and I started my own US tax practice in Belize.

I help Americans who live or invest abroad understand how US tax applies to them, properly structure their businesses and investments, and comply with the complicated disclosure requirements that only get stricter every year.

Since I’m an expat entrepreneur myself, everything I discuss in the Tax-Savvy Expat courses is reflected in my own US tax return. Plus, it’s also reflected in US tax returns that I sign as a paid return preparer (which could subject me to penalties if I’m wrong).

So, unlike the stuff you get from internet forums or an offshore guru, you can trust my courses. My courses are backed by:

A Course for Every Expat

There are three Tax-Savvy Expat courses: Essentials, Freelancer, and Entrepreneur.

Essentials covers the basics-Essentials is the starting point for every expat.

Then, if you work as a professional or you own a business, Freelancer and Entrepreneur cover more specific issues for your situation and provide a step-by-step guide to setting up the perfect legal structure for your situation.

Click below to learn more.

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Essentials covers the topics that every US expat needs to know: the foreign earned income exclusion, foreign housing deduction or exclusion, and the foreign tax credit. This is the starting point for every expat. Then, if you work for a company, you can stop right here—Essentials has everything you need.

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If you work as a freelancer or as an independent professional (i.e., you sell your time to multiple clients), Freelancer builds on the basics in Essentials. Freelancer shows you how to properly select, organize, and operate under the best legal structure for your situation, all to minimize your tax bill.

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If you own and operate a location-independent business, Entrepreneur is the course for you. Entrepreneur shows you how to reduce (or even eliminate) your US tax bill and your non-US tax bill by structuring and operating your business correctly. That’s right, you could earn truly tax-free income using the strategies discussed in Entrepreneur.

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Stewart Patton