Essentials: expat tax demystified


Essentials is all about the “Big Three” US expat tax topics:

These topics are important for every US expat and digital nomad to know. They’re the fundamental building blocks of US expat tax.

And you need to understand these topics before starting your expat adventure.

Complex Rules Clearly Explained

Essentials isn’t just another re-hashing of the same old stuff you’ll find in a free e-book.

Essentials concisely and accurately explains the rules using clear graphic depictions. Then, Essentials brings the rules to life by showing how they work together in comprehensive real-world examples.

Finally, I want to make sure you fully understand how this all works. So, your purchase of Essentials also includes answers to your questions in a follow-up email (as long as the questions really are follow-up questions and aren’t something that we would need to discuss in a consultation).

Special focus on the Self-employed

If you’re a freelancer or you own a location-independent business (either as your main gig or as a side hustle), your tax issues are even more complicated.

Other expat tax resources leave you hanging here, but Essentials fully covers these special situations.

Not Just for Newbies

Even expats who’ve been around the block can learn a thing or two: Essentials dispels many common misconceptions and has some tricks you’ve probably never heard about.

For example, Essentials shows you an easy and completely legal method that allows you to contribute to an IRA even if you make less than the foreign earned income exclusion cap of about $100,000.

Here’s how it works

Essentials consists of nine video lectures where I talk over professionally designed slides. The lectures total up to 1.5 hours (but you can speed up or slow down the playback if you like).

You have instant and continuous access to the whole course, so you can go back and review whenever you have a question.

Each section also has notes that provide additional detail on the subject matter of each lecture.


table of contents

Here are the nine lessons that comprise Essentials:

  1. Course Overview
  2. Foreign Earned Income Exclusion: Basics
  3. Foreign Earned Income Exclusion: Physical Presence Test
  4. Foreign Earned Income Exclusion: Bona Fide Residence Test
  5. Foreign Earned Income Exclusion: Self-Employment
  6. Foreign Housing Deduction/Exclusion
  7. Foreign Tax Credit
  8. Comprehensive Example
  9. Next Steps

Essentials shows you:

How to pay zero US tax on about $100,000 of income from working,

How to use your living expenses to make even more than $100,000 from working completely free of US tax, and

How to make sure you avoid being double-taxed on your income (whether it’s from working or not).

After taking Essentials, you’ll understand how to best take advantage of the rules to pay as little US tax as legally possible.

Also, since I’ll answer your questions in a follow-up email, you’ll also have certainty on your specific questions regarding the Essentials subject matter.

Yes, I want to be a Tax-Savvy Expat! – $97

“Just a few slides in Stewart had already answered a number of my questions and cleared up information I thought I knew regarding taxation as an expat/digital nomad. His explanations and examples are given clearly and provide a ton of value for location independent individuals and expats looking to get a better grasp of the complexities involved in structuring your business or professional situation to deal with taxes efficiently and legally.”

-Jason C.

“I found the course valuable as it addresses very important tax related issues that might seem complex to research on your own or even consult with a typical business attorney. The course covers everything a U.S. expat needs to know about Foreign Earned Income Exclusion and includes a lot of specific examples based on individual scenarios. I recommend this course to anyone looking to learn about U.S. tax rules for citizens living abroad.”

-Yelena K.

“I now feel as though I am an expert on the subject. The visual aids really help to fully grasp the information. Very thorough explanation of self-employment tax and tax credits. It relieves a lot of stress being able to understand, identify, and apply the different foreign tax exclusion options to myself.

-Stuart D.

“My husband and I are working toward financial independence in order to start traveling the world so it’s important that I fully grasp the tax implications of this. We plan to live off the dividends and gains from our portfolio, and are hoping to create some other income streams along the way. I was previously a financial advisor so the investing part of managing our portfolio has always been enjoyable for me, but taxes are my weak spot. Proper knowledge of taxes, and using the tax code to your favor, can be as much of a wealth building tool as picking the right investments. I’m a big fan of doing things myself, but understanding the US Tax Code is not an easy feat. This course is exactly what I was looking for. I had read into some of the topics covered in the course before, but ended up with so many more questions. The course was great at addressing topics that people often misunderstand, including myself, and breaking it down into digestible pieces making it easy to follow. It’s clear and concise, removing the uncertainties I had about the foreign earned income exclusion, and all that’s associated with filing taxes as an expat. I highly recommend it.

-Claire I.

“This was a well designed, informative course for any US expat. It’s a good overview of the tax implications of moving outside the US.

In particular, the physical residence test and the bona fide residence test are both difficult concepts to understand based on the published IRS guidelines. This video explained both in simple, easy to understand language with useful examples.”

-Ryan A.

“Stewart does a great job of simplifying some pretty complex tax laws. He uses visual aids and examples to demonstrate exactly how living outside the country affects your U.S. tax bill.

Before taking this course, I had read about several of the tax laws that Stewart covers, but there were a few details I still had questions about. This course answered those questions and taught me about several laws that I didn’t even realize affect me.

I would definitely recommend taking this course if you’re thinking about moving overseas, and want to understand how that will affect your tax bill. It’s well worth the price!”

-Tim L.

“I actually learned some very important things, and feel that I fully understand and comprehend what has been taught as it applies to my particular tax situation. I enjoyed Stewart’s calm voice and his examples were excellent and helpful. I was struck by the incredible complexity of the U.S. tax code, and the need for professionals who have the kind of brain that can fully comprehend and interpret the different aspects of it for the rest of us. I know many expats who have no clue about any of what has been presented in the course, and who would benefit greatly by understanding the requirements and options that exist.”

-Karen S.

“Clear, concise guidance allows the user to evaluate their own situation and determine tax benefits without having to consult a costly professional. I highly recommend this course.

-Penny C.

“This lecture simplifies incredibly complex tax law into terms that a layman can understand. After watching the whole thing, I still feel the need to hire a tax professional to help me actually file my taxes but I feel far more empowered to have an intelligent discussion with them and point them at the right places to look in case they aren’t experienced in dealing with expats. I also now have a reasonable understanding of what the possibilities and limitations are so I can ask the right questions and research the right topics.”

-Micah Z.

“Instructor does a great job explaining concepts, has good graphics, and is very knowledgeable.”

-Joe B.

Yes, I want to be a Tax-Savvy Expat! – $97

Stewart Patton

I'm Stewart Patton, US tax attorney and expat entrepreneur based in beautiful Belize. Read more about me here, or email me at to discuss how I can help.

U.S. Tax Services, P.O Box 2651 Belize City, Belize • Belize tel: (+501) 629-6007 • U.S. VOIP: (312) 675-8571 • Email:

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