Retirement is a time to get out there and explore. You have planned, saved and taken steps to ensure you are healthy enough to make the most of this stage of life. Why not use this well-earned time to enjoy a different part of the world?
Before you take that leap, make sure you take your obligations to Uncle Sam into account. In most case, even United States taxpayers who live abroad have obligations with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). A failure to meet these obligations can come with serious penalties.
What are my obligations if I live abroad? The full extent of obligations will depend on your specific situation. However, in short, most people are required to report their assets to the IRS. This includes foreign assets. The IRS generally requires taxpayers report any bank accounts or business interests abroad.
What if I neglect to meet this obligation? As noted above, stiff penalties can apply. These penalties often include fines and other financial penalties. In rare cases, penalties can include prison time. These cases generally involve a situation with a fairly large amount of unreported foreign assets when the IRS deems the failure to report was “willful” or intentional.
How can I navigate these obligations and still enjoy retirement abroad? Take the time to make sure you are in compliance with applicable tax laws. If in compliance, there is generally no need to worry.
It is also important to note that you have options if the IRS sends notification of an investigation into your tax affairs. An attorney experienced in these matters can help you resolve any offshore account issues while better ensuring your legal rights are protected.