If I'm a US citizen but don't live in the US. I have lived in the UK all my life. Will I get into trouble for not filing US tax returns?
I plan to stay in the UK for the rest of my life? I wasn't born in the USA. Can the US do anything to me if I simply stay under the radar and don't travel to the States? One of my parents (now gone) was a US citizen but never filed after moving to the UK.
- Brother HesekielLv 72 months ago
Unless . . . you are making silly money, millions per year, in which case you'd owe money to Uncle Sam and in that case the IRS *could* potentially, via the US Embassy in the Kingdom, file charges against you for tax evasion in a British court. But if you never filed a US tax return, you are not even on their radar screen, and if you are just a working stiff like most of us, you'd never owe US taxes anyway.Source(s): An immigrant from Europe, I live on the American Riviera and work as an attorney in Santa Barbara, California.
- W.T. DoorLv 72 months ago
If your parents never registered your birth at a US Consulate, never got you a US passport, and never got you a USA social security number then the USA probably does not know you are a US citizen.
If your parents registered your birth at a US Consulate, got you a US passport, or got you a USA social security number then the US government knows you exist. You actually do not want to violate US law, even if you "never travel to the states".
Other answers are correct that US citizens are required by law to file an income tax return if they make enough money to have to file one.
You can file for free online via the IRS website:
If you live abroad then the first US$100,000 or so is exempt from US taxes. It is called the foreign earned income exclusion. You still have to pay
If you earn more than $100,000 then you get credit for any UK income taxes you pay. The credit reduces whatever US taxes you might have to pay.
If you are making more than $100k/year (a little over £80,000 right now) then you can afford to pay for tax advice if you need it.
Finally, if the US government knows you are a citizen then you will be very foolish to not clear up whatever tax returns you have not filed and to get a US pssport.
- ibu guruLv 72 months ago
If you were born to US citizen who had actually resided in US long enough to pass on US citizenship, you ARE a US citizen by birthright wherever you were born. While your parent should have registered your birth to US consular authorities at the time of your birth & gotten you your US passport, that is not mandatory. You can still go to US consulate with required documentation & get your US passport. You don't have to.
But since you ARE a US citizen whether you ever get your US passport or not, whether you ever set foot in US or not, you ARE legally required to file & pay US income taxes, wherever you live. Failure to file & failure to pay are separate felonies. You may also be subject to additional filing requirements of foreign bank & financial accounts, and for foreign assets.
IRS has officials in UK & most other countries, and they are actively seeking US citizens who fail to file/pay as required. You do NOT have to return to US to get caught! You would be assessed back taxes, interest, penalties, etc.
To renounce US citizenship, which is the ONLY way out of the US Tax Trap, you must first prove you have been filing & paying taxes as required. So until you sort out your tax situation, you cannot file to renounce US citizenship. Obviously, if you have just turned 18, never worked, etc. & have no tax obligations, you're in better shape trying to renounce. Meanwhile, IRS can strike at any time.
- FoofaLv 72 months ago
Likely not unless you ever tried to move to the US. But if you're absolutely certain you'll never need nor want your US citizenship you'd have more peace of mind by renouncing that. I know many former US/Canada duals who've done that once permanently settled in Canada.
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- sunshine_melLv 72 months ago
Yes - you have a legal requirement (irrelevant of whether you set foot there or not) to file US tax returns.
- 2 months ago
How do you know you are a US citizen? The fact that one of your parents was a citizen does not automatically make you one if you were born elsewhere. The parent had to file a consular report of US citizen birth abroad before you were 18 for it to be automatic.
Your US citizen parent who moved to the UK was one of millions of non filers living abroad. The only way in which his non filing status would have been discovered is if he had tried to enter the US on his UK passport. He would have been refused the moment they saw his US birth place.
In your case, you can always find somewhere else to go on holiday. The IRS tentacles do not reach into the UK.
- TavyLv 72 months ago
How would the US know where you are. Have you ever told them you moved to the UK? One quickl call to any Accountant will tell you what your rights are.
- Pearl LLv 72 months ago
i would hope you dont
- GaryLv 62 months ago
I'm not sure you would have to file US tax returns if you do not receive income from work based in the United States, own property here, or conduct other business related
I could be wrong, though. I'm not an accountant or tax clerk
- 2 months ago
If you make your money in the UK, you pay taxes to the UK. If you made your money in the United States, you pay your taxes to the United States.