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Do I have to file a US tax return when I’m in the UAE?

Almost every US citizen and Green Card holder living in the UAE has to file a US tax return each year. Non-Americans who generate income from the United States are also likely required to file a non-resident tax return.

US citizens and Green Card holders are taxed on their worldwide income, regardless of where they live and work. This means that even if you live in a city such as Dubai or Abu Dhabi and earn income, you are required to report this income to the IRS on Form 1040.

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Remember, it’s not just foreign-earned income that needs to be reported. All income, including interest income from US sources and non-US sources, must be included in your tax return.

What are the filing requirements?

  • Income Thresholds: The need to file a tax return depends on your filing status and the income thresholds set by the IRS. These thresholds vary based on whether you are single, married filing jointly, or married filing separately.
  • Thresholds: The filing threshold for 2022 a single person is $12,950. For those married filing jointly, the threshold is above $25,000. Surprisingly, for married filing separately, the threshold is as low as $5.

What do I need to understand as a US expat in the UAE?

  • Mandatory Filing for Most: Given these relatively low thresholds, most US citizens and green card holders living abroad will find that they are required to file a US tax return.
  • Importance of Compliance: Staying compliant with US tax laws is crucial to avoid penalties and fines. Even if your foreign-earned income is below the US tax threshold, filing a return may still be necessary.
  • Seek Professional Advice: Due to the complexities of filing US taxes from abroad, it’s advisable to seek guidance from a tax professional who specializes in expatriate taxation. They can help ensure that you meet all filing requirements and take advantage of any applicable tax benefits or exclusions.

Why partner with a specialist Expat accountant?

Living outside of the US can make your tax filing requirements complicated. To ensure you pay the minimum amount of taxes, it’s critical to work with an accountant who understands every aspect and avenue for reducing your tax liability. We have a dedicated team of tax accountants who work exclusively with US expats earning and investing in the UAE. Partnering with a specialist expat accountant can help you navigate complex tax regulations and optimize your tax situation.


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