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Who is exempt from filing a US tax return while living in Germany?

Not all US citizens or Green Card holders in Germany are required to file a US tax return. Whether you need to file depends on your worldwide income relative to the filing status threshold.

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For instance, if you are a single person earning less than €9,000 annually from employment and have no other sources of income, you likely fall below the US tax filing threshold, which is over US$12,000 for singles, and may not need to file a Form 1040.

However, if you are married to a German citizen, your filing status would be “married filing separately,” where the threshold is just over US$5. This means even minimal income could necessitate filing a US tax return.

To determine your filing status and if you need to file, you can check here: Expat Tax Online – What is My Tax Filing Status?

What implications does “Married Filing Separately” have for US expats in Germany?

For US citizens in Germany, using the “Married Filing Separately” status requires filing a US tax return if your income exceeds just US$5. This low threshold can catch many off-guard, as even small amounts of income, such as bank interest, require reporting.

It’s a common error for married US citizens to mistakenly file as “Single” when they should use “Married Filing Separately” if married to a non-US person. Such mistakes can complicate your tax situation, underscoring the need for guidance from a tax professional who understands the nuances of expat tax obligations.

Is it necessary for US citizens in Germany to file an FBAR?

Yes, filing an FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report) is mandatory for US citizens in Germany if they have significant financial assets in foreign accounts. This requirement is in addition to and independent of your income tax filings and focuses on reporting foreign financial assets that exceed certain thresholds.

The FBAR is crucial for compliance and adds an additional layer to the financial responsibilities of Americans abroad, making it vital to stay informed and properly manage your reporting duties to avoid penalties.

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 Germany. Partnering with a specialist expat accountant can help you navigate complex tax regulations and optimize your tax situation.


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