Expatriate Taxes: Hiring an International Tax Accountant

Moving abroad for work brings many financial benefits, but it also significantly increases the complexity of your tax situation. As an expatriate, you may still owe taxes to your home country on your worldwide income even while living overseas. At the same time, your host country will likely require you to pay some income and other taxes and an international tax accountant helps you navigate all that.

Moreover, adding another layer of intricacy are the tax treaties between many countries, which can impact your filing obligations and the taxes owed. These treaties are carefully designed to help prevent double taxation but require expert understanding to navigate correctly. 

Expatriates must also carefully track specific filing deadlines that differ between tax jurisdictions. We know it’s a lot to handle and that’s why every expatriate needs financial accounting advisory services by their side.

Why Hire an International Tax Accountant?

Given all the intricacies described above, it is usually in an expatriate’s best interest to hire an international tax accountant to handle their multi-country tax filings and planning. A professional with specialist experience in international tax laws, treaties, and cross-border compliance issues will have the expertise needed to:

  • Accurately complete all required income tax returns, informational filings, and related documents for both home and host countries on time
  • Provide ongoing tax planning advice customized to your personal circumstances and changes over time
  • Represent clients during any tax audits that may arise from filings in multiple jurisdictions
  • Help minimize clients’ total tax costs by leveraging applicable deductions and credits across territories

By outsourcing this complex process, expatriates can have peace of mind knowing their filings are handled by specialists who understand their unique tax situation. This can help avoid penalties for mistakes or missed deadlines.

Choosing the Right International Tax Accountant

When selecting an international tax accountant, it is essential to vet candidates based on the following:

ExperienceLook for many years serving expat clients across various home and host jurisdictions.
KnowledgeConfirm understanding of specific tax treaty terms between your home and host countries.
CommunicationInquire about language abilities and global professional network for multi-country collaboration.
ReputationAsk for references and review online ratings and testimonials from past expat clients.

Choosing a reputable firm with solid experience serving those in your personal tax situation will help ensure proper handling of your filings.

Services Provided by International Tax Accountants

Beyond the core tax filings and compliance, international tax specialists also offer valuable support services throughout the year, such as:

  • Advising on tax implications of significant life events like marriage, home purchases, or retirement planning
  • Representation for any post-filing inquiries, correspondence audits, or payment disputes
  • Guidance specific to your industry or profession’s special rules and allowances
  • Ongoing communication and availability to answer questions that come up between filing seasons

By tapping the full range of an accountant’s services, expats can gain a strategic long-term financial plan tailored to their cross-border situation.

Essential Questions to Ask Accountant Candidates

When interviewing potential international tax accountants, don’t hesitate to inquire about critical logistical factors such as:

  • Specific fees and payment options for services
  • Average turnaround times for tax filings or general information requests
  • Methods for ongoing communication like email, phone, or video conferencing
  • Whether online portals allow document uploading and sharing between clients and team members anytime
  • Scope and depth of experience serving expats with your tax profile across careers/locations
  • Active, relevant professional credentials and memberships in international associations

Getting clear answers upfront will help you choose the best fit capable of delivering timely, professional financial accounting advisory services year-round.

Tips for a Successful Working Relationship

To maximize the value provided by an international tax accountant, expats should:

  • Stay organized and provide all documentation requested for tax filings promptly
  • Promptly respond to any follow-up questions from the accountant’s team
  • Keep the accountant well informed of significant life changes that could impact future filings
  • Establish clear expectations for all included services, costs, and deadlines upfront
  • Maintain open communication channels to address any new questions or concerns that arise

Sticking to these best practices will help ensure a smooth, compliant process managed by the professionals handling your complex multi-country expatriate tax obligations. WM Accounting & Bookkeeping can assist you with  you international accounting needs. With customers in Peru, El Salvador and and London, we have the experience you need for your international accounting needs. 

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