H&R Block, the Kansas City, Missouri-based U.S. tax preparation company, today said it was launching "a new, online, do-it-yourself tax software for U.S. expats who want to file on their own."
In a statement, the company said its new online software would give U.S. expats "the confidence they need to file their expat taxes while knowing they’re getting the best outcome.”
It added: "Knowing how to claim tax breaks unique to American citizens living abroad, such as the Foreign Tax Credit and Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, requires tax and expat expertise.
"Adding to the complexity, U.S. expats also may have special reporting requirements and forms to report money in foreign accounts.
"H&R Block offers a DIY filing solution built specifically for expats to avoid double taxation, and ensure an accurate tax return that meets filing requirements."
New York Stock Exchange-listed H&R Block has been helping American expats with their taxes since 2013, when, according to press reports at the time, the company began to see a significant increase in calls for help from its own in-house tax specialists, who were struggling to handle growing numbers of complex international tax returns.
In 2016, the company further ramped up its expat offering, as the U.S. anti-tax evasion law known as FATCA began to come into force, even as the U.S. closed the last three of its overseas IRS taxpayer assistance centres – which had been located in the U.S. embassies in London and Paris, and the US consulate in Frankfurt – in 2015.
At one time the IRS maintained staff in more than a dozen U.S. embassies and consulates around the world, but by 2014, budget cutbacks had reduced the representation to just our outposts, and in November of 2015, it closed its outpost in Beijing.
In a statement on its website, HMRC says its basic DIY returns start at US$99 "for simpler returns covering employment income," while those with "more complex expat tax situations, such as self-employment income or investment income, like stock options or rental property, can use the product at an additional cost."
It adds that clients who need to catch up on prior year returns "should continue to file with an expat tax adviser."
A company spokesperson told the AXFNJ that the DIY product is designed to enable expats to more easily and correctly file their taxes than they might be able to do with regular do-it-yourself returns.
Since H&R Block launched its Expat Tax Services business in 2013, they added, it has "helped file tens of thousands of expat returns".
The company maintains international offices in a number of locations, including Australia, Canada, the UK and India. Information about these offices may be found by clicking here.
H&R Block was founded by two Kansas City brothers – Henry W. and Richard Bloch (yes, "Bloch", not "Block") – in 1955.
In recent years, the IRS has begun to enable U.S. citizens, including expats, to file online themselves for free, through a system known as IRS Free File. Information about this may be found by clicking here.