Articles

A user-friendly tax guide for U.S. expatriates

By Larry Lipsher ’65

The United States always functions best when it has an outside enemy, and the U.S. expatriate is often the chosen target. Many U.S. corporations set up foreign subsidiaries in low-tax havens to sidestep the IRS, which leaves expatriates like you and me as the ultimate payers abroad. This constitutes taxation without representation, but there is little we can do.

Douglas Shulman, the immediate past IRS commissioner, to my knowledge, still does not file his own returns. We should be annoyed by this because if the head honcho of the IRS has to pay someone else to navigate the system, what does that tell us? This is almost as outrageous to me as the bonuses being paid to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae bosses. These are government bureaucrats (even if they do not view themselves as such) who, in spite of those humongous losses their respective organizations have incurred, are getting bonuses more than 2-and-a-half times their base salaries.

More outrageous, though, is the IRS perception that U.S. expats are tax cheats. Why are expats or green card holders lumped together with domestic U.S. tax filers with offshore accounts? Our everyday needs are different, but how can you explain this to our 536 elected officials — many of whom do not have passports, have never left the country, and simply cannot comprehend what it is like to be an overseas U.S. tax filer.

My new book, Larry's 2013 Tax Guide for U.S. Expats & Green Card Holders in User-Friendly English, provides some relief. The IRS has its own guide for expatriates, called Publication 54, but my version is more comprehensive and definitely easier to read. It is priced to sell and, hopefully, both cynical and funny enough for you, the reader, to sit back and enjoy.

Larry Lipsher ’65 is an American certified public accountant based in Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China. He has lived overseas for 25 years and has been doing U.S. tax returns for 46 years.

Larry's 2013 Tax Guide for U.S. Expats & Green Card Holders in User-Friendly English
Author: Larry Lipsher '65
Publisher: eBookIt.com (Feb. 28, 2013)
Description: A guide for the overseas American tax filer, written especially for people who hate taxes (Kindle Edition, 189 pages).
ASIN: B00BNDX8KW
ISBN: 9781456613242

Magazine Department: