By Lise Alves, Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Doing annual taxes in your own country is already difficult enough, but when it comes to Americans who are living abroad the situation sometimes becomes even trickier. The same difficulty is also faced by U.S. companies that have offices abroad, but there are specialist available to help in Brazil.
“A lot of people think that you don’t have to file if you are an American living outside of the U.S. but that is not true,” says Vincenzo Villamena, founder of Online Taxman.
According to Villamena, U.S. citizens and residents must file if they have single earnings over US$10,000 per year; are married, filing jointly and earning over US$20,000 per year; or are married filing separately and earning over US$3,000 per year.
“The U.S. tax system is complicated,” says Villamena adding that the U.S. has a new law called FATCA going into effect on July 1, 2014 where foreign banks will disclose to the IRS, the information on bank account balances and other income earned outside the U.S. that is not being reported on the U.S. tax return. “It is important to have a professional make sure that you are reporting everything correctly while also optimizing your tax strategy,” concludes the executive.
Villamena and his team have been giving presentations and helping expatriates throughout Brazil, Argentina and Colombia to clear up many misconceptions about the U.S.s’ complex tax system. For the more than six million U.S. citizens living abroad, help provided by companies like Online Taxman is sorely needed, notes the executive.
“I think the biggest problem for expats is being able to navigate through the complex issues of tax returns and the reporting requirements for them. We have a lot of people that are coming to us needing help back filing their taxes. Some people haven’t filed for twenty or more years,” says Online’s founder.
Villamena will be speaking to the American community in Rio on June 3rd at the start-up incubator 21212.com, where he will be giving a presentation about tax implications for U.S. expats and also Brazilians wanting to invest in the U.S., as well as answering questions about individual and corporate tax returns and give free consultations.
According to the founder of Online Taxman, whose clients have included Ambev, JP Morgan, and Google, as well as smaller tech start-ups in Brazil, there are advantages for Brazilian-based start-ups in hiring a CPA to look into their tax structure, especially if they want to attract foreign investments.
“Most foreign investors, including both angel investors and venture capital firms, prefer to invest in corporations due to less reporting requirements,” explains Villamena. “Funding a Brazilian company from a U.S. perspective adds another layer of complexity (Brazilian tax laws) and uncertainty (investor protection) that could be avoidable,” concludes the executive.
By taking advantage of the Internet the company is able to provide a personalized service to its clients, wherever they are located. Services include U.S. tax return preparation for expatriates, residents and non-residents with U.S. interests; preparation of past year returns, back taxes and arrangement of payment plans with the IRS; representation on audits in the U.S. on behalf of foreign residents; tax planning services and consultations on issues arising from a clients decision to move abroad; and filing of disclosure documents for foreign-owned businesses.
The event is:
What: U.S./Brazil Tax Presentation
When: Tuesday, June 3 at 7PM
Where: 21212, Rua Voluntários da Pátria, 286 / 303, Botafogo, Rio de Janiero, RJ
For Who: This presentation specifically targets three groups:
1. U.S. expats with questions/concerns regarding their U.S. and Brazilian tax issues.
2. Brazil based start-ups seeking U.S. investment and looking for structuring advice on corporate formation which optimizes their U.S. and Brazil tax strategies
3. Brazilians looking to invest in the U.S. (securities, houses, angel investing) and what tax issues they would face as a non resident.
* This is an Advertorial for Online Taxman.