Rounding out our taxes for US expats series with expert Joshua Katz, I decided to ask him about freelancers. Yes, I am talking about you travel bloggers and digital nomads—you too, need to file taxes. Maybe you have it all under control but if not I recommend taking a visit to Universal Tax Professionals. It is the firm started by Joshua and they promise not to laugh at your account keeping but to help you file correctly and maybe just put something in the right kind of retirement or savings account. Thank you for your time and expertise Joshua and I am sure we will be hearing more from you. The comments section is open and Joshua is on Facebook. You can @mention him in the comments or email him directly from the link on his website.
My income hovers around $10-20K. I may get paid via PayPal or Stripe for little jobs here and there for US and overseas clients, or maybe my blog generates income from AdSense, or perhaps I am a long term volunteer living on a stipend.
Q: How do I define my profession?
A: Freelance Consultant
Q: I barely make ends meet, but my expenses are covered by my little jobs. But when I use an online service it says I owe money?
A: It will depend on which country you are living in. Some countries have Totalization agreements with the US which can eliminate the need to pay social security taxes to the US. Other countries do not have such agreements.
Q: Can I afford a service like yours?
A: We work with all of our clients to make sure our services are the most affordable expat tax services available.
Q: What do I do with my PayPal summary of income?
A: You should keep it as proof and record of your annual income.
Q: Why do I owe money if I only made gross $5000?
A: You probably owe social security tax on any self-employed earnings in excess of $400. Check to see if your county has a Totalization agreement with the US.
Q: Can I deduct all my travel and expenses such as visas, hotel, mobile service?
A: Some. It will depend on the expense and what it was used for.
The IRS and the US Expat
Please note this is not sponsored content, as I had just finished ripping out clumps of my hair trying to find out what happened to the 2015 return, I joined a Facebook group for expat tax problems. I noticed Joshua’s answers were easy to understand and I approached him about creating a series.