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Local accountant vs. remote team of tax experts
There are compelling reasons to consider working with a local accountant versus engaging a remote team. Let's explore these reasons:
Expertise: Collaborating with TFX provides you with access to experts in U.S. expatriate taxation. We help all Americans with their taxes, especially American expats. It means we are well-versed in handling situations that regular accountants, even those operating abroad, may seldom encounter. Your local accountant is unlikely to possess the same level of specialization. While they might be knowledgeable about tax matters in your current country of residence, their familiarity with U.S. tax intricacies and their frequency of interactions with the IRS might be limited. In the realm of expertise, no international accountants can rival our proficiency.
Cost: If you reside in a high-cost location (such as much of the E.U., Switzerland, Singapore, or Australia), local accountants often levy fees that substantially surpass ours, sometimes by a factor of 2 or 3, plus an additional 20% VAT. Conversely, if you live in a developing country - which comprises the majority of the world - there may not even be local accountants well-versed in U.S. tax regulations to approach for assistance.
Office visits: Many people favor local accountants for the convenience of 'dropping by the office.' However, it is worth considering that your initial visit alone may consume around 2-3 hours of your time (unless you share the same building). Subsequent interactions will likely be through email or phone calls. In this digital age, once communication shifts to electronic means, the physical proximity of the office becomes inconsequential; an email reaches NYC just as swiftly as it does the next room.
Trust: Meeting an accountant face-to-face may give you a sense of their trustworthiness, competence, and knowledge. Yet, how equipped are you to evaluate their understanding of tax laws, their responsiveness to your queries, and their commitment to your case? Will you request to view their CPA exam scores? Ultimately, you must weigh whether the convenience of occasional office visits justifies paying triple the price, plus VAT, for ongoing services.
Taxes For Expats (TFX) - team of tax experts
We started our business as 100% dedicated to clients living abroad now we provide best-in-class U.S. tax preparation, tax advice, planning, and compliance services for individuals, partnerships, corporations, trusts, and estates, subject to the U.S. tax system, wherever they may live or operate in the world.
TFX has held authorization from the IRS to represent clients in all tax matters before the Agency. We are vetted by the State Department and listed as approved tax preparers by 25 American consulates. Our accreditation from the Better Business Bureau is accompanied by the highest grade possible - A+. TFX team consists of experienced (our average age is 42) CPAs and EAs.
We provide comprehensive information to potential clients, ensuring they understand the quality and integrity of our services:
Audit protection service
The IRS audits approximately 5% of filers. At TFX, we stand firmly behind our work. We extend an audit protection service, encompassing representation at both the state and federal levels if you receive an IRS notice. Should the IRS question a return we prepared, we will review the letter and provide guidance on the optimal course of action. Specifically:
If we made a mistake in your return, we will file an amended return without any charge (although such instances are exceedingly rare).
If the return we prepared is accurate, but the IRS seeks further clarification, we will advise you on the most effective way to address their inquiry. This could be as simple as calling them and speaking to an agent or mailing a letter.
If the IRS disagrees with the figures you provided us that were used to prepare the return (e.g., you omitted income from stock sales), we can file an amended return for you. Please note that this service incurs a fee, as we were not initially provided with accurate information.
In this scenario, our representation service comes into play: we would manage your case and liaise with the agency on your behalf. For more information, please refer to the article IRS representation.
Why choose TFX for your U.S. taxes and a local firm for your non-U.S. taxes
To address this question, let's draw a medical analogy: When you have a toothache and a foot problem, do you seek out a dentist who is also a podiatrist, or do you consult two distinct specialists? The same applies to taxes. If your U.S. tax specialist is well-versed in expat returns, they should possess comprehensive knowledge about your host country's tax intricacies and how they intersect with your U.S. tax obligations.
Consider the U.K. as an example. While you might come across a handful of firms specializing in the simultaneous filing of U.K. and U.S. taxes, the fees they levy are often exorbitant. The rationale behind this is straightforward: although many Americans in the U.K. need to file taxes in both nations, the pool of competent tax preparers equipped for dual filings is notably limited. In truth, the IRS does not differentiate between countries like the U.K. or Ukraine. Taxes paid abroad are counted the same, regardless of whether they are paid in the U.K. or elsewhere. This principle applies to National Insurance, ISA contributions, QROPS, council tax, and any other element that may appear unique to the U.K.
The only advantage of hiring a single accountant to manage both tax systems is reduced communication. However, the decision to pay two or three times the cost for a unified service, instead of engaging two professionals, is a personal choice that demands a clear understanding of what you are investing in.
Assistance with finding local (non-U.S.) tax preparation firms
If you are uncertain about how to locate a proficient accountant in your host country, we can offer assistance. With clients spanning 193 countries, we have cultivated robust partnerships with reputable local firms across the globe, capable of handling your local (non-U.S.) tax return. All partner firms have garnered recommendations from other clients and have undergone our rigorous vetting process. Feel free to reach out to us, and we will connect you with a suitable local firm.
If you still have questions, we have three dedicated teams who can answer them: