While I understand I don't owe any taxes based on the foreign earned income exclusion act. I think I still have the duty of doing the paper work of filling.

I don't want to risk getting into any trouble upon my return but it seems every filling service I try requires a W2. Not sure what do to do.

If anyone could give me some useful tips from experience, much appreciation.

  • @mhoran_psprep yes i am a US permanent resident working abroad. But not for any US companies, hence i don't have a w2 form. – Jacky Wang May 7 '16 at 12:00
  • I added the appropriate tag – mhoran_psprep May 7 '16 at 12:01
  • Have you tried the IRS "Free Fillable Forms"? I use it for my return - domestic business income & investments, so no W2 - and it works OK. – jamesqf May 7 '16 at 16:59

You will need to file your tax return (form 1040) with the form 2555/2555-EZ attached to it. Usually, retail tax preparation services, especially on-line websites, are not tailored for such a unique need and people working there are likely not train to understand what it is that you're talking about. If you're up to doing the research yourself you can use the IRS free fillable forms or just mail in paper return which you can fill manually. Otherwise, check with a local US-licensed tax prepare or find a US-based tax prepare working with expats.

@Eric raises a good point - this is a good time to remind you that you also need to file FBAR (separately of the tax return) and maybe other reports.

  • Turbotax handles the foreign earned income exclusion just fine. – Eric May 8 '16 at 1:28
  • @Eric but it cost money, does'n't it? I remember it was 59.99 when I tried to file a 1040 on it. Did your experience differ? – Jacky Wang May 9 '16 at 1:02
  • @JackyWang It's not free. I don't know what their cheapest option is that handles the earned income exclusion. My point is simply that their service can handle it correctly since littleadv was saying online services don't typically handle it correctly. – Eric May 9 '16 at 11:22
  • @Eric It's been a while since I needed it, but when I did need it TurboTax were not able to provide the relevant forms. Since then I know that some forms were added (notably FBAR), but my personal experience was not as positive as you describe. – littleadv May 10 '16 at 5:53
  • @littleadv It would be good to mention the need to file FBAR in your answer since that has the scarier penalties. – Eric May 13 '16 at 19:54

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