I have saved up $45,000.00 in the bank in the Philippines and I would like to bring them back to US as a returning US Citizen. Will I be taxed for this money I saved up?


The short answer is that there is no US tax due if all you are doing is moving assets held abroad to the US. Whether you are a "returning" US citizen (or will continue your residence in the Philippines) is not relevant to this.

The long answer is that you may be liable for a lot of other fines and taxes if you have not been doing any of several things correctly. As a US citizen, you are required to declare your worldwide income on your US income tax returns.

  • Have you been filing US income tax returns during your time abroad? and have you been declaring the income that you have received from non-US sources each year? This includes wages, interest, dividends, capital gains, rental income from real estate, gambling income, lottery winnings, Nobel prizes, everything. If you have been paying income tax to other countries on this income, then it is generally possible to get a deduction for this tax payment from the income that will be taxed by the US (or a credit for the tax payment against your US Federal income tax liability) depending on the existence of tax treaties or (when the US Senate refuses to approve a tax treaty) a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement between the US and other countries. In some cases, foreign earned income up to a certain limit is not taxed by the US at all.

  • Even if you have been filing US income tax returns correctly, and can thus account for the $45,000 in your savings account, or you received that money as a gift or inheritance and can account for it on that basis, have you been filing reports with the US Treasury since the year when the total value of all your foreign bank accounts and other financial assets (stocks and bonds etc but not real estate) first exceeded $10,000? In prior years, this was a matter of filling out and submitting Form TD F 90-22.1 but more recently (since 2010?), you need to fill out and submit FinCEN Form 114. Have you been submitting the required documentation all along? Note that there are severe penalties for failure to fine FinCEN Form 114, and these penalties do not get waived by tax treaties.

  • There also are reporting requirements if you received payments from a foreign trust or had set up a foreign trust of your own, but this is more uncommon and I won't bother putting in the details.

In summary, you might (or you might not) have several other tax or legal issues to worry about than just taxes on the transfer of your money from the Philippines to the US.

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