General Question

trailsillustrated's avatar

I lived in America and think I might have to file a tax return?

Asked by trailsillustrated (14700 points ) February 1st, 2014

I lived in America and got a divorce settlement, and this was income to me in 2011 and 2013. I think I’m supposed to file a tax return but now I’m in Australia and I’m not ever going to live in the US again, so should I bother? I don’t even know how to do it, or where to begin?

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17 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Not enough information, but legal judgements are not always income. The lawyer you had in the USA would be a place to start asking.
You may have a tax refund to you also.

trailsillustrated's avatar

It was in the settlement that it was to be treated as income, taxable. My kids have us social security numbers so I would be claiming them as dependents.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Sounds like you need to file an income tax return for those years.

bolwerk's avatar

I think by law they have ten years to collect. So if you’re never going back, hope you can shield your assets from them for that long, have at it.

But speaking as someone with some well-to-do family members who are dual U.S.-Forrainer citizens, the IRS does seem to have one fuck of a long arm.

creative1's avatar

@bolwerk They sure do the only country that requires it ex-pats to file a tax return for money they don’t even earn in the country.

trailsillustrated's avatar

@bolwerk I am not at all well to do, I have no assets. I’m thinking I might file and hope I don’t owe, in which case they can whistle for their money, I don’t think they can do anything if your’e gone, and I do know that I earn under the amount in which you are required to file. Thanks all I’m going to do some research to find out how I do this.

trailsillustrated's avatar

^ I still have an active address and bank account over there, should I just file like I’m there?

bolwerk's avatar

@trailsillustrated: think it’s safe to say if you were a resident for those tax years you are supposed to file. No idea how easy it is to get away with not doing it.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

You haven’t provided enough information for me to help you, but here are a couple of starters.

If you have any U.S.-sourced taxable income, you’re required to file returns, report the income, and pay tax. This is true regardless of whether or not you’re physically present within the U.S. If you’re describing property distributions from the marital estate as “divorce settlements,” they’re likely not taxable. If you’re talking about alimony, that’s taxable income.

Where to begin? If you obtained your divorce while you were living in the U.S., you must have hired an attorney? He/she can help you sort through your issues.

GloPro's avatar

How is it considered income when you split already owned assets with a spouse in a divorce? That’s crap. Double taxation, if you ask me. I’m sure whichever one of you earned that income for your family unit paid income taxes on it the first go-round.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

It is considered income if it is alimony or the court says it is income.
@GloPro you are obliviously not an attorney or CPA.

GloPro's avatar

Nope, neither, @Tropical_Willie. My gut tells me that if it was yours to spend when you were married, and you walked away with it in the divorce (earning or deserving it being irrelevant at the moment), then it’s the same darn money. As stated by another response, if it is splitting of assets, it shouldn’t be income… Alimony after divorce isn’t the same at all. But you are correct, if the government says so, best to file. If she is not a citizen but her children are, I’d be interested to know how that works. My J1 and H2B visa staff are always just given their taxes right back, even though we take them out of every check.

trailsillustrated's avatar

^ It was alimony and yes it’s taxable. We all have dual citizenship and none of us are there, I’m going to file but I don’t know whether to file like I’m there or try to find what form I would use from here. Thanks, all PS my attorney charges a fortune to talk to (that’s how I got the settlement in the first place) so I for sure am not asking him :)

2davidc8's avatar

If you don’t want to ask your attorney, why don’t you ask the IRS directly, instead of trying to guess. The IRS tax help line is 1–800-829–1040, and the IRS Taxpayer Advocate line is 1–877-777–4778.

If you have a US bank account, and the IRS discovers that you owe taxes, they can seize the assets in your bank account.

Cupcake's avatar

I agree with calling the IRS directly. You can speak anonymously and then print a transcript of the call to include in your tax filing (if you file).

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

I don’t recommend calling the IRS. Some seasonal employee will answer the phone (after you’ve waited in a queue for maybe 45 minutes), and getting accurate information is a real crapshoot. In fact, if you were to call several different times, you’d likely get inconsistent answers from different employees. There are good, knowledgeable people working for the IRS, but they don’t answer the 800 number during tax season. Your situation isn’t all that simple or straightforward; the people answering the phone are trained to provide information such as “Put the number on Line 14.”

If you don’t want to ask your attorney for help or hire a qualified accountant, I recommend sending a letter to the IRS and putting your questions in writing. Your letter will reach the right hands and get a capable response, plus you’ll be on record as someone who sincerely wants to comply with federal tax law, demonstrating good faith and a lack of willful neglect.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

The “One Eight Hundred” phone call may not work for trailsillustrated ( Australia in not in same country code ) . Here is the US Consulate page in Canberra. It includes a list of US Tax Consultants in all of Australia.

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