The Big 5 Expat Tax Firms
Updated: Aug 18
There are plenty of good firms out there that can help you with your US tax filings. The questions a lot of expats ask are - do you need a professional expat tax service and which one is right for you?
There are millions of US citizens living and working all around the globe and the majority are required to file a US tax return every year despite being a resident of a foreign country.
The reality is that as a US citizen you have a lifelong relationship with the IRS no matter where you live.
Do I need to file a US tax return?
If you have income from wages, self employment (US or non US), rental, interest or dividend income, there is a good chance your worldwide income exceeds the filing threshold (which depends on your filing status).
(We outline the thresholds for each filing status in more detail here)
Do I need to use an expat tax service?
Filing your taxes from abroad can be a lot more complex than when you were living back home.
Aside from having to consider everything from currency conversions to bright-line tests and FBARS to Form 8938, most expats will need to decide how to use the available exclusions and credits to avoid double taxation.
Based on your circumstances, your expat tax professional will advise you of the correct exclusions or credits (eg Foreign Earned Income Exclusion or Foreign Tax Credit). To avoid serious penalties for innocent mistakes, most expats hire the services of a good expat tax firm.
"American expats don’t necessarily owe the U.S. any tax: They can deduct taxes paid to host countries, which are often higher, or take an exemption. But they have to file returns and disclosures regardless, at a significant cost in accounting fees, nuisance and needless anxiety. The rules are often unclear, and foreign employers and financial institutions don’t report the numbers in the way the Internal Revenue Service prefers. The penalties for even innocent mistakes can be draconian." Bloomberg
Which service do I choose?
Most people have heard of the Big 4 consultancy firms (PwC, E&Y, KPMG and Deloitte). These huge firms typically prepare tax returns for employees of their larger clients or seriously high net worth individuals with complex tax situations. Their fees can often run into tens of thousands of dollars.
If you do not fall into this category then you need to choose one of the Big 5 expat tax firms:
Taxes for Expats
Greenback Expat Tax Services
Most American expats choose a Big 5 expat tax firm to prepare their taxes for the following reasons:
Experience - highly knowledgable tax preparers with decades of expat tax expertise.
Service - customer focused with user friendly processes.
Security - your data is secured with bank level protection.
Accuracy - your tax return will typically be reviewed by at least two tax professionals.
Online - no cumbersome pdf questionnaires to fill out.
Communication - direct access to the enrolled agent or CPA preparing your taxes.
All the Big 5 expat tax firms typically offer a good quality, professional service and are highly rated by their clients.
USTaxGlobal was founded by ex Big 4 senior directors and passes significant savings on to its clients compared to the other Big 5 firms as a result of its streamlined business processes which allow its seasoned tax experts to prepare your tax return efficiently and accurately.
Bright!Tax has clients in over 190 countries and has helped thousands of Americans file their US taxes from abroad, smoothly, in their best interests, online, and on time.
H&R Block is a large company whose tax team includes CPAs, tax attorneys, enrolled agents, and expat tax professionals who are well versed in the U.S. tax system and fluent in all the different expat filing requirements.
Taxes For Expats is focused solely on American taxpayers living outside of the United States, and they have created a simple tax return process that offers flat-free pricing for most returns, along with secure uploading for documents and information.
Greenback Expat Tax Services offers convenience in providing a secure data portal where customers can easily upload their tax documents. Greenback Expat Tax Services also offer a flat fee for all basic IRS expat tax returns.
Fees comparison for comparable 2019 tax filing packages
The bottom line is that all the Big 5 expat tax firms offer a highly rated, good quality service and use technology forward processes to make the user experience as seamless and pain free as possible.
USTaxGlobal prides itself on offering the most Simple, Secure and Affordable expat tax service in the industry. Founded by industry vets to offer high quality tax preparation at a reasonable cost for expats with relatively simple tax situations.
USTaxGlobal partners with OneTreePlanted as part of its commitment to improving the environment we work, live and travel in. Five trees are planted for every tax return prepared.
Take our 30 second tax quiz to see if you qualify here.