Form 1116 foreign tax credit. Here's what you need to know

What Is the International Tax Credit score?

The overseas tax credit score is a U.S. tax credit score used to offset revenue tax paid overseas. U.S. residents and resident aliens who pay income taxes imposed by a overseas nation or U.S. possession can declare the credit score. The credit score can scale back your U.S. tax legal responsibility and assist make sure you aren’t taxed twice on the identical revenue.

Key Takeaways The overseas tax credit score is a U.S. tax break that offsets revenue tax paid to different international locations.The credit score is offered to U.S. residents and residents who earn revenue overseas and have paid overseas revenue taxes.International taxes on revenue, wages, dividends, curiosity, and royalties usually qualify for the overseas tax credit score.


International Housing Exclusion or Deduction

Along with the overseas earned revenue exclusion, there may be an exclusion for employer offered housing. For the self-employed, it’s a deduction as an alternative of an exclusion. The quantity of the overseas housing exclusion or deduction is capped at 16 p.c of the overseas earned revenue exclusion. Nevertheless, for sure excessive price overseas cities and international locations, the IRS permits for an elevated most overseas housing exclusion or deduction. The listing of those localities is revealed within the instructions to Form 2555.

Importantly, employer offered housing for functions of this exclusion embody sure tax equalization funds made by an employer and sure schooling bills for dependent kids.  

Step One: Discover Out If You Qualify for the International Tax Credit score

  1. It’s essential to have incurred or paid a overseas tax legal responsibility.
  2. The tax have to be assessed on revenue.
  3. The tax have to be imposed on you as a person.
  4. The tax should have originated legally out of the country.

How Does the International Tax Credit score Work?

For example, suppose Jorge and Roberta personal a home in Germany, and Jorge can also be employed there. He pays $6,000 to Germany in revenue tax for the 2021 tax 12 months. Jorge can declare a U.S. tax credit score on his 2021 tax return for that $6,000. His credit score could be restricted to $3,000, nonetheless, if Jorge had been solely to earn that a lot and for some motive had been to pay extra in taxes.

Now suppose that Jorge and Roberta pay property tax on their residence in Germany residence annually. The tax is imposed on them, they usually pay it. The quantity paid is the authorized and precise quantity of their tax legal responsibility, however this tax isn't eligible for the overseas tax credit score as a result of it's not really an revenue tax.

It was that Jorge and Roberta might deduct these property taxes as an itemized deduction for actual property taxes, however that tax provision was eradicated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in 2018.

Claiming the Little one Tax Credit score

The US Child Tax Credit modified as a part of the current tax reform, permitting expats with kids who’ve US social safety numbers to assert both a $2,000 tax credit score per youngster, or, if they’ve already decreased their US tax invoice to zero utilizing tax credit, a refundable $1,400 refundable tax credit score (i.e. fee) per youngster.

Expat mother and father who declare the International Earned Revenue Exclusion usually can’t declare the refundable youngster tax credit although, that means expat mother and father who might eradicate their US tax legal responsibility by both claiming the International Earned Revenue Exclusion or the International Tax Credit score could also be higher off claiming the latter in order that they will declare the refundable Little one Tax Credit score too.

When ought to expats declare the International Tax Credit score?

Not all expats can, or ought to, declare the Foreign Tax Credit.

For instance, some expats both stay in a rustic the place the revenue tax charges are decrease than within the US, or transfer between international locations with out establishing tax residence in any single one, in order that they aren’t required to file overseas taxes in any respect. (corresponding to many American Digital Nomads).

If expats pay overseas revenue tax at a decrease price than the US price, claiming the US International Tax Credit score received’t eradicate their US tax legal responsibility, as they will solely declare US tax credit based mostly on the worth of overseas revenue tax that they’ve paid, so that they must pay some US tax too (the distinction between the overseas tax they’ve paid and the US tax they owe).

Expats corresponding to Digital Nomads who don’t pay any overseas tax as they’re shifting from nation to nation with out establishing tax residency in any single one, or expats who stay in a rustic that doesn’t cost revenue taxes (both in any respect, or on revenue not paid in that nation), received’t have the ability to declare the International Tax Credit score.

Different IRS provisions exist to assist these expats scale back (and hopefully eradicate) their US tax invoice, notably the International Earned Revenue Exclusion.

The International Earned Revenue Exclusion permits expats to easily exclude the primary round $100,000 of their earned revenue from US taxation. The precise quantity is elevated just a little annually based mostly on inflation.

Earned revenue contains all revenue that’s paid for providers offered, corresponding to salaries, wages, self-employment revenue, suggestions, and bonuses, however not passive revenue corresponding to dividends, curiosity, rental or pension revenue, or social safety advantages, capital positive aspects, or alimony.

(The International Tax Credit score alternatively doesn’t distinguish between earned and unearned revenue, as long as overseas revenue taxes have been paid on it.)

To say the International Earned Revenue Exclusion, expats should additionally display that they meet one in all two IRS definitions of residing overseas. The primary is that they spend not less than 330 full days in a 365 day interval that’s usually the tax 12 months outdoors of the US (that is referred to as the Physical Presence Test), and the second is that they’re a everlasting resident out of the country (that is referred to as the Bona Fide Residence Test).

Expats who earn over $100,000 and who lease their residence overseas can moreover exclude a proportion of their housing bills by claiming the Foreign Housing Exclusion (or the International Housing Deduction for self-employed expats). Each the International Earned Revenue Exclusion and the International Housing Exclusion (and Deduction) might be claimed on IRS Type 2555.

Typically, expats who stay in a single overseas nation and pay overseas revenue tax at the next price than the US price on all of their world revenue are usually greatest off claiming the International Tax Credit score. Expats who both don’t pay overseas taxes or who pay them at a decrease price, whose solely revenue is earned (and doesn’t exceed over $100,000), and who can meet both the Bodily Presence Check or the Bona Fide Residence Check are usually higher off claiming the International Earned Revenue Exclusion.

Expats whose circumstances don’t match into both of the above classes might have to assert a mix of IRS provisions, and should still find yourself owing some US tax.

The underside line is that no expat ought to find yourself paying greater than the upper of the 2 revenue tax charges that they’re topic to in whole. All expats ought to search recommendation from a US expat tax specialist although to make sure that they pay the least potential tax that they should.

US International Tax Credit score Calculation

Your tax credit score can’t be greater than your whole U.S. tax legal responsibility multiplied by a fraction. The numerator of the fraction is your taxable revenue from sources outdoors the USA. The denominator is your whole taxable revenue from U.S. and overseas sources.


With the intention to see how a lot you possibly can declare, please multiply the full quantity of your overseas supply taxable revenue (earlier than tax exemptions) with the full US tax it is advisable pay.

For the tax 12 months, George made $100,000 within the US, but in addition made $50,000 in Italy (after changing Euros to US {Dollars}). He additionally owes $10,000 in US taxes.

Due to this fact, George’s whole revenue is $150,000 and one-third of that revenue ($50,000) is foreign-sourced. He can obtain $3,300 as the utmost credit score ($10,000 x 1/3).

International Withholding Taxes

Many international locations, the USA included, wish to tax shareholders of companies integrated inside their boundaries on the dividends they obtain. For home shareholders, that’s comparatively straightforward. Home shareholders will file tax returns in the identical jurisdiction because the paying company. However what occurs if, for instance, a Japanese company pays a dividend to a person who lives in the USA?

Japan (happily) doesn’t require a U.S. shareholder to file a tax return in Japan. Nevertheless, the Japanese authorities requires the Japanese company to withhold a share of the dividend initially payable to the shareholder and pay it to the federal government. If the shareholder is an American, the rate of withholding is mostly 10 p.c. Right here is an illustrative instance:

Instance: Tony is an American citizen. He owns 100 shares of Toyota inventory in a taxable account. Toyota is integrated in Japan. Toyota pays a dividend to its shareholders (in Yen) in an quantity equal to $1.00 per share ($100 whole to Tony). Beneath the U.S. – Japan tax treaty, Toyota should withhold ten p.c of the dividend ($10) and remit it to the Japanese authorities. Thus, Tony receives a $90 internet dividend from Toyota.

Qualifying for FTC

How are you going to make sure you qualify for the International Tax Credit score? First, guarantee that taxes you’re paying within the overseas nation you’re working in, is imposed on you. That means, by legislation you need to pay taxes out of the country and so, you carry ahead this accountability.

Then, solely a sure sort of funds can qualify for this credit score. In the commonest case, it’s private revenue, which incorporates all the things from wages, and enterprise revenue to funding revenue.

By utilizing the International Tax Credit score, you’re lowering your US taxable revenue as an American overseas. Moreover, while you use the FTC for credit score onto your individual US taxes, you reduce the burden of your US tax legal responsibility.

If you wish to deduct your overseas taxes, you possibly can fill out Type 1040 (Schedule A – Itemized Deductions). Nevertheless, we suggest towards this because it often leads to a decrease discount than the International Tax Credit score method.

As soon as for a truth you wish to make the most of the International Tax Credit score, you possibly can fill out Type 1116, or simply use our on-line software program to get it executed easily! In case you personal an organization overseas, you should use Type 1118 for Companies.

Necessities for the International Tax Credit score

Not all taxes paid to a overseas authorities are eligible for the overseas tax credit score. Ask your self the next questions to search out out if you happen to qualify:

  • Is the tax imposed on you personally?
  • Did you pay the tax?
  • Is the tax a authorized and precise overseas tax legal responsibility?
  • Is the tax an revenue tax or a tax in lieu of an revenue tax?

The IRS refers to those questions as "checks." It’s essential to affirmatively move every of them. You received't qualify if you happen to can't reply sure to all 4 of those questions.

The character of the tax issues as nicely. You would possibly meet all of the above standards however nonetheless not have the ability to declare the overseas tax credit score due to a couple causes:

  • The tax was refundable or in any other case returned to you as a subsidy to you or a member of your loved ones.
  • Paying the tax wasn't required by legislation.
  • The tax was withheld from dividends, positive aspects, or revenue that didn't meet the required minimal holding durations.

How Do the International Tax Credit score and International Earned Revenue Exclusion Differ?

Two methods to keep away from double taxation on the revenue you earn whereas residing overseas are the overseas tax credit score and the foreign earned income exclusion. A key distinction is the revenue to which every applies. The overseas tax credit score applies to each earned and unearned revenue, corresponding to dividends and curiosity. Conversely, the overseas earned revenue exclusion applies solely to earned revenue.

International Tax Credit score limitations guidelines for U.S. residents overseas

There are a couple of overseas tax credit score limitations for U.S. expats — you possibly can’t simply declare it on any revenue earned overseas. To say the credit score:

  • The tax have to be imposed on you
  • It’s essential to have paid or accrued the tax
  • The tax have to be the authorized and precise overseas tax legal responsibility
  • The tax have to be an revenue tax (or a tax in lieu of an revenue tax)

The tax have to be imposed on you

If paying taxes to your resident nation isn’t obligatory, you received’t qualify for the FTC. The tax should be imposed on you—for instance, if you happen to stay in Australia and Australian taxes are robotically deducted out of your paycheck, that’s thought-about to be an revenue tax imposed on you.

It’s essential to have paid or accrued the overseas tax

It’s essential to have already paid or accrued the overseas tax. In case you haven’t paid it, accrued it, or usually are not liable for paying it, you received’t qualify.

The tax have to be the authorized and precise overseas tax legal responsibility

That is fairly self-explanatory. In case you pay taxes to a overseas nation, so as to use the FTC the tax have to be a authorized tax and also you have to be required to pay the tax. If, for instance, you’re a digital nomad that has no present nation of residence and thus no imposed revenue taxes, you wouldn’t have the ability to declare the FTC.

The tax have to be an revenue tax

With the intention to declare the FTC, you need to have paid revenue taxes to a overseas nation. The IRS states the next kinds of overseas taxes usually are not eligible for the FTC:

  • Taxes on excluded revenue (for instance, if you happen to’ve already used the overseas earned revenue exclusion)
  • Taxes refundable to you
  • Taxes paid to a overseas nation deemed to assist worldwide terrorism
  • Taxes for which you’ll solely take an itemized deduction
  • Taxes on overseas mineral revenue
  • Taxes from worldwide boycott operations
  • A portion of taxes on mixed overseas oil and fuel revenue
  • Taxes associated to a overseas tax splitting occasion
  • Social safety taxes paid or accrued to a overseas nation with which the USA has a social safety settlement.

Watch out—the IRS has stipulations on what counts as a overseas “revenue” tax. For instance, up till not too long ago, overseas tax credit score guidelines acknowledged Americans living in France couldn’t declare a tax credit score on French Generalized Social Contribution Taxes. Why? As a result of the IRS didn’t contemplate them revenue taxes. The IRS has since changed its stance and now U.S. expats in France could declare the FTC to offset these French taxes. One other instance is the solidarity tax that dietary supplements revenue taxes in Germany.

Some expats stay in international locations that shouldn’t have an revenue tax, just like the UAE, however produce other types of taxes. In case you paid overseas taxes in lieu of revenue taxes, you continue to might be able to offset them with the FTC. Taxes that qualify have to be a overseas levy imposed instead of an revenue tax. Every situation in every nation is totally different, so we suggest you allow the International Tax Credit score limitations and guidelines to the specialists.

What are the {qualifications} for claiming the overseas tax credit score?

The IRS units 4 particular situations that any overseas revenue taxes should meet to ensure that you to have the ability to declare the overseas tax credit score.

1. The tax have to be imposed upon you

To qualify, you personally have to be liable for paying the tax. In case you inherit a fortress from a long-lost royal relative, for instance, and estate tax is owed, that received’t rely as a result of it’ll be the property that pays the tax and never you personally. However if in case you have revenue tax withheld from wages paid to you for pulling pints in that Irish pub, that might qualify.

2. It’s essential to have paid or accrued the tax

This one sounds a bit redundant after the primary situation, but it surely mainly signifies that you need to have really both paid the tax already or have an impressive tax invoice with the overseas authorities.

3. The tax have to be the authorized and precise overseas tax legal responsibility

The quantity of tax you paid to the overseas authorities isn’t essentially the quantity of tax that can qualify for the credit score. You’ll should account for any refund you may need acquired for that tax. For instance, if you happen to get a refund from the overseas authorities for any of the overseas taxes that you just’ve paid, you must low cost this quantity out of your overseas tax invoice. For instance, if you happen to paid $1,000 in overseas taxes however the overseas authorities refunded $400 of that to you, you need to exclude that refund quantity when calculating your overseas tax credit score, which might be $600 on this instance.

4. The tax have to be an revenue tax

You possibly can declare a overseas tax credit score for revenue taxes (and different taxes imposed as revenue taxes) that you just’ve accrued or paid to a overseas authorities. Different kinds of overseas taxes don’t qualify.

Yet one more vital factor to notice: Revenue you earn in sure international locations received’t qualify for the credit score — even if you happen to meet different standards.

Your revenue received’t qualify if the nation the place you earned it …

  • Has been designated by the U.S. Secretary of State as repeatedly offering assist for worldwide terrorism (presently, North Korea, Iran, Sudan and Syria are designated as state sponsors of terrorism)
  • Both doesn’t have diplomatic relations with the U.S. or has had its relationship severed by the U.S.
  • Has a authorities that the U.S. doesn’t acknowledge (although there’s an exception if the nation’s authorities is eligible to purchase protection articles or providers beneath the Arms Export Management Act).
Learn about federal income tax deductions

How do I declare the overseas tax credit score?

You’ll want to gather all of the details about the overseas taxes you’ve paid that will help you resolve your greatest technique going ahead.

Varieties you’ll want

With the intention to declare the overseas tax credit score, you’ll usually have to fill out Type 1116. However you might not have to fill out the shape if you happen to meet all these situations:

  • In case you earned passive overseas revenue solely, corresponding to curiosity or dividends from investments
  • If all of the revenue and any overseas taxes you paid on that revenue had been reported on a “certified payee assertion” solely, corresponding to a Type 1099-INT, 1099-DIV or Schedule Ok-1
  • In case your whole creditable overseas taxes aren’t greater than $300 (or $600 if you happen to’re married and submitting collectively)

In case you meet all three of those standards, you possibly can merely declare the overseas tax credit score on line 48 of Schedule 3 with out having to file Type 1116. In case you’re in a position to declare the credit score with out submitting Type 1116, you should use Credit score Karma Tax®, a free on-line tax preparation and submitting service, to do your federal revenue taxes and declare the overseas tax credit score. In case your quantity of overseas taxes is greater than $300 (or $600 if married submitting collectively), you received’t have the ability to declare the credit score utilizing Credit score Karma Tax® because it doesn’t assist Type 1116.

Are you able to carry it ahead?

The overseas tax credit score is nonrefundable, so if you happen to scale back your U.S. tax invoice all the best way right down to zero and you continue to have some leftover credit score, you possibly can’t get the surplus credit score as a refund. However you might be able to carry the remaining unused credit score ahead for as much as 10 years.

Tax carryovers assist you to declare an unused credit score or extra portion of a used credit score on a future tax return. You can even select to file an amended return from the earlier 12 months as nicely, if you want. However if you happen to meet the standards to skip utilizing the Type 1116 and resolve to assert the credit score with out it, you received’t have the ability to carry ahead or carry again any unused credit score.