Taxes & Money

irs-expats-philippinesWhat do I do about filing my US Income Tax forms?

I suggest finding a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) who knows the IRS rules associated with expats living outside the Continental United States, That is a CPA who has been taking care of other Expats for more than ten years. If your taxes are fairly straight-forward with no major itemizations, you might want to consider doing them yourself using software which is IRS approved.  The software walks you through the process, checks all the math and then you can either print and send the forms or send them electronically to both the IRS and your State tax board.  The two major companies offering this are;

Turbo Tax Preparation Software
and
Tax Act Free Software

You can also compare the various tax software reviews here;
Tax Software @ Reviews.com

Is there a way we can make money while living in the Philippines?

The short answer to this is that the best way to make money while living in the Philippines is to make it online, with overseas clients.  If you are savvy on web-tech you can consider affiliate programs tied in to a web site.  Some vloggers make a little extra income doing Youtube videos and getting paid by Adsense.  But this is not considered a big money maker for most people, a hundred dollars a month for most people.  A good resource where you can do some good brain-storming is at www.smartpassiveincome.com .  There are lots of articles there on how to make money online.

If you are considering a brick-and-mortar business in the Philippines, the odds are somewhat stacked against you.  That being said, many expats have made a good living with a small resort, jet-ski rentals, refreshment booths on the beach or a restaurant.  Following are two videos which go into detail on doing business in the Philippines..

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Can I receive my Social Security checks after moving to the Philippines?

The answer to this is “Yes”.  I suggest having them deposited directly into your USA bank, then all you have to do is transfer money once a month for your needs to your bank in the Philippines. You can also set up direct deposit to a bank in the Philippines, but Social Security will only deposit to a dollar account not a Peso account.  So when you go to the bank make sure you tell them you need a dollar account so you can deposit your ss checks there. You can also get your residency here in the Philippine sand still receive your pension and social security checks.

Here’s are a couple of  quotes from the Social Security Administration web site:

If your full retirement age is older than 65 (that is, you were born after 1937), you still will be able to take your retirement benefits at age 62, but the reduction in your benefit amount will be greater than it is for people retiring now.

If you are 62 years old you can apply to receive Social Security retirement benefits  as an individual or as a spouse on a husband or wife’s record. Additionally, an applicant may be entitled to file for social security retirement benefits on the record of another individual as a divorced spouse or widowed spouse provided they were were married to that individual for ten years or more. Widows and Widowers may be entitled to a survivor benefit at the age of sixty provided they have not remarried before the age of 60. Also, a disabled widow or widower may receive a disability benefit on the record of a deceased spouse at age 50 provided they have not remarried prior to age 50.

I have listed the US Social Security web site and phone number for your convenience. http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10035.html
http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/retirechart.htm

1-800-772-1213

Can I receive my Pension at my overseas location?

This is also a “Yes”.  You can have it deposited directly into your bank in the United states and withdraw it with your ATM card.  But there will likely be fees per withdrawal of over $4 per transaction, so it is best to make a monthly transfer to your Philippines bank to avoid this.  Check to see if your pension can be deposited directly into your foreign bank dollar account as long as it is in your or your spouses name.

Can a foreign national or corporations own property and homes in the Philippines?

Foreigners owning a house or building in the Philippines is legal as long as the foreigner doesn’t own the land on which the house is built.  The land can be Leased, but the home will be surrendered/lost at the end of the Lease so make it good for several decades and have a Philippines attorney draw it up for you so it is iron-clad.

The Condominium Act of the Philippines, R.A. 4726, expressly allows foreigners to acquire condominium units and shares in condominium corporations up to not more than 40% of the total and outstanding capital stock of a Filipino owned or controlled condominium corporation. However, there are a very few single-detached homes or Townhouses in the Philippines with condominium titles. Most condominiums are high rise buildings.

If holding a title as an individual, a typical situation would be that a foreigner married to a Filipino citizen would hold title in the Filipino spouse’s name. The foreign spouse’s name cannot be on the Title but can be on the contract to buy the property. In the event of death of the Filipino spouse, the foreign spouse is allowed a reasonable amount of time to dispose of the property and collect the proceeds or the property will pass to any Filipino heirs and or relatives.

Former natural-born Filipinos who are now naturalized citizens of another country can buy and register, under their own name, land in the Philippines but limited in land area. However, those who avail of the Dual Citizenship Law in the Philippines can buy as much as any other Filipino citizen. Under Republic Act 9225 (Philippines Dual Citizenship Law of 2003), former Filipinos who became naturalized citizens of foreign countries are deemed not to have lost their Philippine citizenship, thus enabling them to enjoy all the rights and privileges of a Filipino regarding land ownership in the Philippines.

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