American citizens living overseas often need to file U.S. taxes from abroad, even if they don’t owe any money. If you live in Israel, gathering the information you need to complete your taxes from Israeli banking and financial institutions can be tricky since foreign institutions don’t produce 1099 forms. So what is an American living abroad to do?
Dangers of investing overseas
The IRS requires American citizens to disclose information about their investments, no matter where they are held.
The end-of-year statements from your Israeli bank or investment company don’t provide the same information that appears on a standard 1099 – and probably won’t be in English! This means that when filing your American taxes, you (or your accountant) will need to convert currencies, tax brackets, and other information in order to extrapolate the information the IRS needs. While this may not be a deal-breaker, it certainly adds time and effort to tax reporting, not to mention extra fees for accountants. Consider this issue when you are deciding where you want to invest your money.
You Always Have Other Options. YAHOO isn’t only a search engine, but an acronym for a way to look at life… and investing! One possibility is to invest in Israel – but through the United States! There are many Israeli stocks, as well as exchange traded funds that track the Israeli market, which you can buy on the U.S. exchanges. That way, you can manage an internationally diversified portfolio through an American brokerage firm that issues you a year-end 1099. This would certainly make your American tax filing easier.
What you need to know to open a U.S. brokerage account from Israel
Douglas Goldstein, CFP®, is the Director of Profile Investment Service, Ltd., which specializes in helping people who live in Israel with their US dollar assets and American investment and retirement accounts. He helps olim meet their financial goals through asset allocation, financial planning, and using money managers.
Published February 27, 2017.