I lived abroad for 13 years and worked there for 9 years, do I need to file taxes for every year I worked there?

I lived abroad for 13 years and worked there for 9 years, do I need to file taxes for every year I worked there?
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#1

When I was 13 (2005) my family moved to the UK. I started working at 18 (2010) and had never filed a US tax return until I moved back to the US at the end of 2018. I recently found out that I was supposed to be filing a return every year, and I have no idea where to start.

Do I need to file a return for every year I have worked?

In the UK the tax year runs from the beginning of April to the end of March, so any documents I could get ahold of would show my earnings between these dates, not the calendar year. Will that suffice?


#2

Hi @david.w.lang92 and welcome to the NerdWallet community! That sounds like an unpleasant surprise! And a complicated one.

If it were me, my first step would be to call the IRS office listed under “how to get tax help” on this guide for U.S. citizens who live abroad:

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/us-citizens-and-resident-aliens-abroad

I think I’d also probably want to consult with a tax preparer (I’d recommend one who is either an enrolled agent – they’re authorized to represent taxpayers in front of the IRS, which means they tend to understand the tax laws, or a CPA or tax attorney), who has experience with people working overseas. You might try clicking on “find a tax expert” on this site, which is the national association of enrolled agents: https://www.naea.org/

Here’s some general information, too, on this situation:

https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc153

Best of luck to you! Do let us know how it all pans out.