How to Report Foreign Income without a W-2
As an American living overseas, filing your U.S. taxes can seem like a complicated, overwhelming task—and reporting foreign income without a W-2 only adds to the complexity.
If you’re one of the thousands of U.S. expats wondering how taxes work when you don’t receive a W-2, we’re here to brighten your day. The good news is that yes, you can still file your U.S. taxes without a W-2. The bad news is that, depending on the country you live in and whether you’re claiming any exclusions of credits, it may take some detective work and a lot of math. The silver lining? H&R Block is here to help.
Filing without a W-2 may mean more work, but you’re in good hands. Whether you file expat taxes by yourself or file with an advisor, H&R Block is here to help. Ready to file? Head on over to our Ways to File page to check out your options.
Common foreign versions of the U.S. W-2
If you’re a U.S. citizen working overseas and you don’t have a W-2 come tax time, don’t worry. The first thing you should do is find out if your country has a version of (or something similar to) the American W-2. Many countries that charge income tax do. If you’re in a country that does, you’re in luck — you’ve just cut down on the number of documents you need to rifle through and math you have to do.
Below are a few common foreign W-2 counterparts we encounter, but this is by no means a complete list:
- Great Britain – Form P60
- Canada – T4 slip
- Australia – PAYG payment summary
- Germany – Income tax certificate (Ausdruck der Lohnsteuerbescheinigung)
- Japan – Japanese tax statement (Gensen-Choshu-Hyo)
- Singapore – IR8A
- Switzerland – Salary Certificate
- Philippines – BIR Form 2316
- Mexico – Form 37, Annual Constancy of Wages and Salaries (Constancia de sueldos, Salarios, Conceptos asimilados, Crédito al salario y Subsidio al para el empleo)
You should know that if your current country has a different tax year than the U.S. (like the U.K., for example) you may not be able to copy and paste your income information. For example, if you had an Australian PAYG payment summary we would also ask for the year-to-date information from your pay slips to calculate income for the U.S. tax year.
How to file U.S. taxes without a W-2 (or the foreign version of one)
If you’re not in a country that has a year-end tax assessment document or something similar to the W-2, you’re going to have to calculate your income and taxes owed based on your pay stubs, bank records, investment reports, travel receipts, and other documentation. Then — just like you would for regular income — you’d enter your earned income on your IRS Form 1040.
Here’s where it gets tricky — once you’ve added up your income, you’ll have to figure out your exclusions and credits. The U.S. helps prevent expats from paying taxes twice on the same income (once in their country of residence and once back in the States) by providing two tools: the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE) and the Foreign Tax Credit (FTC). They help expats in different ways — the FEIE allows you to exclude up to a certain amount of income from your U.S. taxes while the FTC gives you a dollar-for-dollar credit on taxes paid to a foreign country.
To claim these, you’ll first have to qualify. If you do, you’ll have to file additional tax forms ( Form 2555 for the FEIE and Form 1116 for the FTC) and attach them to your 1040. You’d then report the FEIE it on your Schedule 1, Line 8, and the
FTC on Schedule 3, Line 1.
These by no means are the only forms you may have to file. Even if you have a foreign version of a W-2, you may have to report money in foreign accounts. If you have a foreign mutual fund or own a foreign business (or are a shareholder in one) you’ll have even more reporting requirements.
Reporting foreign income without a W-2? H&R Block’s Expat Tax Services is here to help.
If the above makes your stomach churn, you can relax — with H&R Block, you can easily file your U.S. taxes and report foreign income without a W-2. With multiple ways to file, you can be as hands-off or hands-on as you like — in the driver’s seat with our DIY expat tax service or let one of our tax advisors guide you each step of the way.
Don’t know what tax forms you need to file? No problem! After we collect some basic information, we’ll give you a checklist. Here’s how to file your U.S. expat taxes online:
- Head over to our Ways to File page
- Pick your journey—in the driver’s seat with our online DIY tool or letting a Tax Advisor take the wheel.
- Once you’re through your chosen journey, you review your return and pay
- We file your return with the IRS
- You sit back knowing your taxes were done right
Ready to get started on your U.S. taxes? No matter where in the world you are, we’ve got a tax solution for you. Get started with our made-for-expats online expat tax services today!