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How US expats file taxes and FBAR quicker on MyExpatTaxes with Google Travel and Calendar

A Californian Creativity #CaliCreativity guide for American expatriates

· CaliCreativity,MyExpatTaxes,Expat Finances,Travel Talk 213,Google Workspace
 MyExpatTaxes.com Google Workspace Calendar Travel Elias213.com Californian Creativity Course CaliCreativityCourse.co

I’m Elías Jabbe, founder of 213 Communications, LLC and the Californian Creativity Course teaching the art of Online Storytelling (CaliCreativityCourse.co).

This is my story of navigating filing my taxes with MyExpatTaxes.com during a journey of six years living abroad after relocating from my native Los Ángeles, California. During these years I explored Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe and accomplished my goal of continuing my career journey abroad as an American expatriate based in Paris, France and Dubai, United Arab Emirates and student of the French and Arabic languages.

Use my promo code CALICREATIVITY while filing your taxes with MyExpatTaxes for a 10% discount and use my advice in this guide regarding creatively using California-made products provided by Google to simplify your tax filing process.

You can also receive a 20% discount when setting up your Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) account to create a custom business email like the one featured in this guide (Hi@Elias213.com).

Learn how to launch with Google Workspace here and save 20% off the Business Starter plan ($6 USD per user monthly) by using the code CAHUPLUXT9MFF3C or the Business Standard plan ($12 USD per user monthly) by using the code P3WLXDFRW3E9TNL.

If you’re reading this, it’s not too late.

Any American living abroad or repatriate who hasn’t handled their paperwork during tax season can request an extended deadline of December 15 to file their 2019 taxes. Filing for several years before 2019 is also possible with MyExpatTaxes through the Streamlined Procure package. The deadline for filing the FBAR (Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts) has been extended to October 31, except for those impacted by natural disasters: their new deadline is December 31.

MyExpatTaxes has published a resourceful guide explaining FBAR procedures on its blog here.

 

After having received a wide range of advice while working in cities that have relatively large populations of fellow American expats (Paris) and much smaller communities of Americans (Dubai), I know how ambiguous the expat tax filing process can seem.

I also realize that I’m far from the only one in this situation. According to an article published by the Association of Americans Resident Overseas (AARO) that cites 2016 data from the US State Department, around 8.7 million Americans live abroad. The benefits of this experience overseas are many.

MyExpatTaxes cofounder and my fellow California native Nathalie Goldstein said it best in a 2019 feature with The American Transatlantic Magazine titled “Do your own Expat Taxes!”: living abroad allows you to be “completely out of your comfort zone” and “create an entirely new life for yourself.”

Thanks to MyExpatTaxes and its Streamlined Procedure package that offers the ability to combine filing taxes and the FBAR, I found the solution I was looking for: filing my taxes quickly with a DIY platform that charges a fixed price (149 Euro including VAT per year).

Thanks to MyExpatTaxes and its Streamlined Procedure package that offers the ability to combine filing taxes and the FBAR, I found the solution I was looking for: filing my taxes quickly with a DIY platform that charges a fixed price (149 Euro including VAT per year).

This #CaliCreativity guide is for:

• every American expat seeking understanding on how to keep up with filing taxes while abroad

• every American expat who has traveled frequently for work or leisure while based overseas

• every American considering working abroad or becoming a digital nomad in the future

Here is how digital platforms like Google Travel and Google Calendar can help you save a significant amount of time while filing your taxes, FBAR or FEIE on MyExpatTaxes.

Tracking Travel

One of the steps for those filing their taxes using the MyExpatTaxes Streamlined Procedure package is reporting all international travel. The screenshot below focuses on this aspect.
 

At first, I thought the process would take long to finish.

Travel has played a very important role in my journey that’s involved working in the tourism industry in Europe and the Middle East, teaching my Californian Creativity Course series in countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and capturing travel photography and videos for my Travel Talk 213 initiative. The thought of manually searching for every trip in order to find beginning and end dates wasn’t something I wanted to focus on.
 

If you share my experience of frequently traveling to countries near to where you have been based as an expatriate, you know how hard it is to track all the details of your past trips.

Fortunately, I found a way to creatively use California-made platforms like Google Calendar and Google Travel to quickly finish my filings on MyExpatTaxes!
MyExpatTaxes Travel records International Trips Elias Jabbe Elias213.com Californian Creativity CaliCreativityCourse.co

Here are two ways to quickly find all of your previous travels if you have a Google Workspace account or even just use Gmail and Google Calendar.

Google Calendar

Because I use Gmail as part of my Google Workspace business account for my website Elias213.com, I have been able to track all of my flight and hotel reservations via Google Calendar. Emails featuring travel details are conveniently imported into the calendar automatically.
 

Below are the steps for quickly finding previous trips by using Google Workspace or Gmail in order to report them on your MyExpatTaxes form. The following images match each step of the process.

1) Visit Calendar.Google.com or open the Google Calendar mobile app

2) Activate integration between your Gmail account's travel reservation emails and Google Calendar

3) Tap the magnifying glass “Search” icon 🔍 at the top of the screen and type in “flight” or “hotel” and then hit Enter

4) Find your flight on the calendar on your desktop or phone (second image and third image below) or hotel reservation (fourth image below) by clicking the calendar icon 📆 or the email icon ✉️ to open your Google Workspace or Gmail message with details on your hotel booking

Google Calendar and Gmail integration - Google Workplace Elias Jabbe Elias213.com Californian Creativity guide #CaliCreativity
Google Calendar - Flight keyword search MyExpatTaxes Californian Creativity #CaliCreativity guide Elias Jabbe Elias213.com
Google Calendar - mobile flight keyword search MyExpatTaxes Californian Creativity #CaliCreativity guide Elias Jabbe Elias213.com
Google Calendar - hotel keyword search MyExpatTaxes Californian Creativity #CaliCreativity guide Elias Jabbe Elias213.com

Google Travel

A second option that will help you visualize your travel memories and find every beginning and end date is using Google Travel. This platform deserves bonus points for its layout that shows spectacular views of cities you have traveled to.
 

Follow these steps to find your travel history linked to your flight and hotel reservations stored in your Gmail or Google Workspace email history.

1) Visit Google.com/Travel and scroll down to the Past Trips section or visit Google.com/Travel/Trips and go to the Past Trips section (first image below)
 

2) Click any of the images showing cities to find flight information (second image below)

Google Travel My Trips - Elias Jabbe Elias213.com TravelTalk213 MyExpatTaxes FEIE Digital Nomad Travel Talk 213
Google Travel My Trips Elias Jabbe Elias213.com CaliCreativityCourse.co CaliCreativity TravelTalk213 Travel Talk 213 Digital Nomad trip

Travel by car or train and Airbnb reservations

Those who live in Europe, like the MyExpatTaxes team in Austria, are known to enjoy nearby countries that can be explored by car or train.
 

Perhaps you have driven across the border from France to Belgium (one of my favorite memories of Europe) and reserved an Airbnb rather than opting for a hotel reservation which emailed you your room details. At the moment, it is not possible to export Airbnb calendars to Google Calendar. For now, tracking travel on Airbnb can be done via its website or mobile app.

Searches on Google Calendar can also be conducted to find your train travel history and tickets purchased from SNCF and other rail networks in Europe.

MyExpatTaxes Elias Jabbe Elias213.com CaliCreativityCourse.co Google Calendar Workplace train SNCF TGV search FEIE IRS FBAR income tax.png

FEIE filing for digital nomads

Becoming a self-employed digital nomad can often seem like a possible next step for American expats who have worked abroad. While the tax return filing process differs for digital nomads, the good news is the MyExpatTaxes blog has already published a guide that can be found here.

According to MyExpatTaxes cofounder Markus Finster, going the route of claiming the FEIE (Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, i.e. Form 2555) is often the best option for digital nomads. For 2019 filings, income that doesn’t exceed $105,000 can be excluded for those who are based overseas for at least 330 days out of a 12-month period starting in January or any other month.

Details on the rules are available in the MyExpatTaxes FEIE guide published here.

Conclusion: Travel Talk and Retirement Resources

Whether working in traditional roles or earning a living as a digital nomad, planning for the future and considering the possibility of retiring abroad is something that every American expat may consider at one point or another.

Fortunately, experts such as AARO (Association of American Resident Overseas) board member and former president Thomas Rose have already shared information on how previous generations of Americans have managed Social Security concerns and how to prepare for retirement abroad. Rose is a long-time Paris resident and former attorney who is head of AARO’s Social Security and Medicare and Insurance Committees.

Some of Rose’s insights are available below in my January 2009 article in an AARO newsletter based on his lecture I attended at the American Library in Paris during my first stint working in France.

MyExpatTaxes Elias Jabbe Elias213.com CaliCreativityCourse.co AARO Americans Resident Overseas Paris 2009 Thomas Tom Rose FEIE IRS FBAR

Reach out by sending a message to Hi@Elias213.com or online (Elias213.com/#contact) or via Twitter (@Elias213) or Instagram (@TravelTalk213) to share questions and feedback or to request the full version of the above AARO News article published by AARO Board Member John Flint.

Also worth noting is any American who has paid taxes in France since 2009 can claim a foreign tax credit carry over on the MyExpatTaxes platform below thanks to a new law introduced in 2019. Visit the "How to claim the Foreign Tax Credit" section of the IRS website for details on the process involving Forms 1040-X and 1116, as well as the tax carry over section on MyExpatTaxes below:

MyExpatTaxes France Foreign Tax Credit Carry over IRS FEIE Elias Jabbe Paris Travel Talk 213 FBAR Californian Creativity CaliCreativity

If you’re considering signing up for your own Google Workspace account for your startup's business email and features like the expanded Google Drive which I teach how to use creatively in my Californian Creativity Course, you can use my promo codes for a 20% discount.

Visit workspace.google.com/landing/partners/referral/trial.html and use the code CAHUPLUXT9MFF3C for the Business Starter option or the code P3WLXDFRW3E9TNL for the Business Standard option.

American expatriates can visit the MyExpatTaxes.com blog for advice on expat finances and save 10% on filing taxes with MyExpatTaxes by using the code CALICREATIVITY.

Elías Jabbe

Founder, CaliCreativityCourse.co

Elias Jabbe Founder 213 Communications LLC CaliCreativityCourse.co Elias213.com Californian Creativity Course
CaliCreativityCourse.co Californian Creativity Course Online Storytelling Elias Jabbe Elias213.com
Elias Jabbe Elias213.com Paris to Dubai My 2015 EMEA to MENA journey CaliCreativityCourse.co CaliCreativity MyExpatTaxes TravelTalk213

Click the above image or here to read my Travel Talk 213 story about transitioning from Paris to Dubai.

Subscribe to Elias213.com below for more Californian Creativity guides teaching how to creatively use California-made platforms for Digital Communications and a free preview of the #CaliCreativity course (CaliCreativityCourse.co):

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