So what should Expats look for when hiring a mail forwarder?
Before reading any further, Expats should know that there are two types of mail forwarding companies.
1) Mail Forwarding Companies that just deliver your mail for a fee and do not offer the other options American Expats need to meet their tax filing requirements. Ex-pats must be aware of this distinction as some Expats mistakenly think these providers will also help them with their Expat Tax Filing requirements!
2) Mail Forwarding Companies have full-service Ex-pat services which include: receiving mail, providing a mailing address, and Expat Tax Filing Preparation/Submission. This type of Company is very Expat friendly as they understand Expat needs and challenges around taxes (for example the typical American business model includes salaries paid via W-2 and Expats living abroad typically do not have W-2s because Expats are paid in local currency which is not considered taxable income by the IRS), Expat banking regulations, Expat Expense Reporting requirements from Expat Expense Account Providers such as Concur and Travel & Entertainment Expenses.
The providers that just receive mail for a fee often will simply forward your mail to you once or twice a week via email attachments (or faxing) of scans of each page of your mail. This process can be time-consuming requiring Expats to request each day’s invoices, receipts, and statements daily so they know what needs their attention since these Providers don’t offer Expat tax filing assistance. As well, there may be Expat Expense Reports Expats need to process while Expats are living overseas. Expat Expenses can be difficult to track particularly when Expats are moved on short notice, or away from home for long periods of time (which is sometimes the case with Expats).
American Ex-pats Mailbox Service
Responsiveness is extremely important for this type of Company. Expats’ lives are often busy, and waiting days or weeks for transactions sent via mail to arrive isn’t appropriate. Mail Forwarding Providers who rely on email or faxing documents wouldn’t make sense in the context of Expat tax filing requirements (due dates) and Expat expense reporting timelines (deadlines). Respectively, if your Expat Tax Filing deadlines are March 15th and/or Reporting deadlines are December 31st then Expats need Expat Expenses and Expat Tax Filings to be submitted electronically in a timely manner. American Ex-pats, who try to use these companies providing mail forwarding with incoming mail scanning services, can find themselves in a tough position especially when they may have Expat Expenses due the next day or Expat Tax Filing documents incoming from their employer or clients.
This is why it’s important that your Mail Forwarding Provider has full-service Expat support for things like Expat tax filing preparation/submission and expenses reporting which is extremely important if you’re an American Expatriate working in a foreign country outside of the USA!
So what should Expats look for when hiring a mail forwarder? Expats should be looking for Expat expertise, Expat familiarity with Expat Expense Expense Report requirements (like Concur Expenses), Expat tax filing preparation/submission (like American Expat Tax Advice & Compliance ), and Expat banking regulations (like the Patriot Act).
And before making any decisions refer to this list of criteria that is very helpful in choosing a provider.
- Knowledge of the Patriot Act.
- Familiarity with Expat Banking Regulations
- Understanding of Expat Expense Reporting Requirements like Concur expenses – This is important if you’re paid on Concur expenses as some providers may not be able to help you efile your expense reports or offer other forms of assistance since Expat Expenses and Expat taxes go hand in hand Expats need to file Expat taxes when Expats are paid on Expat Expenses.
- Ability to receive mail for multiple expats – This is important because you may have family members living in several different locations who want their mail forwarded to the same place such as your home country or back home address in the USA.
- Expat Tax Preparation & Expat Expense Reporting Assistance – Tax preparation and Expats expenses reporting go hand in hand with Expats who work overseas, or travel internationally for business purposes throughout each year.
- Rights of Permanent Residence/Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) Updater – While some providers offer this feature Expats need to understand how it works so Expats aren’t caught off-guard with Expat Expenses due the following year. Expats who have an Expat Green Card Updater on file, do not always receive mail forwarding notifications during the year when their rights are either Expired or Expiring because only your latest Permanent Residence date is updated with your providers – which can result in Expat Expenses for expats who may face serious fines and penalties if they don’t file their Expat tax returns when required by law. If you’re an American Expatriate working outside of the USA then this could be a huge issue!
- Understanding of American Expat Tax Requirements like FBAR (Report Of Foreign Bank And Financial Accounts) Expats who have a business in the USA, Expats with interests in foreign corporations, Expats with interests in foreign partnerships, Expat Trusts and Ex-pat Real Estate should seek out a provider that understands Expat Tax Filings And Expat Expenses.
- Ability to liaise directly with your bank or financial institution or credit card companies – While many providers offer this service some rely on PayPal’s Global Shipping Program which isn’t always the best option for Expats when filing Expat tax returns or reporting Expat expenses fully because PayPal offers limited support options. Meaning if you need help from your bank to fill out forms at the end of the year, then using a mail forwarding company that can speak directly to your bank is important. Expats who need Expat Expense Statements or Expat Tax Returns filled out should choose a provider that can offer Expat Banking Services and Expat Expense Report services because Expats may not be able to get these forms from any other source such as banks, financial institutions, credit card companies etc. – such as Fidelity Investments where many Americans have their retirement accounts; Expats will not be able to get copies of these statements directly from Fidelity.
- Ability to use Concur Expenses (preferred) or another third party service providers expense reporting tool – This is important when filling out Expat expense reports in order to avoid complications with filing your annual taxes in the USA.
Mymailforwarder.com has been helping our American Expats Communities in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East manage all their USPS mail, Amazon, and Online Purchases for over a decade and will be happy to help you join our long list of happy clients from Saudi Arabia, Japan, China, Canada, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Hong Kong, Philippines, and more. Apply For Business Mailbox Today!