US Consulate, Guayaquil

We have visited the Consulate here in Guayaquil a few years ago about Joe’s social security. Today was my turn. The Embassy in Quito handles the submission of the paperwork to Social Security but you can turn in your paperwork in the Guayaquil office. It was the most painless process that I have had with any government agency in many many years. They only accept Social Security paperwork between 8am and 11am Monday thru Thursday in the Guayaquil office. So we were on the road by 8am this morning and at the checkpoint outside the building before 8:30am. After having our belongings searched, removal of the battery from our cell phone and being wanded we were searched a second time inside the building and had to go through a metal detector. We had most of our belongings put in storage and were on our way to the second floor to submit the paperwork.

The entire process took less than 10 minutes.

We walked across the street to the Hotel Oro Verde to their exquisite bakery for a breakfast of cappuccino and almond croissants.

1157_13053104580012591456_STD 3259921955_d31e01c86a Hotel Oro VerdeHonestly the best experience with a government office in my memory and the most beautiful pastries I have had in all of Ecuador, it was a great morning. Sorry I did not take my camera as we were going to the consulate – the above photos are from the internet but give you an idea. This place is a must try as the baked goods are just so darned good.

 

Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) and the Expat

Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) goes into effect January 1, 2014.

How will it affect Expats living in Ecuador or elsewhere outside of the US? And more specifically, how will Obamacare affect those who live here full-time but use an address in the states as your residence address for banking, tax returns and social security?

From what I have read it can affect us in our pocketbooks.

If the US government has not been informed that we are living abroad then we will be considered living in the US and we’ll be required to participate in the new health care program, not usable in Ecuador. Or pay a fine.

We have read that 15,000 to 20,000 new enforcement agents will be hired for the IRS to enforce this new law.

Anyone who is interested in researching this further can go online Expat and Obamacare.  One more question would be if you have Medicare or other insurance, does that fulfill your requirements even if you show a US residence address?

 

Internal Revenue Service – Expat Information – FBAR Form TD F 90-22.1

The IRS requires that the FBAR form be filed annually:

Who must file an FBAR:

United States persons are required to file an FBAR if:

  1. The United States person had a financial interest in or signature authority over at least one financial account located outside of the United States; and
  2. The aggregate value of all foreign financial accounts exceeded $10,000 at any time during the calendar year to be reported.

See the full IRS guideline at: http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Report-of-Foreign-Bank-and-Financial-Accounts-(FBAR)

If you have a financial interest in or signature authority over a foreign financial account, including a bank account, brokerage account, mutual fund, trust, or other type of foreign financial account, the Bank Secrecy Act may require you to report the account yearly to the Internal Revenue Service by filing Form TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).

TD F 90-22.1 can be found at:  http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f90221.pdf

The FBAR is required because foreign financial institutions may not be subject to the same reporting requirements as domestic financial institutions. The FBAR is a tool to help the United States government identify persons who may be using foreign financial accounts to circumvent United States law. Investigators use FBARs to help identify or trace funds used for illicit purposes or to identify unreported income maintained or generated abroad.

The filing date is June 30 of each year. Add this one to your calendars.

Social Security – Expat Information – Part 1

This will be a several part post about old and new requirements from the Social Security Administration as it relates to those of us living outside of the United States,

A form, Proof of Life, will be required from Social Security for folks living outside of the United States and receiving social security benefits. I will cover that form in the next article because it is such an important topic for those of us who rely on those funds for our existence, that I am not going to rush over the guidelines as they apply to us living out of the US.

First please read what Social Security has to say about using addresses in the United States if living in a foreign country for over three months.

https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0202401080

Social Security Online  POMS Section: GN 02401.080
www.socialsecurity.gov

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Effective Dates: 04/20/2004 – Present

TN 17 (04-04)

GN 02401.080 Use of United States Address by Beneficiary Abroad

A. POLICY – WHEN PERMITTED

A beneficiary abroad may use a U.S. mailing address when the beneficiary:

  • Has an APO/FPO address;
  • Has a representative payee in the U.S.; or
  • Will be abroad for 3 months or less.

The beneficiary must keep SSA advised of his residence address at all time for beneficiary contact and foreign enforcement purposes.

B. POLICY – WHEN NOT PERMITTED

A beneficiary abroad may not use a mailing address in the U.S. when the beneficiary is:

  • In a barred country (RS 02650.001); or
  • Abroad for more than 3 months.

Checks for beneficiaries abroad more than 3 months may not be sent to a relative or friend in the U.S. except during interim periods while developing a proper mailing address.

A beneficiary living outside the U.S. may have a foreign address and direct deposit to a U.S. financial institution (FI). See GN 02402.110. See also International Direct Deposit, GN 02402.201.

See GN 02402.080 for the use of a Power of Attorney when International Direct Deposit is not available in the country of residence and the beneficiary wants checks mailed directly to an FI in the country of residence.