Welcome to “Tax Season”, yes really, Tax Season is what the Americans call the time between January and the tax return deadline in April.
There is no such thing as PAYE over here (yet), which means that the vast amount of Americans are responsible for putting aside money throughout the year (typically in a withholding account at your company) and then calculating what they owe the government (city, state and federal) and finally (in theory) getting a nice “return” check of money leftover. Now that you are a Brit living in Chicago, you will also have to start doing this!
Do you actually need an American accountant to file your USA taxes?
Obviously you are the only person who can decide if you need to hire somone to file your taxes, or if you feel you can do it yourself. Some good questions to ask yourself are:
– is this the first time you’ve ever had to file any sort of tax return yourself?
– do you own properties in both or either the UK and the USA?
– do you receive an income both here in the USA and the UK?
– did you start a US business this year?
– are you short of time and patience?
If answered “yes” to more than two of the questions above, or even if you just want 100% certainty that you’re “getting things right” then you would probably benefit from hiring an American CPA (Certified Public Accountant). This article includes a list of some of the local CPA’s that Brits in Chicago have recommended in the past, you can also Google “CPA Illinois”.
Alternatively, if none of these questions relate, your USA tax returns might be straightforward enough for you to file them yourself using something like TurboTax or HandR Block.
TurboTax software readily available online and in stores like Office Depot and Staples. If you’ve ever had to submit a self-assessment through the HMRC online portal, the TurboTax software will seem very similar, if not easier.
“Turbo tax, pretty straightforward, can normally knock mine out in a couple of hours…”
H&R Block have FREE basic software plus a luxury version that you can buy but unlike they also have offices with humans in them.
“I’ve used H&R Block every year until this year. I’m moving to a CPA on the north shore as my small business has grown enough to warrant it.”
If you still feel you need an accountant to help you through your American tax return, here are the CPA’s that British Expats in Chicago recommend most often:
Pete Newton – Expat Tax – (516) 537-9680- Currently Not Taking New Clients
Pete is consistently the number one recommended accountant in the Chicago British Expat groups. Although he is pricey and based in New York, he is amazing. We love him. Unfortunately, he is so good he is not currently taking on new clients. Even if you can’t get his services, you should still sign up to his amazing Expat Tax e-newsletters and deadline reminders which will keep you on the straight and narrow throughout the year.
(In a copy paste email being sent to those contacting them recently, British Expats Tax have recommend britishamericantax.com and protaxconsulting.com as resources for finding a CPA but neither of these websites seem to provide what we are looking for!)
Other CPA’s Who Have Been Recommended by British Expats on “Brits in Chicago” Groups
Affetto and Co CPA (Maria Gamino) – 708-453-1999
7816 W North Ave, Elmwood Park, IL 60707
“Recommended by a fellow Brit years ago. Maria is Great!”
BIK and Co CPA’s and Advisors – 630-654-8350
Offices in Palatine, Vernon Hills, Lake Zurich and Burr Ridge
CJG Partners – 847-517-8222
1101 Perimeter Drive, Schaumburg, IL 60173
Consuella C Lee CPA Limited – 312-455-1946
700 N Green Street, Chicago, IL 60622
“I was operating a small studio as an offshoot of a UK company here in Chicago, (Connie) worked well with our English accounts dept.”
Moshe Klein and Associates – 888-432-8187
Chicago and Skokie Offices
“I used them when I started my recruitment business and they were excellent…”
Phillip Rae and Associates – 630-505-3620
564 S Washington St, Naperville, IL 60540
Swindler Spanola (Stephen Spanola) – 312-981-4141
343 West Erie Street, Suite 510, Chicago, IL 60654
Zoller Swanson (Doug) – 708-484-3296
137 N Oak Park Ave # 320, Oak Park, IL 60301
“Doug has been great at helping us make sense of the USA system and answers every daft question and query with patience.We have been using him and his team for 3 years including the year we sold our UK house.”