Let’s talk about filing US taxes as an expat. If you are an expat filing US taxes from abroad this information may help you save some serious money and avoid troubles.
Many Americans living abroad are unaware or confused about their U.S. tax filing obligations. The U.S. tax system is unusual, as it taxes based on citizenship. Almost every other country either taxes based on residence (so only people living in that country have to file taxes there) or taxes based on income arising in that country, regardless of home (known as a territorial-based tax system).
On the other hand, the U.S. taxes all its citizens on their worldwide income, wherever in the world they may live. For many Americans, moving abroad is an exciting opportunity to travel and live life to the fullest. And understanding the U.S. tax code can be a daunting task. And when you’re a U.S. expat, the information is even more complex and confusing.
Not understanding your U.S. tax obligation can lead to serious consequences if you earn foreign income. To help clear up these complex requirements, we’ve compiled a list of the 33 things all expats should remember when filing U.S. expat taxes.
1. Living outside the country doesn’t eliminate your obligation to file.
Some expats mistakenly believe that living outside the United States excuses them from their obligation to file U.S. taxes. However, filing requirements still apply to people who live in other countries.
2. Who exactly has to file?
All American citizens, as well as green card holders, who earned over $12,550 in 2021 (in total, globally, in any currencies), or just $400 of self-employment income, or just $5 of any payment if they are married to a foreigner but file separately are required to file a US federal tax return reporting their worldwide income.
Even those living abroad who have never lived in the US or had an American passport but could, perhaps having been born in the US while their parents were there temporarily or due to having an American parent or grandparent, are required to file US taxes. Such people are often referred to as Accidental Americans.
Expats must convert their income earned abroad into US dollars when they file from overseas. They can use any reputable currency conversion source for this, so long as they are consistent in the source they use.
3. Do expats pay taxes?
If you’re a U.S. citizen, and makeover the general income threshold, yes, you file a U.S. tax return — regardless of if you live abroad or Stateside.
This might come as a surprise to you, but yes — if you earn over a certain amount of income (domestic and foreign) and are a U.S. citizen, you have to file a U.S. tax return. The United States is one of only two countries that taxes based on citizenship, not place of residency. That means it doesn’t matter where you hang your hat — if you’re legally a U.S. citizen, you have a tax obligation to the U.S.
Taxable foreign income for U.S. citizens living abroad includes:
• Rental Income
4. Process for filing a tax return?
The IRS no longer send non-resident tax return forms through the mail and you will be required to download Form 1040 online or obtain a copy of it from the US Embassy or an international tax professional.
US citizens living abroad need to send their returns by mail if they meet any of the following criteria:
• You claim the foreign earned income exclusion.
• You claim the foreign housing exclusion or deduction.
• You live in a foreign country or are a resident, for tax purposes, of a foreign country.
Complete Form 1040 and send the completed tax return to the following address:
Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service Center
Estimated tax payments should be mailed with Form 1040-ES to:
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 1300
5. How do your account for earning money in an alternative currency to USD?
All amounts recorded on your tax return should be in USD. If you are paid in an alternative currency, then you need to translate that amount into USD. The best method of doing this is to apply the yearly average exchange rate, this can be found here: Yearly Average Currency Exchange Rates.
6. International Tax Treaties
Many countries have signed an international tax treaty with the U.S., which gives certain benefits to U.S. expats residing in that country to avoid double taxation, both in the U.S. and in their country of residence. Under these tax treaties, U.S. expats may be entitled to certain credits, deductions, exemptions and reductions in tax rates of the foreign country in which they reside. For example, under many treaties, income earned by a teacher or professor working in a foreign country may be exempt from tax in that country for up to three years.
Keep in mind that the existence of an international tax treaty with the U.S. does not exempt a U.S. citizen residing in the treaty country from his or her obligation to otherwise file a U.S. federal income tax return with the IRS on an annual basis.
7. U.S. Expat Tax Filing & Due Dates
Under the U.S. tax code, U.S. citizens who live abroad (expats) are generally required to report their worldwide income whether or not they owe tax to the U.S. government. Even if you have no tax liability (e.g., due to the foreign earned income exclusion or foreign tax credits), you are still required to file tax returns and report your income to the IRS. In addition, if you hold financial accounts with foreign institutions (including pension accounts), you are also required to report your account balances to the U.S. Treasury each year.
U.S. expats are generally required to file the tax return at the same time domestic returns are due — April 15th. However, if you live outside the U.S. on April 15th you are entitled to an automatic extension until June 15th (without an extension request) or October 15th (with an extension request).
However, if you owe tax, the extension applies only to the U.S. expat tax return filing, not the tax payment. You still must submit your payment by April 15th.
Expats must annually report all of their worldwide income, i.e., whether the income is U.S. source or foreign source. This means that in addition to your U.S. source income, your U.S. expat tax return should also include, among other things:
• Wages from your foreign employer
• Self-employment income earned abroad
• Foreign dividends and interest income
• Rental income from foreign properties
• Foreign royalties
• Foreign capital gains or losses on stocks, bonds, real estate
• Foreign pension and social security benefits
• Exercise of certain stock options
8. Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, and the Foreign Tax Credit help prevent Americans from being double taxed on income earned abroad
You’ve probably wondered how much foreign income is tax-free in the U.S. Because the U.S. taxes based on citizenship, the government provides American expatriates with a variety of aids to prevent them from being double taxed—once by the U.S. and once by the country they’re living in. These aids include:
• Tax treaties – To prevent double-taxation on income, U.S. taxes for expats are offset by income tax treaties with more than 70 countries. Not all tax treaties are the same—different countries have different agreements.
• The Foreign Earned Income Exclusion – The FEIE is the most common and broadest aid to prevent double-taxation. You qualify if you live and work overseas and pass either the Bona Fide Residency test or the Physical Presence Test. If you qualify, you can exclude up to $108,700 for tax year 2021, and $112,000 for 2022.
• Foreign Tax Credit – The Foreign Tax Credit is used to claim a dollar-for-dollar credit on foreign taxes paid on income from your expat job. If you live abroad and you have to pay taxes or have acquired a foreign tax liability, you may qualify.
9. You need to be careful when deciding between the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion vs. the Foreign Tax Credit
Choosing whether to claim the FEIE, FTC, or both will have a substantial impact on the outcome of your tax return, and you should consider all of your options carefully before filing. For example, if you had been using the FEIE but decide to switch to the Foreign Tax Credit you may find yourself locked out of the FEIE for five years.
Big factors U.S. expats should consider when choosing between the FEIE or the FTC include:
• Your income type and source
• Your housing expenses
• Your future plans for life and work abroad
• Your dependents and their U.S. citizen status
• Whether you pass the Bona Fide Residency test or the Physical Presence Test
• Your current country of residence and its local tax laws
• Your foreign tax liability to your country of residence
Having trouble choosing between the two? We’ll help determine the best choice for your situation when you choose to file with help from an advisor.
10. To claim the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, you must file Form 2555 and pass either the Bona Fide Residency Test or the Physical Presence Test.
To qualify for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, you have to pass one of two tests: The Bona Fide Residency Test or the Physical Presence Test. To pass, you have to have lived abroad for a certain number of days and have had limited connections with the U.S. If you qualify, then you’ll have to file Form 2555 to claim the FEIE.
11. Once you elect the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, it will apply automatically in future tax years.
After you elect the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, it will automatically apply in future tax years until you decide that you don’t want to use it anymore. However, you will still need to file Form 2555 or Form 2555-EZ each year.
After you decide not to claim the exclusion, you need IRS approval to claim it again.
After you decide to revoke the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, you won’t be able to use the exclusion for the next five tax years unless you get approval from the IRS.
12. You must track your time carefully to pass the Bona Fide Residency or Physical Presence Test.
This is for American expatriates looking to claim the FEIE. To claim the FEIE, you need to pass either the Bona Fide Residency Test or the Physical Presence Test. Tracking your time is essential because you could fail the Physical Presence Test if you’re off by even a few hours. To qualify, you must have been in a foreign country for 330 full days out of the year—the “full days” is where U.S. expats get tripped up. If, for example, you’re on a 12-hour trans-oceanic flight, those 12 hours may not count toward your full 330 days because you’re technically in international airspace.
To qualify as a Bona Fide Resident, for the first year, you must have been living in a foreign country for an entire tax year, which is where many expats get confused. If you go back to the U.S. to visit family for a month, the time you spend in the U.S. does not count.
As with most overseas tax situations, there are a variety of different stipulations and considerations, so it’s always smart to let a US expat tax professional help you navigate U.S. taxes while living abroad.
13. Expats with children
Americans who are living abroad with children in 2022 who claim the Foreign Tax Credit may also be able to claim the Child Tax Credit.
The Child Tax Credit has changed, and now for the tax year 2021 gives a $3,000 US tax credit per dependent child, or those who have already eradicated their US tax bill by claiming the Foreign Tax Credit can claim a refundable $3,000 tax credit per child, which takes the form of a direct payment.
This refundable credit can significantly boost Americans living abroad with children. The dependent children must be US citizens with US social security numbers to claim the Child Tax Credit. You can claim the Child Tax Credit on Form 8812.
14. Reporting foreign accounts
As well as filing a federal tax return each year, Americans may have to file a Foreign Bank Account Report or FBAR.
Specifically, those with over $10,000 at any time during a year in qualifying foreign financial accounts must report them by filing FinCEN form 114 online. FBARs are filed to FinCEN rather than the IRS, and penalties for not filing (or for incomplete or incorrect filing) are high, so it’s an essential aspect of US reporting for expats.
Qualifying financial accounts include checking and savings accounts, investment accounts, and most pension accounts, including any charges expats have control or signatory authority over, such as joint accounts and business accounts, even if not in the expats name.
15. FATCA and foreign assets
In 2010, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) was signed into law, dramatically changing the landscape for US expats.
The new law was intended to help prevent offshore tax avoidance, and it contained two measures toward this end. The first was to require all Americans with significant offshore financial assets to report them every year on Form 8938 (the minimum reporting thresholds vary depending on circumstances but are typically $200,000 for expats). The second measure was to compel foreign financial firms, including banks and investment firms, to provide their American account holder’s balance and contact details directly to the IRS by imposing a tax on those foreign firms that don’t when they trade in US financial markets.
This second measure has been effective, with nearly all (over 320,000 to date) foreign financial institutions of all sorts now complying.
FATCA’s impact on Americans living abroad has been significant though, as while relatively few of the 9 million Americans who live abroad have to report their foreign financial assets on Form 8938, the IRS can now snoop on expats finances globally.
Furthermore, some foreign banks have declined to provide services to Americans due to the additional administrative burden that reporting to the IRS creates.
In summary, Americans abroad can no longer remain under the radar concerning their US tax filing consequence-free. We strongly recommend that if you aren’t up to date with your US tax and FBAR filing, you take steps to become compliant at your earliest convenience.
16. Streamlined tax amnesty program for Americans abroad who need to catch up
It’s not all bad news though, as the IRS has a voluntary amnesty program for expats who are behind with their US tax filing in 2022 because they weren’t aware that they had to file from abroad.
The program is called the Streamlined Procedure, and it requires expats who need to file back taxes to file their last three tax returns and their last six FBARs, and to self-certify that their previous non-compliance was non-willful.
Expats who back file under the Streamlined Procedure won’t face any late-compliance fines, and they are also able to retrospectively claim the exemptions or credits described above that minimize or eliminate their US tax bill.
Expats who are behind with their US tax filing should act now though, as the Streamlined program is only available voluntarily, which is to say expats must catch up before the IRS contacts them, perhaps due to information received from a foreign government or bank.
17. US social security taxes for expats
Americans abroad who worked for a US employer in 2021, or who were self-employed, and even some who worked for a foreign employer, may have to pay US social security taxes.
US social security taxes consist of 6.2% for employees plus 2.9% Medicare Tax, or a total of 15.3% of income for self-employed expats (12.4% social security tax and 2.9% Medicare Tax.
Expats may also have to pay social security taxes in the country where they live though. To help prevent double social security taxation, the US has signed Totalization Agreements with 30 other countries. These treaties stipulate that expats who will be living abroad for a short time, typically 3-5 years, should continue paying social security taxes to the US, but not to the country where they live, whereas if they will be living abroad for longer they should pay them in the country where they live but not to the US. Contributions made to either country count towards future social security entitlement in both.
The 15.3% self-employed expats pay can still be a burden though, and some self-employed expats choose to establish a corporation in a low or no tax foreign country which then employs them, so that as an employee of a foreign corporation they aren’t liable to pay US social security taxes. The benefits of this arrangement have been reduced for many expats following changes to the taxation of foreign corporations in the 2017 Tax Reform, and furthermore expats should be aware that not paying social security contributions may affect their ability to receive social security payments when they retire.
18. Expats May or May Not Have To Pay U.S. Social Security Contributions
Expats who are self-employed or who work for a U.S. employer are required to pay U.S. Social Security taxes. However those who live in one of the 26 countries with which the U.S. has a Totalization Agreement treaty are exempt from paying Social Security taxes twice.
These agreements stipulate which country expats should pay Social Security taxes to (based on how long they’ll be living abroad), with the contributions they make counting towards both countries social security systems. The countries the U.S. has these treaties with are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom.
19. Social Security benefits for Americans living abroad
Thousands of Americans retire abroad every year, setting off on a later life adventure in search of a better quality of life.
Americans who retire abroad can have their US social security checks transferred to a foreign bank if they wish, though they should check local tax rules to ensure doing so wouldn’t trigger additional tax liability.
US social security payments, along with other retirement plans other than those from Roth IRA plans, are subject to US taxation, and possibly in the country where they live, too (depending on the rules there), however expats may be able to claim tax credits in their country of residence so as to avoid double taxation.
20. You Can Still Receive Social Security Benefits When You Retire Abroad
If you are considering retiring abroad, rest assured that you can collect your Social Security benefits in just about any country you choose to live in. There are only a handful of countries where you typically cannot receive Social Security benefits, namely:
• North Korea
However, even if you live in one of these countries, you can still collect any back payments owed to you once you move to a different country.
For example, let’s say you moved to Cuba. While living in Cuba, you would not be able to receive US Social Security payments. But if you moved to Costa Rica a few years later, you would be eligible to collect any Social Security payments you were denied during your time in Cuba.
21. Your Social Security Benefits May Be Taxable in the US
You must report your Social Security benefits as income on your US expatriate tax return. Some people will have their benefits taxed while others will not. Generally, if you have other income, your benefits will be taxed. However, if you live in certain countries, your Social Security payments may not be taxed by the US. This includes:
• The UK
The rules for these countries vary. Consult an expat tax specialist to learn more.
Note: Even if your Social Security benefits are taxed, only 85% of the full amount can be considered taxable income.
22. Totalization Agreements Determine Which Country You Pay Social Security Taxes To
The US has agreements with 28 countries that outline which country should receive your Social Security payments. The agreements generally allow for the credits you earn in one country to be usable for the calculation of benefits in the other. This is an important point as, without such an agreement, you could be forced to pay into two systems—and only receive one benefit! 18
23. US Expats and Controlled Foreign Corporations
Trump’s tax reform affected owning a Controlled Foreign Corporation. Now it means that all income is Subpart А income. But it’s not just that. All currently untaxed retained earnings will be subject to a one-time tax.
First, what is a Controlled Foreign Corporation? It is a U.S. corporation which operates abroad with U.S. shareholders who have more than 50% of the control. What does “foreign” mean in the context of business incorporation? The IRS considers only non-U.S. companies and companies which are taxed as corporations (including LLCs that elect to be taxed as a corporation) for the purpose of CFC status.
If you own a Controlled Foreign Corporation , then you must file an annual report on IRS Form 5471 – Information Return of U.S. Persons With Respect to Certain Foreign Corporations. You will need to submit info regarding U.S. citizens who are shareholders, director, and officers; a listing of all U.S. shareholders and their stocks; CFC’s classes of stock and shares outstanding; a balance sheet and income statement for the tax year. The corporation should file this form. Each U.S. shareholder, director, or officers who meet the 50% criterion will need to file a separate report. This report will include each U.S. person’s income in dividends, investments and other income from the foreign corporation. This document is a Summary of the Shareholder’s Income from Foreign Corporation.
24. State Income & Filing Requirements
Most states only impose state tax return filing requirements on residents. When you move overseas, you will most likely be treated as a part-year resident for that year and be required to pay tax on the income earned in the period in which you resided in that state. However, for the remainder of the year (and subsequent years) your residency status depends on the state’s residency rules. Many people think if they no longer live in the state, they’re not considered residents for tax purposes. This is not always true. In many states (e.g., California) the requirements for breaking residency are strict and require you to sever any ties you have with the state, including selling property you own in the state, closing bank accounts, and even relinquishing your state issued driver’s license.
If you receive income from the sale of a company, it is often paid out in installments—meaning a portion of your income is placed in an escrow account and released in part each year. Issues can arise when a transaction is consummated while you are a resident of the state and then you receive future installment payments once you are no longer a resident. It’s important to note that the tax treatment of installment sales varies from state to state and may be very different from the federal tax treatment.
25 . Expats with foreign real estate
The US tax system treats foreign residential property owned in an expat’s name the same as if it were US property.
This means that mortgage interest and property taxes are deductible, and in general the property ownership isn’t reportable until it is sold, at which point any capital gain made is subject to US capital gains tax rules, the same as if it were in the US. (If the owner meets certain residential requirements in the property, they are also eligible for an exclusion of up to $250,000 USD of the gain ($500,000 USD if married filing jointly).
Expats with foreign rental properties meanwhile should report the income on form 1040. Rental income is considered passive income rather than earned income, so it can’t be excluded using the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. Expats who claim the Foreign Tax Credit though to offset the US tax due on this income against foreign income taxes that they’ve paid in the country where their rental property is.
There may be local advantages for expats in owning foreign real estate in a corporation, partnership or trust, however Americans who own property through foreign entities are subject to additional US filing requirements, as described above.
26. IRS forms – the most commonly used when filing U.S. taxes for expats
a. Form 1040 – The form every American files during tax season to report income to the IRS.
b. FBAR (FinCEN Form 114) – Your Foreign Bank Account Report, used to report any assets in foreign financial institutions to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the U.S. Treasury.
c. Foreign Earned Income Exclusion Form 2555 – One of two methods for U.S. expats to avoid being double-taxed on income earned abroad.
d. Foreign Tax Credit Form 1116 – One of two methods for U.S. expats to avoid being double-taxed on income earned abroad.
e. FATCA Form 8938 – How you report assets in foreign financial institutions to the IRS.
f. Form 5471 – Informational return for U.S. citizens who are also shareholders, officers, or directors of a foreign corporation.
g. Form 8621 – Informational return for U.S. citizens who are also shareholders of a passive foreign investment company.
h. Form 3520 – Informational return expats use to report certain transactions with foreign trusts, ownerships of foreign trusts, or if you receive certain large gifts from certain foreign persons.
27. Renouncing US citizenship and tax implications
Tax reporting requirements make US expat’s life complicated. If you think renouncing US citizenship is an easy way out of the US tax system, it’s not true. No wonder the renunciation rate is rising year by year. Besides the complicated tax process surrounding the process itself, there is a $2,350 fee to renounce U.S. citizenship on top of all.
If you thought about renouncing US citizenship, you have to be aware of tax implications coming with the process. Let’s look at the pros and cons of renouncing US citizenship:
• No more complicated annual U.S. tax filings
• With proper advice and legal help, most of the people will not have to pay taxes as a result of renouncing
• Freedom from U.S. tax burden
• Cost consideration: renouncing fee $2,350
• Exit tax for covered expatriates
• Don’t forget about complicated rules of the estate and gift taxes (by the way, sometimes they are good!)
• Final reporting obligations, including form 8854
Being a “covered expatriate” has many negative consequences and so you should avoid being one if you can. The goal of many expatriates is to have a final, clean break from the U.S. tax system.
Renouncing your U.S. citizenship will not automatically cancel your tax obligations. Prior obligations remain, so you would only be a non-resident on an ongoing basis. You must notify the IRS of the change in your status by filing Form 8854 and then filing a copy with the Department of Treasury as well. You will be treated as a U.S. citizen for tax purposes until you file this form. The same rules apply to Green Card holders. You must file the form as soon as possible after you renounce your citizenship.
28. W-9 form and why foreign bank requests it?
Have you been requested to fill out this form but you have a vague understanding (or actually have no idea) what it is? Form W-9 is used to provide your correct Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification. It’s mostly informational form and it’s not turned over to the IRS itself. Typically, it’s your bank or any US business taking payments to you may request you to complete this form.
Your foreign bank or other financial institution has to report to the IRS your income from your accounts. Be ready for your bank to report the following information:
• Income paid to you
• Real estate transactions
• Mortgage interest you paid
• Acquisition or abandonment of secured property
• Cancellation of debt
• Contributions you made to an IRA
Note: Form W-9 is a part of FATCA compliance. If you are not compliant, you will need to get tax compliant as soon as possible. Bank will transmit your information to the IRS and you do not want to receive a letter from them, do you? Form W-9 is intended to be filled out by US persons. This means that not only U.S. citizens or Green Card holders need to complete it. If an individual chose to be treated as a US person for tax purposes, they may also need to fill W-9. US tax laws and rules apply to everyone, who lives in the US, works there, married to a US citizen and elected to be taxed as one. As well as entities, such as LLCs, corporations, estates, and trusts which were created under the US law.
29. How Far Back you can file?
In 2014, the IRS introduced ‘Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedure’ – Amnesty from Penalties
• 3 years tax returns, 6 years FBAR. Currently 2019-2021. All years in question must be ‘delinquent’.
• No ‘failure to file’ penalties. No ‘failure to pay tax’ penalties.
• Most importantly – amnesty from FBAR penalties
• No ‘deadline’“ but risk is that the IRS may change or discontinue this program
30. Amending previous tax returns is possible
The amended tax return expats can use to amend their tax return is Form 1040-X. This form allows you to file an amended tax return of up to 3 years after the date you first filed. Or, if you paid taxes, you can file it within two years from the date you paid your taxes.
Furthermore, amending a tax return can put you on the list to be audited by the IRS. Therefore, we give expats checks to make sure they add in the correct information, and if something doesn’t seem right, they can contact us.
31. Self-employed expats have different responsibilities
As a self-employed expat, you’ll need to pay a self-employment tax separately after calculating your net profit. Therefore, Social Security taxes and Medicare taxes will be for you, and the process will be similar to wage earners in the US who withhold from their pay.
Therefore, you’ll need to figure out your self-employment taxes by yourself or with a tax professional. The 2021 self-employment tax rate is 15.3% on your net profit. The Schedule SE on Form 1040 can be used, which is found on our app.
Since you are your boss, you’ll need to figure out self-employment taxes by yourself. You can use the self-employment tax (SE tax) Schedule SE on Form 1040 or 1040-SR. Furthermore, you also need to deduct your employer-equivalent portion of your self-employment tax.
Have a US business, but living abroad? In general, if you have a (single member, disregarded) US business, you will need to report your business income on Schedule C. From there, you can either look to use FEIE (2555) or FTC (1116) to reduce your US income taxes owed. Watch out for a self-employment tax of 15.3% on your net profit.
32. Rental Income Must be Reported on Your US Tax Return
You must report all rental income (foreign and domestic) to the IRS. However, many expenses related to the property can offset expatriate tax liability.
Repairs to your property are immediately deductible, but improvements take longer. How do you know the difference? Repairs restore the property to its original state, but enhancements increase the property’s value or prolong its life.
While they differ, you’ll want to track expenses for repairs and improvements to your rental property. Repairs can be taken as deductions, and enhancements will factor into calculating capital gains or losses on your expat taxes after you sell your property.
33. Professional assistance with expat taxes is highly recommended.
The United States tax code is complicated enough for people who live and earn all income within the United States. As an expat, the situation can be even more confusing. Unfortunately, the IRS imposes significant penalties on anyone who does not meet their filing requirements and/or pays all of the owed, regardless of whether they are currently living in the United States. For this reason, it is important to consult an expat tax professional if you are living and working in another country. A professional who has experience with expat taxes can make sure that you are in full compliance with all relevant laws and paying no more than your fair share. The right tax professional can also help you plan for future tax years to reduce your liability and maximize your wealth.