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Questions and Answers for American Taxes
« on: April 06, 2010, 07:35:40 am »
Who's eligible for Korean tax exemption?

To be exempt from paying Korean taxes, you need to employed by the government (e.g., public school teachers). Thus, private-sector workers (e.g., hagwon teachers) must still pay Korean taxes. However,  private-sector employees CAN still be exempt from paying AMERICAN taxes (more details further down).

Remember the Korean tax exemption isn't forever--it lasts TWO YEARS.

 How to apply for Korean tax exemption?

In order to be exempt from paying Korean taxes (for two years), you need to give your school the 6166 form.  However, you must first fill out the 8802 form in order to get the 6166. Please be aware that the 8802 is NOT the residency certificate, it is the application for the residency certificate (6166).
Here are the steps.

1. I had to purchase the number of 6166 copies I wanted to have PRIOR to sending the 8802 to the IRS.

Here is the link for payment

You'll have to go on to the website, purchase the copies, and you'll receive a confirmation number. You can get up to 20 copies for $35. I'd say to shoot for at least 5-6 just in case your school needs extras. If you want to be really safe order all 20!

2. Fill out the 8802. I've attached it and the instructions below. Make sure to put that confirmation # on the 8802 form before sending it (I promise this will make more sense once you get down to paying for and filling out the forms). If you are having the form mailed to someone besides yourself (which is probably the case since many of you are already here in Korea),  you'll have to name an appointee.

3. After filling out the 8802 form, you can fax or mail it to the IRS. Make sure that you mail the form to the correct place. If you pay for the 6166 via the link that I've given above, then you'll have to send it to one address. If you pay by check, the address is different. Just so you know, I faxed mine and it was kind of a huge deal because they have two different fax numbers, so I had to send it twice. My point is, call if you are unsure! 

4. After the IRS gets your 8802, they'll send a letter telling you that they've received it and are processing your 6166. They will send it to a US address only, so send it to a family or friend. The letter will say that they'll respond to you within 30 days, but that's a lie. I had to call a few times. It took THREE MONTHS to get my 6166 and that was only after calling.  It'll take time, but it should work out.

How long does it take to get 6166?

The IRS claims they will contact you within 30 days after processing form 8802, but that doesn't generally happen. It would be prudent to call the IRS to remind them; people typically wait three to five months, sometimes LONGER.  Constantly remind the IRS about it.

But what if I've already started paying Korean taxes, will I get my money back once my school gets 6166?

Yes. If not, contact the tax office directly.  Please be aware that the refund won't  get handed back to you in cash--it will most likely come in the form of a tax credit at the end of the financial year.

Do I have to pay US taxes?

Unlikely. If your contract is one year, you become a "bona fide resident" of Korea the day your contract commences and hence qualify for the exclusion. However, there is one exception to this rule: if you make more than $92,900 USD (2011 figure), but since EFL teachers in Korea typically don't make that much, you probably don't have to worry. Also, if your contract is less than a year (e.g., six months), then you don't qualify for avoiding US taxes. However, you can still apply for Korean tax exemption.

Is the foreign income tax exclusion automatic? Do I still have to file my tax return with the IRS every year in Korea?,

The exclusion is not automatic as you must submit form 2555 along with form 1004 (NOT 1004A or 1004EZ).  You can request your school to give you a document showing your yearly earnings around tax time (late Jan.) as the IRS may require proof of foreign income.   Say/write to your school's administration office:

"원어민교사 급여지급내역"

This means "Foreign teacher's salary payments".

If your school refuses to give it to you, showing your bankbook (or a printout of your deposits via online banking) should suffice.  You should convert your salary to USD for each month; one member used the Bank of CANADA's web site (yes, Canada) because it conveniently lists montly historical exchange rates. The IRS will likely take your word for it as they're aware the overwhelming majority of EFL teachers don't make  close to the foreign income exclusion threshold.

Submitting 2555  with 1040 obviously means you're filing your tax return. But, you don't have to do it every year; you can file three years later . For example, a 2011 return can be filed in 2014 without applying for an extension.

Form 2555 or 2555-EZ?

If you're exempt from paying Korean taxes, you must submit the 2555, NOT 2555EZ.

So, what's the diff between form 1040, 2555, 8802, and 6166?

Form 8802 is the application to get 6166, the latter is what you need to submit to your school to avoid KOREAN taxes. So, 8802/6166 is so you avoid paying KOREAN TAXES.

Form 1004 is the income tax return filing document.

Form 2555 (which you must submit when you file your US tax return using form 1004) is so you don't have to pay AMERICAN taxes.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2013, 01:52:24 pm by Davey »

  • krb974
  • Adventurer

    • 38

    • April 28, 2010, 09:04:47 am
    • Suncheon
Re: American TAXES
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2010, 04:29:44 pm »
Although I am not American, I believe that you are to get some kind a form from America that states you are exempt from paying taxes - in America - on your wage from Korea for 2 years.  Your place of employment in Korea should be taking off taxes - Korean Tax - on the wage you earn here.

I'm not too sure what the name of the form you need is.  I'm sure there is some official American government website that can give you an answer.

  • sheila
  • Moderator - LVL 2

    • 1480

    • November 23, 2009, 08:32:58 am
    • Gangnamgu, Seoul
Re: American TAXES
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2010, 09:06:44 am »
If he's only staying for a year or two, then yes, he paid taxes unnecessarily. But, the sooner you get it taken care of, the better.  If you or he are planning on staying for a longer time, it doesn't really matter because you will have an opportunity to do it eventually for two years.  It's a money saver for us so get on it right away as the process takes about a month to six weeks to get the proper forms and everything going through with  your paychecks. However, I don't think 'your friend' will be able to get back the money that he's paid already. Ciao!~
« Last Edit: October 01, 2010, 09:12:27 am by sheila »
Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard!

  • jglide
  • Adventurer

    • 47

    • October 07, 2010, 08:43:57 am
    • Gumi, South Korea
Re: American TAXES
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2010, 06:06:04 am »
I have been in Korea over a month now but I do not have my tax exemption form with me (I'm an American).  I mailed in the 8802 form just before I left, but it was sent to my house in the States.  If a friend mails it to me here in Korea it will cost another 56 dollars.

Is it possible to have the form scanned or faxed?  Do they need the original copy?

The 2555 form seems to me to be something I do when I file taxes back in the States in April.  I am only on a six month contract here in Korea (yes its legal).  Am I correct in thinking that my school only needs the 8802 form at this time?


Re: American TAXES
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2010, 07:59:40 am »
Why is it so expensive?  Did you try FedEx or UPS?  Regular US Postal Service mail should only cost a few dollars and should be reliable.  Should take about 10 business days or less to arrive.

It would, of course, be tragic and annoying if it got lost in the mail, but that's pretty unlikely.

  • aramella
  • Veteran

    • 168

    • September 15, 2010, 12:01:19 pm
    • Pohang, South Korea
Re: American TAXES
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2010, 03:37:03 pm »
I have things mailed here all the time. Use the USPS... it shouldnt be very expensive... it is very reliable.  Fedex and UPS are very expensive to mail things here.

  • joejn
  • Newgookin

    • 4

    • May 06, 2010, 12:31:29 pm
    • incheon
Re: American TAXES
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2010, 09:37:51 am »
All i did was fill out form 8802 to get my residency certificate.  Once that was completed I gave it to my school and now I pay neither the Korean or US income tax.  BUT...... it took the IRS 5 months to send me my paperwork thus I was paying US and Korean taxes for that amount of time which amounted to nearly $1500 dollars.  Does anyone know if I can claim that money back from the IRS, do public schools provide a version of  W-2 to teachers?

  • jdaigle05
  • Waygookin

    • 20

    • June 17, 2010, 08:13:57 am
    • Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Re: No taxes for Americans?
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2010, 12:12:33 pm »
Hi, all:

So I have my residency certificate. Do I just hand it to my co-teacher? Do I have to send it to the GEPIK office? Back to my recruiter? I've looked and looked, but can't seem to find an answer on this. I just want to make sure I am putting it into the correct hands.


  • sheila
  • Moderator - LVL 2

    • 1480

    • November 23, 2009, 08:32:58 am
    • Gangnamgu, Seoul
Re: No taxes for Americans?
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2010, 12:21:59 pm »
Give it to your coteacher and then they will give it to your admin. office at your school.  They'll deal with it from there.
Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard!

  • jaysig
  • Explorer

    • 7

    • July 30, 2010, 09:42:29 am
    • Yongin
Re: No taxes for Americans?
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2010, 02:14:31 pm »
I was under the impression that we will get a refund at the end of the contract. I've had my residency certificate for 4 months now. Am I just loosing out on that money the longer that I hang on to it?

  • Morticae
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1400

    • August 31, 2010, 12:45:33 pm
Re: No taxes for Americans?
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2010, 02:35:45 pm »
Give it to them now. After it is processed,  you will no longer have the taxes deducted from your paycheck.

In addition, you are not losing out on money. They will refund you the 4 months that you paid taxes, because you don't owe that money... so it is given back to you.

  • ml
  • Waygookin

    • 16

    • September 30, 2010, 01:58:36 pm
    • Osan City
Re: American TAXES
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2010, 05:23:49 pm »
Quick question....

So I've finally decided I need to figure this "TAX" stuff down...(I've just been lazy...and not wanted to think about taxes in general)

So I've only been here in Korea since the middle of I'm thinking I won't need to file my taxes for 2010. But, I do for 2011...(am I right? or am I just hoping thats true?)

On to my question, so I got paid last month, and got my earning statement for October. BUT I don't see anywhere on my paper about any tax-deduction stuff, I only see pension/health insurance and a security deposit deductions. Are they taking taxes out without telling me on the form? Does Korea automatically just deduct taxes, so thats why I don't see it on my paper?  I just wanted to ask, because I am/should start on my 8802 form...but if I'm not paying Korean taxes right now, then I'm good.

  • Busan33
  • Newgookin

    • 4

    • September 06, 2010, 02:06:32 pm
    • Busan, South Korea
How to file taxes in the U.S. this year?
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2010, 10:22:19 am »
So, I have been teaching in Korea for 9 months now and I turned in the correct paperwork to be tax exempt when I started.  However, I am guessing that I will have to file some kind of tax form for the work I did here during 2010.  Does anyone know anything about how to do this or what to look to for?

  • sdizzle08
  • Explorer

    • 5

    • September 27, 2010, 11:52:33 am
    • Yanggu
US Taxes, new year 2011?
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2010, 02:10:59 pm »
I just realized the tax year for 2010 is about to end.  Do I need to get a new 8802 (i think thats what it is) to turn into my school in January for 2011? (to be exempt from Korean taxes).  Also, do I need to get two copies of this form...since I will be switching schools mid February?

Thanks =)

  • Joshteacher
  • Adventurer

    • 33

    • December 01, 2010, 03:32:13 pm
    • Seoul, Korea
US TAX questions
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2010, 02:58:41 pm »
I'm trying to do my taxes *from last year*   I'm filing a 1040
I'm wondering if any of you can help me with these questions:

Income 8a: Taxable Interest.   I didn't receive a W2 while working in a Hagwon.
What is the taxable interest? Do I file an exemption?

Can we, as teachers in Korea, use the Educator Expenses deduction?  Do we need receipts?

Can we use the FOREIGN TAX CREDIT?   

On line 61 it asks me about Federal Income tax withheld.  What do I put?  0? 

Thanks in advance and hopes this helps others when they file for this year.

  • JZakutni
  • Explorer

    • 6

    • November 22, 2010, 08:54:39 am
    • Jinju
Re: US TAX questions
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2010, 06:06:16 pm »
Hey Josh, when you file taxes there is a special form you have to fill out called the Foreign income exclusion form. It is IRS form 2555. If you google it, it will pop up. Additionally, as long as we make under 91,000 USD a year, we are exempt from paying taxes while working abroad. You will need to file that form 2555 with form 1040. The only reason I know this is because I haven't filed for 2 years, and I just started to talk to an accountant about all of this. If you have any questions beyond this, shoot me an email.

  • torstrom
  • Veteran

    • 84

    • May 19, 2010, 07:46:52 am
    • Hwaseong
Re: US TAX questions
« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2010, 10:22:06 am »
My understanding is that you are only eligible for the foreign earned income exclusion if you are in the foreign country for 330 of the 365 days of the year. I arrived in April so I guess I'm hosed for this year. 

Re: US TAX questions
« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2010, 01:05:31 pm »
You're not hosed... You can just file an extension if you haven't met the time criteria of 360 days. I didn't know that last year and did my taxes incorectly. I am still hoping I don't get audited for it, but if I do no big deal because I didn't make over 80K.

So no worries if you screw up your taxes. If they audit you and do everything right they'll most likely find out that they owe YOU money. Although being audited is a pain in the ass, it's nothing to fear.

  • togetbex
  • Adventurer

    • 42

    • November 04, 2010, 04:44:33 pm
    • South Korea
Re: US TAX questions
« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2010, 06:56:02 pm »
I asked my accountant before I came over here about this stuff. He said that the first 200k (US dollars) is tax exempt. Also, I really really recommend just getting this stuff done by an accountant. You will significantly decrease your odds of being audited, and even if you are, the accountant deals with it.  Also, an accountant can even save you money because they know about any deductions you are eligible for.

  • Morticae
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1400

    • August 31, 2010, 12:45:33 pm
Re: US TAX questions
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2010, 08:02:20 pm »
I'll give you some shady, underhanded advice. Just don't declare the income you make in Korea if you aren't eligible for it to be tax free. They will never know what you made or what you didn't. The governments do not coordinate this information with each other.