US Embassy information for Expats in the Republic of Korea February 2009

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U.S. State Department, U.S. Embassy Seoul
Consular Section, American Citizen Services (ACS) Newsletter
February 2009

The U.S. Embassy is transmitting the following monthly newsletter via its warden system as a public service to U.S. citizens in the Republic of Korea.  Please feel free to disseminate this message to U.S. citizens in your organizations or to other Americans you know.

In this issue:

1. U.S. Tax Information Resources
2. New IRS Regulation: Disclosure of Tax Information by Preparers
3. New Law Makes Escape Tougher For Tax Exiles
4. Foreigners to Get Unified Identification
5. Korea Launches English-Language Legal Information Website
6. Recent Travel Warnings and Alerts
7. Upcoming Holiday: February 16
8. Embassy Contact Information

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1. U.S. Tax Information Resources
———————————

Income tax season is upon us.  We recommend that you obtain your tax forms online at http://www.irs.gov/formspubs/index.html.  Please note that the IRS no longer compiles the “1040 Overseas Filers Package,” so there will be no packages available at the U.S. Embassy for the 2008 tax year.  All forms from the package are available for download from the IRS website.

For more information on U.S. taxes, please consult the list of websites and telephone numbers below to help find the forms and answers you need.

Main IRS website: http://www.irs.gov
U.S. Embassy Seoul tax information page: http://seoul.usembassy.gov/tax_information.html
Tax guidance for U.S. citizens abroad: http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/international/article/0,,id=97324,00.html
Tax guidance for persons in the military:  http://www.irs.gov/individuals/military/index.html
Electronic payment website:  http://www.eftps.gov/
Refund information: http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96596,00.html?portlet=4

Phone Services:

Individuals                             1-800-829-1040
Businesses                                      1-800-829-4933
Customer Service Phone Number           1-215-516-2000
Refund Inquiries                                1-800-829-4477
TeleTax                                         1-800-829-4477
ITINs after 6 weeks                     1-800-829-1040
Exempt Organization Help Desk           1-877-829-5500
Tax Offset Program (TOP) Help Desk      1-800-304-3107
E-Services Help Desk                    1-512-416-7750

STATE TAX RETURNS:  For individual state income tax information, visit http://www.taxadmin.org/.  The Embassy does not have state tax forms or state tax information.

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2. New IRS Regulation: Disclosure of Tax Information by Preparers
—————————————————————–

The IRS asks Americans to take note of new regulations giving taxpayers
greater control over their personal tax return information.  New regulations under Internal Revenue Code Section 7216, Disclosure or Use of Tax Information by Preparers of Returns, became effective January 1,
2009.  These regulations limit tax return preparers’ use and disclosure of information obtained during the return preparation process to activities directly related to the preparation of the return.

The regulations, along with supplemental Revenue Procedure 2008-35 http://www.irs.gov/irb/2008-29_IRB/ar13.html, contain the updated rules and requirements relating to disclosure and use of tax return information.  These regulations apply to paid and volunteer preparers and the administrative staff that supports them.  Failure to comply may result in criminal or civil penalties.  See the IRC 7216 http://www.irs.gov/efile/article/0,,id=188390,00.html information page on IRS.gov for more details.  Frequently Asked Questions are available at http://www.irs.gov/efile/article/0,,id=188398,00.html on irs.gov.

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3. New Law Makes Escape Tougher For Tax Exiles
———————————————-

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article on “tax exiles”: “It’s been called ‘the ultimate estate plan’: moving to a desert island or other far-off locale to escape the clutches of the Internal Revenue Service.  Indeed, hundreds of Americans do formally renounce their U.S. citizenship every year, many in order to protect their wealth from income, estate, and gift taxes.  But last week, Congress may have made life less rewarding for tax exiles.”  For the full article, please see: http://online.wsj.com/public/article_print/SB121193252276024279.html

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4. Foreigners to Get Unified Identification
——————————————-

The Korea Times recently reported that a Presidential panel has advised the Ministry of Justice to change the registration system for foreign residents to help them more easily prove their family relationships.

According to the article, “The move comes as the number of multicultural families here is increasing. ‘More than 160,000 foreigners emigrated here for marriage.  In a bid to help improve the rights of multicultural families and their settlement, we will continue to improve cooperation with government offices,’ said an official of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC).  If the recommendation is accepted, foreign spouses are expected to easily prove their marriage and family relations, as family and foreign registration will have the same information.  The commission suggested that a foreign registration number, English names in passports, and Korean names all be written on identification documents.

“Currently, a family relations roster under the control of the Supreme Court requires foreigners who marry a South Korean national to write their names in Korean as they are pronounced.  On the other hand, foreign registration governed by the Ministry of Justice requires them to write their names, in English, and their foreign registration numbers.  What the two documents commonly ask for is the date of birth only, the commission noted.

“The commission learned that foreign spouses have had difficulties opening bank accounts or going to hospitals since personal information could prove neither marriage nor family relations.  The commission has also offered civil services in English, Japanese, and Chinese through an online petition center at www.epeople.go.kr.”

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5. Korea Launches English-Language Legal Information Website
————————————————————

The Korean Ministry of Government Legislation (MOLEG) has launched an English-language website to provide foreign investors, workers, students, and married immigrants in Korea with legal information.  The site was established to help foreigners with little or no understanding of the Korean language.  The site offers details on foreign investment, employment, marriage in Korea, and other topics.  The website address is http://oneclick.moleg.go.kr.

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6. Recent Travel Warnings and Alerts
————————————

The U.S. Department of State has recently issued travel warnings or travel alerts for the following countries and regions:

Burundi    01/08/2009
Fiji   01/15/2009
Haiti    01/28/2009
Israel, the West Bank and Gaza    01/15/2009
Philippines    01/27/2009

For additional information about these travel warnings and alerts, please go to this site:

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_1764.html

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7. Upcoming Holiday: February 16
———————————

The U.S. Embassy will be closed on:

February 16 (Monday)  Presidents’ Day

Please be advised that the days just before and after a holiday are usually exceptionally busy in the American Citizen Services Unit of the Embassy.  Do not be surprised at a significantly longer wait for consular services on those days.  If you visit us outside those times, you should have a shorter wait.

A complete list of all of our holiday closings for 2009 is available on-line at http://seoul.usembassy.gov/holidays.html.

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8. Embassy Contact Information
——————————-

American Citizen Services
U.S. Embassy Seoul
32, Sejongno, Jongno-gu
Seoul 110-710, Korea

– or –

American Citizen Services
U.S. Embassy, Seoul
Unit #15550
APO AP 96205-5550

Tel: 02-397-4114
Fax: 02-397-4101
DSN: 721-4114
English:  http://www.asktheconsul.org/
Korean:  http://www.usavisas.org/
E-mail:  seoul_acs@state.gov

1 Comment

Filed under Announcements, Korea life, Legal, News, Traveling, USA

One response to “US Embassy information for Expats in the Republic of Korea February 2009

  1. Pingback: State Taxes | Tax Lawyer

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