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

U.S. State Department, U.S. Embassy Seoul
Consular Section, American Citizen Services (ACS) Newsletter
April 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. IRS Information for Overseas Taxpayers
2. Additional U.S. Tax Information Resources
3. Association for Teachers of English in Korea
4. Access to Korean Websites for Foreigners
5. A Message to American Communities and Organizations in Korea
6. Recent Travel Warnings and Alerts
7. Upcoming Holidays
8. Embassy Contact Information

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1. IRS Information for Overseas Taxpayers
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The Internal Revenue Service has created a comprehensive tax webpage directed to U.S. citizens who reside abroad: http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/international/article/0,,id=97324,00.html. The webpage contains basic tax information that Americans overseas need to know and includes links to more detailed topics such as the foreign earned income exclusion, foreign tax credit, reporting foreign bank accounts, Fulbright grants, state taxes, and many others. This page will provide “one stop shopping” for U.S. citizens abroad. The intent is to provide answers to most of your tax questions in one place. The site also provides information on how to contact the IRS to get additional assistance.

In addition, the IRS has published a brochure to assist taxpayers: Publication 4732, Federal Tax Information for U.S. Taxpayers. Copies are now available at the U.S. Embassy or for download at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p4732.pdf. The IRS developed the brochure as a resource to help taxpayers locate information in order to prepare tax returns and/or resolve tax account problems.

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2. Additional U.S. Tax Information Resources
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We recommend that you obtain your tax forms online at http://www.irs.gov/formspubs/index.html. The IRS no longer compiles the “1040 Overseas Filers Package,” so there are 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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3. Association for Teachers of English in Korea
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ATEK, the Association for Teachers of English in Korea, announced its official launching on March 12. The association aims to represent non-citizen teachers of English in Korea. The group’s press release is found at: http://ateknews.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/non-citizen-english-teachers-find-voice/.

The ATEK website home page is http://atek.or.kr/.

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4. Access to Korean Websites for Foreigners
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Arirang News recently reported the following:

Foreigners living in Korea may soon be able to join members-only Korean websites with their alien registration numbers. Currently, foreigners are restricted from accessing many of Korea’s major websites as nearly all portals require identification through a Korean resident registration number. But under the “Friendly Digital Korea” project launched by the Korea Communications Commission, expats will soon be able to sign in to all websites with their 13-digit number. According to a commission spokesman, the project is part of a bigger plan to become foreigner-friendly by taking advantage of the country’s IT technology.

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5. A Message to American Communities and Organizations in Korea
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The Embassy encourages all schools, business groups, churches, private companies, and other organizations with a nucleus of American citizens to make sure that the Embassy has a point of contact for your group. Here is what you can do to ensure that your group is kept fully informed by the Embassy:
–Sign your group up at http://asktheconsul.org/ to receive this newsletter and Embassy warden messages through your group’s generic email address;
–If you have a group that will be in Korea for a fixed period of time, register them at travelregistration.state.gov, following the instructions under “New Organizational User”;
–Send a quick email to the Embassy at Seoul_ACS@state.gov giving us the name of your organization, a point of contact (even if the person is not an American), email address, phone number, and any other contact information. The Embassy could use this information to contact your group in an emergency or if email systems are not working. Just type “Group Contact Info” on the subject line of your email to us, and we’ll add the information to our database.

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

Algeria 03/04/2009
Bangladesh 03/02/2009
Comoros 03/16/2009
Madagascar 03/09/2009
Saudi Arabia 03/04/2009
Sudan 03/09/2009

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 Holidays
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There are no official Korean or American holidays in April.

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8. Embassy Contact Information
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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

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