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Hello all,
Not sure how to ask this question, so please forgive me.  

Basically, I want to retire to Thailand, but don't know how to go about it legally.  Excluding financial abilities, what do I have to prepare for the US government each year or before leaving the US?  Are there any yearly penalties for not living in the US?  Do I need to register with the US embassy in Thailand? Some of my OTHER concerns are Social security (when it's time to collect), file yearly taxes, how do I deal with my 401k and other retirement accounts before and during my stay in Thailand?  However, I'm planning on traveling back to the US at least once or twice per year for approximately one month at each occurrence.  The remaining time will be in Thailand.

 

The benefit for me is that I have dual US/Thai citizens.  Most of my relatives are living in Thailand, so I feel comfortable there.  I have no idea where to start, so please offer as much advice as possible.

 

Thank you

 

 

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, tonray said:

No penalties for US citizen living abroad

Do not need to register but helpful to receive email updates and notices

SS: can be filed online or via Manila office

Taxes can be filed online or via mail...up to you.

If you have an address of record in US, sibling etc...I would make that your address for all USA services

401-K and investments...manage online just as you would if you lived in USA.

Thank you!  Sounds like I just have to sell my belongings and move.  Nothing else to do?  I'm assuming I wont be losing my Driving privileges as long as its not expired?

Edited by Misplaced
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12 minutes ago, Misplaced said:

Thank you!  Sounds like I just have to sell my belongings and move.  Nothing else to do?

There may be details you need to attend to...I only addressed your general queries. You may have debts/properties/etc that need consideration. 

 

 

Edited by ubonjoe
removed a nonsensical off topic comment and image
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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, tonray said:

There may be details you need to attend to...I only addressed your general queries. You may have debts/properties/etc that need consideration. 

 

<removed>  The good part for me is that all my debt are paid off.  I just have to sell the house and quit my job.  I’m so ready.  If you can think of any other tips please let me know.  Thank you.

Edited by ubonjoe
edited quote and reply to a removed comment
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If you have Thai nationality if I were you I would renounce US citizenship. The fee with the US consulate will cost you about $2350, unless you are some kind of multimillionaire you may have to pay an exit tax. You will still be entitled to social security payment and 401k, and pensions but will never have to file a tax return or do FATCA reporting, 

 

Maybe try to get a Singaporean bank and investment account and shift all your assets there.  You will be 100 percent Thai though for overseas travel, if you want to go to the US you will need to get need to secure a Visa like any other Thai person.

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1 hour ago, Misplaced said:

 However, I'm planning on traveling back to the US at least once or twice per year for approximately one month at each occurrence

OP, you already have good info from @tonray

I'm just throwing in a sideways consideration. You sound like your 100% committed to this and why not, I along with many love living in Thailand.

so my sideways consideration......you dont need to sell your home etc at the very start. Personally I sold many assets including homes over time while in Thailand. 

As you intend to return to USA each year it's easy to sell your home in the future.

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Just remember as a USA citizen you are still liable for USA income tax where ever you live. Not really an issue if your income is low (by USA standards), but best to get at least some advice of your liabilities before you leave.

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4 hours ago, Misplaced said:

Thank you!  Sounds like I just have to sell my belongings and move.  Nothing else to do?  I'm assuming I wont be losing my Driving privileges as long as its not expired?

You might need a few brown envelopes to grease the wheels, but for the most part will be painless....most US States allow for DL renewal via the internet until you reach the age of 70....than it is time for an eyecheck and look/see to make sure you are the real deal....easy peasy....good luck on your adventure....just make sure to not look back....someone or something might be gaining on you! 🤗🤫🥳🤪

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4 hours ago, Misplaced said:

<removed>  The good part for me is that all my debt are paid off.  I just have to sell the house and quit my job.  I’m so ready.  If you can think of any other tips please let me know.  Thank you.

Regardless of where you are coming from, I would discourage you from selling your house. 

 

1. It can be a source of passive income.

2. If it does not work out here, and it often does not, for a million reasons you could never imagine, then you at least have a home to go back to while you figure out your next moves.

 

I'd also figure on putting some essenial stuff in storage (maybe with family) for say 2 years, then figure out what to do with it then. 

 

Do ship anything you plan to bring within 6 months of arrival or you'll be slugged extra customs and duty. 

 

You can air-freight and stack your own pallets, you just need to do some research, and hire two trucks at each end to get it to and from the airline warehouse you use. Shipping pallets by air takes just one online form, its harder in fact to get yourself on a plane these days!

 

Freight agents are the worlds biggest scam if you're not an actual goods shipping business. 

 

You can buy most things here, but most gardening equipment here is made locally or in China and it is all universally garbage, I've had three "steel" shovel shafts snap on me, hedge clippers bend!!! So I tried their "home-made" machete, hoe, and pick, all likewise broke within months, and I'm not doing anything one would not do in a granpaw garden.

 

Finally, right now is not a great time to show up, let the clowns get their Covid act together, then review.

 

Good luck!

 

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If you retain your US citizenship:

1. Get a good mail forwarding service. Don't rely on friends or relatives - they will eventually get tired of it.  Or forget at worse time!

2. Keep at least one US bank account.

3. Keep your US credit cards. They usually have much lower limits here and can be more difficult to obtain, especially if you don't have a good job.  Use your US address for billing.  Pay online from your US bank account.

4. Keep a USA mobile phone number and use it when you use your credit cards (hotels, airlines, Amazon, etc.)  If you use your Thai phone number, it won't match your USA billing address, and your charge will be rejected.  I keep an AT&T number for about $60/month.

5.  File your US income tax (if any) online using Turbotax.  It's easy if you follow the step-by-step directions.

Good luck,

Don

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1 hour ago, donmuang37 said:

If you retain your US citizenship:

1. Get a good mail forwarding service. Don't rely on friends or relatives - they will eventually get tired of it.  Or forget at worse time!

2. Keep at least one US bank account.

3. Keep your US credit cards. They usually have much lower limits here and can be more difficult to obtain, especially if you don't have a good job.  Use your US address for billing.  Pay online from your US bank account.

4. Keep a USA mobile phone number and use it when you use your credit cards (hotels, airlines, Amazon, etc.)  If you use your Thai phone number, it won't match your USA billing address, and your charge will be rejected.  I keep an AT&T number for about $60/month.

5.  File your US income tax (if any) online using Turbotax.  It's easy if you follow the step-by-step directions.

Good luck,

Don

All good advice.

I would add that I got a USA Skype number in Colorado area code for $6.50/month and for $2.99/month I have unlimited calling package to any USA mobile /land-line phone; cheaper and more useful alternative to a mobile phone.

 

Of course one needs an internet connection for that. I use a router with a VPN image on it (Express VPN) so I also show a USA IP address., though this is not necessary. Together though it makes it appear that I'm operating in America.

 

A USA cell phone number helps with other American entities  but won't be much use in Thailand though I understand what you're saying. Having a USA phone number is essential for contacting credit card, bank, etc.

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7 hours ago, Misplaced said:

The good part for me is that all my debt are paid off.  I just have to sell the house and quit my job.  I’m so ready.  If you can think of any other tips please let me know.  Thank you.

If your house is debt free, find a good property manager and rent it out. I am netting 30k baht/month. Consider a 10% vacancy per year, 10% maintenance,  insurance, and property taxes, then the rest is gravy.

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1 hour ago, donmuang37 said:

3. Keep your US credit cards. They usually have much lower limits here and can be more difficult to obtain, especially if you don't have a good job.  Use your US address for billing.  Pay online from your US bank account.

Beware of foreign transaction fees (FTA) on most US credit cards, typically 4%. Before making the plunge, shop around. They're out there - no FTA and no annual fee.

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I haven't read other replies, so someone may have already addressed this.

 

Before you leave the U.S., create a my Social Security Account online. You can only do it if you have a residence in the U.S. and a recent credit report has been created proving you actually reside there. It's very convenient for updating your current mailing address and getting current information. Otherwise you have to use snail mail, because the Social Security Administration is another one of those agencies with sixty-year-old software and software procurement rules. FYI, the Social Security Administration does send snail mail to Thai addresses, and the letters do arrive here. The my Social Security Account is more convenient.

 

I understand you can have your Social Security benefit deposited to a Thai bank, now. I have legacy reasons to have mine deposited in my credit union account in the States, and I find using wise dot com is a convenient and inexpensive way to 
 

 

Luckily, as has already been mentioned, there are no penalties for living abroad. There is a Treaty of Amity between Thailand and the U.S., so all income you have from the U.S. is taxed there. You do have to pay Thai income tax on any earnings in the Kingdom, but on a retirement visa you can't have a work permit anyway (says so on the stamp in your passport) so that's not probable.

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This thing used to have an Edit function. I wanted to clarify -- if you do not have a mySocialSecurityAccount I do not know of any way to deal with the Social Security Administration online, and you cannot create one from Thailand. 

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To deal with SSA while in Thailand, one can use

Email

You may contact us in a variety of ways, but the most efficient way is by sending an email to [email protected]. We generally respond within five (5) business days from the date of receipt.

To assist you with your concerns, we may ask for your Social Security Number (SSN), your date of birth and/or banking information. Providing this information is optional; however, we may need this information to answer your questions and fully assist you.

Phone

You may call us at +63-2-5301-2000 (Option 9) from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (Manila Time) every Tuesday and Thursday, except on U.S. and Philippine Holidays.

Facsimile or Postal Mail

You may send your inquiry via fax to +63-2-8708-9714 or write to us at the following address:

 Local Address:  U.S. Address:
U.S. Embassy – Manila
Social Security Administration
1201 Roxas Boulevard
Manila, Philippines 0930
U.S. Embassy – Manila
Unit 8600 Box 1610
DPO AP 96515-1610

  https://ph.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/social-security/

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18 hours ago, ubonjoe said:

It will be easy for you to stay in Thailand if you enter using a Thai passport.

Not need to deal with immigration for anything.

Thank you.  That is my intention.  

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18 hours ago, DrJack54 said:

OP, you already have good info from @tonray

I'm just throwing in a sideways consideration. You sound like your 100% committed to this and why not, I along with many love living in Thailand.

so my sideways consideration......you dont need to sell your home etc at the very start. Personally I sold many assets including homes over time while in Thailand. 

As you intend to return to USA each year it's easy to sell your home in the future.

I would agree, except that I dont enjoy living in the same neighborhood any longer, and its a good time to sell.

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15 hours ago, rickudon said:

Just remember as a USA citizen you are still liable for USA income tax where ever you live. Not really an issue if your income is low (by USA standards), but best to get at least some advice of your liabilities before you leave.

Financially, Im very comfortable, so I will be paying myh yearly taxes. No avoidance here.  Thank you though.

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13 hours ago, donmuang37 said:

If you retain your US citizenship:

1. Get a good mail forwarding service. Don't rely on friends or relatives - they will eventually get tired of it.  Or forget at worse time!

2. Keep at least one US bank account.

3. Keep your US credit cards. They usually have much lower limits here and can be more difficult to obtain, especially if you don't have a good job.  Use your US address for billing.  Pay online from your US bank account.

4. Keep a USA mobile phone number and use it when you use your credit cards (hotels, airlines, Amazon, etc.)  If you use your Thai phone number, it won't match your USA billing address, and your charge will be rejected.  I keep an AT&T number for about $60/month.

5.  File your US income tax (if any) online using Turbotax.  It's easy if you follow the step-by-step directions.

Good luck,

Don

Thank you, Don.  The ATT phone number slipped out of my mind, but now back in. Good tip

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12 hours ago, RocketDog said:

I would add that I got a USA Skype number in Colorado area code for $6.50/month and for $2.99/month I have unlimited calling package to any USA mobile /land-line phone; cheaper and more useful alternative to a mobile phone.

 

 

Can you please elaborate.  Thank you

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12 hours ago, J Town said:

If your house is debt free, find a good property manager and rent it out. I am netting 30k baht/month. Consider a 10% vacancy per year, 10% maintenance,  insurance, and property taxes, then the rest is gravy.

I thought about that, but what happens if the house is destroyed by renters?  Do I fly back and take care of it or property manager?  

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11 hours ago, Acharn said:

I haven't read other replies, so someone may have already addressed this.

 

Before you leave the U.S., create a my Social Security Account online. You can only do it if you have a residence in the U.S. and a recent credit report has been created proving you actually reside there. It's very convenient for updating your current mailing address and getting current information. Otherwise you have to use snail mail, because the Social Security Administration is another one of those agencies with sixty-year-old software and software procurement rules. FYI, the Social Security Administration does send snail mail to Thai addresses, and the letters do arrive here. The my Social Security Account is more convenient.

 

I understand you can have your Social Security benefit deposited to a Thai bank, now. I have legacy reasons to have mine deposited in my credit union account in the States, and I find using wise dot com is a convenient and inexpensive way to 
 

 

Luckily, as has already been mentioned, there are no penalties for living abroad. There is a Treaty of Amity between Thailand and the U.S., so all income you have from the U.S. is taxed there. You do have to pay Thai income tax on any earnings in the Kingdom, but on a retirement visa you can't have a work permit anyway (says so on the stamp in your passport) so that's not probable.

I defnitely will be living as a Thai here, until I go back to visit the States.  It's the benefits of dual citizens 🙂

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