citizenship tax and student loans
September 25, 2014 3:17 AM   Subscribe

I'm a US citizen with indefinite leave to remain in the UK. I want to apply for UK citizenship. I have defaulted student loans in the US and haven't filed my taxes in the US for ten years while I've lived here in the UK. Am I going to need to get straight with the US before I can naturalise as a UK citizen? I intend to pay / file what needs paid and filed but what order should I do it in?
posted by Mistress to Law & Government (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Have you looked at form AN?

You won't be disqualified because of a bad credit rating or because you are behind in your taxes.
You may be disqualified if you have criminal convictions or civil judgements against you.

In terms of what order - do it all at the same time. Although it sounds like it might give you greater peace of mind to settle your US obligations first I don't see a place on form AN where it is relevant.

Regarding your taxes. Anecdotally, over 50% of the expats I know are behind in their US taxes. I just finished filing 4 years of them a few months ago. Just file them. The US and UK have a tax treaty so it is extremely unlikely you will owe anything.
posted by vacapinta at 4:44 AM on September 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: So if I defaulted on US student loans years ago would there be a US judgment against me? I certainly got no notification of anything like that.
posted by Mistress at 4:58 AM on September 25, 2014

Your US credit report should show judgments against you.
posted by dcjd at 5:53 AM on September 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

FYI, is the Federal Government's site that allows you to pull your credit reports for free each year.
posted by The Michael The at 6:29 AM on September 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Looks like the annual credit report isn't accessible to me without a US current address? I may be misunderstanding.
posted by Mistress at 8:05 AM on September 28, 2014

Here is an article from BusinessWeek about your "how do I get my credit report from overseas" dilemma, albeit maybe a bit dated and from 2006. It's a known issue and may require some express mailing.

You might also contact your original student loan lender(s)or the last known servicer(s) to see what they say about the loan. It has probably been sold several times, and may have wound up in collection.

Actually, if your loans were federally guaranteed, you might well owe your loan balance (plus interest and penalties) as a tax obligation anyway.

Either way, good for you for paying the loans off. I'm always amazed at people who think there is no moral question involved in whether or not one pays off debt, especially student debt (guaranteed by fellow taxpayers and students). You took the loans, you got the education, you signed the paper, and you owe the money. It's a question of moral character, which I believe is one of the criteria for UK citizenship in any case.
posted by spitbull at 5:48 AM on January 11, 2015

« Older Parev (non-dairy) dessert that will keep (24 hours...   |   Buying a home in the UK Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.