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> Information provided on this site is for general guidance only and is often simplified. Actual IRS procedures are complex, and taxpayers should obtain professional assistance or use IRS sources for complete information.

Last updated: 22nd October 2012

US Citizens Abroad
Filing requirements for US expatriates.

Resident Aliens
Filing requirements for resident aliens.

Non-Resident Aliens
Filing requirements for non-resident aliens.



Information provided on this site is for general guidance only and is often simplified. Actual IRS procedures are complex, and taxpayers should obtain professional assistance or use IRS sources for complete information.

US Citizens Abroad

US citizens living abroad have the same tax filing responsibilities as those living at home, and must file Form 1040 or one of its variants. All individuals residing overseas should file their US income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service Center.

Individuals claiming either of the foreign earned income exclusions or the housing deduction should file their returns at the same address, even if their residence at the time of filing is in the United States.

US embassies in a number of foreign countries have IRS departments which often accept filing of US income tax returns for forwarding to the United States.

The ordinary due date (April 15) for US income tax returns of individuals applies to expatriate taxpayers as well, although there is an automatic extension of time for filing to June 15 is provided to expatriate US citizens and resident aliens who, on the normal due date of the return, are residing abroad. The filing extension does not apply to payment of tax.

Individuals who qualify for this automatic extension need not file any form with the IRS to obtain the extension but should simply attach a statement to their tax returns indicating that they qualify. It should be emphasized that the automatic extension of time for filing does not extend the time for payment of tax. Interest will be charged by the IRS on any unpaid balance of tax from the normal due date (April 15) until the date the return is filed, even if the due date is extended.

As for domestic tax-payers, Form 4868 provides an automatic extension of time for filing to August 15. Any unpaid tax should be remitted with Form 4868. Further filing extensions using Form 2350 are available for tax-payers claiming the foreign income or foreign housing exclusions.

An individual due to pay a balance of tax over $1,000 is required to file Form 1040ES on a quarterly basis. Due dates for payments of estimated taxes are April 15, June 15, September 15, and January 15 of the following year. In order to avoid penalties, 90% of the total tax liability for the year must be paid through this procedure or through withholding. Penalties will no apply if the estimated tax exceeds the total income tax liability for the preceding year.

US individuals with more than US$10,000 (at the time of writing) in foreign deposits or securities must file Form 90-22.1 with the US Treasury Department.

All individuals who expatriate or terminate their US residency must file Form 8854, Initial and Annual Expatriation Information Statement, once in order for the expatriation or termination to be effective for US tax purposes.

Following the American Jobs Creation Act, Form 8854 was revised to permit individuals to meet the new notification and information reporting requirements imposed by AJCA. In particular, Form 8854 was expanded so that it functions as both the initial and the annual expatriation information statements required by AJCA. Revised Form 8854 and its instructions also address how individuals should certify (in accordance with the new law) that they have met their federal tax obligations for the five preceding taxable years and what constitutes notification to the Department of State or the Department of Homeland Security.

Notice 2005-36 provided special rules for individuals who filed the revised Form 8854 by June 15, 2005. Treasury and the IRS recognize that until the revised Form 8854 was released, individuals who lost US citizenship or terminated long-term resident status after June 3, 2004 did not know how to meet the new notification and information reporting requirements imposed by AJCA. Accordingly, Notice 2005-36 provides that if an individual who loses US citizenship or terminates long-term resident status after June 3, 2004 files the revised Form 8854 by June 15, 2005, the individual will be treated as having met his or her reporting obligations on the date on which the taxpayer provided the requisite notice to the Department of State or the Department of Homeland Security.

Form 8854 and its instructions are available at the agency Web site, IRS.gov, but are no longer obtainable from US embassies or consulates abroad.

In order to take a foreign tax credit, Form 1116 should be filed with Form 1040. Form 1116 is used to figure the amount of foreign tax paid or accrued that can be claimed as a foreign tax credit. The foreign income tax on which a credit can be claimed is the amount of legal and actual tax liability paid or accrued during the year.

Taxpayers who claim the foreign earned income exclusion, claim the foreign housing exclusion or deduction, or live in a foreign country should file their returns with Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service Center, Austin, TX 73301-0215.

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US Citizens Abroad
Filing requirements for US expatriates.

Resident Aliens
Filing requirements for resident aliens.

Non-Resident Aliens
Filing requirements for non-resident aliens.

 




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