Important Tax Filing Information for U.S. Taxpayers Abroad

Ask the Consul Installment 158

  1. Who Must File Income Taxes?

If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien living or traveling outside the United States, you generally are required to file income tax returns, estate tax returns, and gift tax returns, and pay estimated tax in the same way as those residing in the United States. Your worldwide income is subject to U.S. income tax, regardless of where you reside.

Your income, filing status, and age generally determine whether you must file an income tax return. Generally, you must file a return if your gross income from worldwide sources is at least the amount shown for your filing status in the Filing Requirements table in Chapter 1 of Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad.

  1. When is the 2015 Federal Tax Return Due?

20111117stateDue date for Form 1040: April 15, 2016

  1. Are there extensions?

Automatic extension to June 15, 2016, for taxpayers living outside the United States and Puerto Rico. No form is required; write “Taxpayer Resident Abroad” at the top of your tax return.

Caution: This extension applies only for filing your tax return, not for payment. If you owe any taxes, you’re required to pay by April 15, 2016. Interest and penalties generally will be applied if payment is made after this date.

Extension for all taxpayers to October 15, 2016: File Form 4868.

Caution: This extension applies only for filing your tax return, not for payment. If you owe any taxes, you’re required to pay by April 15, 2016. Interest and penalties will generally be applied if payment make after this date.

Other extensions may be available on IRS.gov.

  1. Can I Mail My Return and Payment?

You can mail your tax return and payment using the postal service. If you mail a return from outside the United States, the date of filing is the postmark date. However, if you send a payment, separately or with your return, your payment is not considered received until the date of actual receipt. You may use approved private delivery services. A list of approved delivery services is available on IRS.gov

  1. Can I Electronically File My Return?

You can prepare and e-file your income tax return, in many cases for free. Participating software companies make their products available through the IRS. Many Free File and e-file partners accept a foreign address. E-File options are listed on IRS.gov.

  1. What Forms Might I Need?

Visit the IRS website for complete filing instructions and forms: https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/International-Taxpayers or https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p54.pdf

  1. How Do I Pay My Taxes?

You must pay your taxes in U.S. dollars.

Direct pay option. You can pay online with a direct transfer from your U.S. bank account using Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, or by a U.S.

debit or credit card. You also can pay by phone using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System or by a U.S. debit or credit card.

Foreign wire transfers. If you have a U.S. bank account, you can use: EFTPS (Electronic Federal Tax Payment System), or Federal Tax Application (same-day wire transfer). If you do not have a U.S. bank account, ask if your financial institution has a U.S. affiliate that can help you make same-day wire transfers.

Foreign electronic payments. International taxpayers who do not have a U.S. bank account may transfer funds from their foreign bank account directly to the IRS for payment of their tax liabilities.

  1. Are There Other Reporting Requirements?

You also may have to file FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), by June 30, 2016.

  1. Where Can I Get Help?

Contact the International Taxpayer Service Call Center by phone or fax. The International Call Center is open Monday through Friday, from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).

Tel: 267-941-1000 (not toll-free)

Fax: 267-941-1055

  1. I Received a Notice from the IRS – What Do I Do?

If you receive a notice from the IRS and need to contact the IRS, call the number listed in the notice or the International Taxpayer Service Call Center (contact information is listed in the section above).

  1. Where Can I Get More Information?

For information, see the IRS website about international taxpayers: https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/International-Taxpayers

For general information about international taxpayers, see Publication 54, Taxation of U.S. Citizens and Residents Abroad: https://www.irs.gov/uac/About-Publication-54

For information on the Affordable Care Act and taxpayers outside the United States, see Publication 5187, Health Care Law: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p5187.pdf

  1. I Haven’t Filed All My Tax Returns – What Can I Do?

If you have not filed all the returns that you should have and want to catch up on your filing obligations, see IRS makes changes to offshore-programs at https://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Makes-Changes-to-Offshore-Programs;-Revisions-Ease-Burden-and-Help-More-Taxpayers-Come-into-Compliance.

“Ask the Consul” is a regular column from the U.S. Embassy answering questions about American Citizen Services and visa issues. If you have a general question about policy, please email it to us at AskGeorge@state.gov. We select questions every other week and publish the answers in Stabroek News and on our website at http://georgetown.usembassy.gov/ask-the-consul.html.

Information about visas and travel can be viewed at http://georgetown. usembassy.gov, http://travel.state.gov, and at http://www.dhs.gov. Applicants are strongly encouraged to prepare their own documents and avoid third-party advice. U.S. Consular rules change frequently and non-US government advisors often provide inadequate or inaccurate information.

Other than the questions we select, we DO NOT respond to questions sent to Ask the Consul. Please contact the Visa Information Service on telephone number 225-8732 or 703-439-2359 if you have procedural questions or e-mail visageorge@state.gov for case specific information.

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