The IRS has created a new comprehensive tax page on http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/international/article/ which is directed to U.S. citizens who reside abroad. This page contains basic tax information that Americans overseas need to know and also 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 a myriad of others. Rather than navigating through www.irs.gov, this page will provide “one stop shopping” for U.S. citizens abroad. The intent is to provide answers to most of their tax questions in one place. The site also provides information on how to contact the IRS to get additional assistance.
Please note that 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.
Who Must File?
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 (PDF 2.5 MB).
When is the 2015 Federal Tax Return Due?
Due date for Form 1040: April 18, 2016
The due date is April 18 instead of April 15 because of the Emancipation Day holiday in Washington, D.C., – even if you do not live in the District of Columbia. If you live in Maine or Massachusetts, your federal tax return is due April 19, 2016, the day after the Patriots’ Day holiday in those states.
Possible extensions of time to file tax return: Automatic extension to June 18, 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 18, 2016. Interest and penalties generally will be applied if payment is made after this date.
Extension for all taxpayers to October 18, 2016: File Form 4868.
Other extensions may be available on IRS.gov.
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.
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.
What Forms Might I Need?
Instructions to Form 1040 (PDF 3 MB)
1116, Foreign Tax Credit (PDF 119 KB)
Instructions to Form 1116 (PDF 359 KB)
2350 in Spanish (PDF 515 KB)
2555, Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (PDF 220 KB)
Instructions to Form 2555 (PDF 287 KB)
2555-EZ, Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (PDF 148 KB)
Instructions to Form 2555-EZ (PDF 171 KB)
4868 in Spanish (PDF 524 KB)
Instructions to Form 8802 (PDF 247 KB)
Instructions to Form 8938 (PDF 271 KB)
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.
Are There Other Reporting Requirements?
Does the IRS Provide Help in Other Languages?
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)
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).
Where Can I Get More Information?
For information, see the IRS website about international taxpayers.
For general information about international taxpayers, see Publication 54, Taxation of U.S. Citizens and Residents Abroad.
For information on the Affordable Care Act and taxpayers outside the United States, see Publication 5187 (PDF 917 KB), Health Care Law.