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IRS Helps US Expats Meet Filing Deadlines

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

08 June 2015

With the approach of the final June 15 federal income tax return filing deadline for American citizens and resident aliens living overseas, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has expanded its online resources designed to help taxpayers meet their US tax obligations.

By law, Americans living abroad, as well as many non-US citizens, must file a US income tax return. Key tax benefits, such as the foreign earned income exclusion, are only available to those who file such a return. The new online resources are designed to help affected taxpayers understand how these rules apply to them.

For example, three new videos for international taxpayers are now available on the IRS website, covering the filing requirements and income limits while living abroad; what income qualifies for, how to claim, and who is eligible for the foreign earned income exclusion; and whether non-US citizens need an IRS-issued Individual Taxpayer Identification Number and how to apply for one.

Upcoming videos will deal with the foreign tax credit and the filing status of a US taxpayer married to a foreign spouse.

The IRS has drawn attention to the International Taxpayers page on its site, which contains information designed to help taxpayers living abroad, resident aliens, nonresident aliens, residents of US territories, and foreign students. The website also features a directory of overseas tax preparers.

Taxpayers are reminded that federal law requires US citizens and resident aliens to report any worldwide income, including income from foreign trusts and foreign bank and securities accounts. In most cases, affected taxpayers need to complete and attach Schedule B to their tax return. The latter also asks about the existence of foreign accounts, such as bank and securities accounts, and usually requires US citizens to report the country in which each account is located.

In addition, certain taxpayers may also have to complete and attach to their return Form 8938, Statement of Foreign Financial Assets. Generally, US citizens, resident aliens, and certain nonresident aliens must report specified foreign financial assets on this form if the aggregate value of those assets exceeded USD50,000 on the last day of the tax year, or USD75,000 at any time during the tax year (higher threshold amounts apply to married individuals filing jointly and individuals living abroad).

Under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, certain US taxpayers holding financial assets outside the United States must also report those assets to the IRS on Form 8938. Reporting thresholds vary based on whether a taxpayer files a joint income tax return or lives abroad.

TAGS: individuals | expatriates | compliance | tax | tax compliance | law | Internal Revenue Service (IRS) | tax authority | United States | individual income tax | Compliance | Tax

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