The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has provided the following guidance for U.S. citizens abroad preparing for the 2015 tax filing season. This IRS guidance is posted under Federal Benefits and Obligations on www.travel.state.gov.
Who Must File?
All U.S. citizens and resident aliens must file a U.S. individual income tax return, even if they permanently live outside the United States and may not owe any tax because of income exclusion or tax credit.
Can I Mail My Return and Payment?
You can mail your tax return and payment using the postal service or approved private delivery services. A list of approved delivery services is available on IRS.gov. If you mail a return from outside the United States, the date of filing is the postmark date. However, if you mail a payment, separately or with your return, your payment is not considered received until the date of actual receipt.
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. E-File options (https://www.irs.gov/Filing/E-File-Options) are listed on IRS.gov.
Consular officers cannot advise U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents about federal or state income tax matters. However, the Internal Revenue Service has launched a comprehensive tax page for U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents abroad that contains basic tax information that those residing overseas need to know. The site includes links to comprehensive information on important topics such as the foreign earned income exclusion, foreign tax credit, reporting of foreign bank accounts, Fulbright grants, state taxes, and much more. You can find all this, and more, here.
Additionally, the IRS now allows most taxpayers the ability to download copies of their last tax year’s transcript. Click here for more information on this service from the IRS.
The IRS Home Page, provides a lot of useful information for taxpayers and should be your first stop for tax questions and forms. In particular, visit the IRS’s website for U.S. Citizens and Residents Aliens Abroad.
One point that all international taxpayers should keep in mind is that the United States taxes its citizens on their worldwide income. Even if you are eligible to exclude a certain amount (or all) of your earned income in a given year, you must file a U.S. tax return in order to claim that exclusion.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Filing Tax (PDF 144KB)
- Tax Assistance Tips on Filing Tax, if you are living overseas. (PDF 14KB)
IRS Contact Information for U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents Living Abroad
The International Call Center is operational Monday through Friday, from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. EST, telephone: 267-941-1000 (not toll-free), fax: 267-941-1055. Assistance is available Monday through Friday, from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. CST. Taxpayer service, formerly offered by IRS offices overseas, is no longer available.
Please send your tax forms and correspondence to the applicable address indicated below.
Individual taxpayers located outside the United States also may contact the IRS by mail:
Internal Revenue Service
Philadelphia, PA 19255-0725
Business taxpayers located outside the United States also may contact the IRS by mail:
Internal Revenue Service
Ogden, UT 84201-0038
Please Note: residence overseas does not exempt American citizens from federal income tax filing requirements, which are determined by income, not location. However, residence and/or income earned abroad may change an individual’s tax liability. Legal permanent residents of the U.S. and those with property or business interests in the U.S. may also have tax liabilities. You should consult the IRS for more detailed information.
Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
The IRS is implementing significant changes made to the ITIN program under the PATH Act of 2015. The new law means that any ITIN not used on a federal tax return at least once in the last three years will no longer be valid as of January 1, 2017 for use on a tax return unless the taxpayer renews the ITIN. In addition, all ITINs issued prior to 2013 will begin to expire this year and taxpayers will need to renew them.
The first pre-2013 ITINs that will expire are those with middle digits of 78 and 79 (Example: 9XX-78-XXXX). The renewal period for these ITINs began October 1, 2016. The IRS began to mail letters to this group of taxpayers in August to inform them of the need to renew their ITINs in order to file a tax return, and explain the renewal steps. The IRS will announce the schedule for expiration and renewal of ITINs that do not have middle digits of 78 and 79 at a future date.
If taxpayers have an expired ITIN, not renewed before filing a tax return next year, they might face a refund delay and be ineligible for certain tax credits, such as the Child Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit, until they renew the ITIN. More information is available on the ITIN page at IRS.gov.
Combating Fraud, Waste and Abuse in Federal Tax Administration
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is responsible for oversight of IRS activities and for maintaining integrity in the U.S. Federal tax system. Fraud, waste, and abuse in Federal tax administration are unfair to all U.S. taxpayers and can take a variety of forms. To learn more about the different types of fraud and the work of TIGTA, and to report any information that you may have related to potential fraud, waste, and abuse, please visit website.