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.
When is the 2015 Federal Tax Return Due?
Due date for Form 1040: April 15, 2016.
- An automatic extension to June 15, 2016, is granted 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 will generally be applied if payment is made after this date.
- To request an additional extension to October 15, 2016, use Form 4868.
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 are listed on IRS.gov.
What if my return is prepared by a third party?
New regulations giving taxpayers greater control over their personal tax return information (Internal Revenue Code Section 7216) became effective January 1, 2009. These regulations limit tax return preparers’ use and disclosure of information obtained during the return preparation process to activities directly related to the preparation of the return.
The regulations, along with supplemental Revenue Procedure 2008-35, contain the updated rules and requirements relating to disclosure and use of tax return information. These regulations apply to paid and volunteer preparers and the administartive staff that supports them. Failure to comply may results in criminal or civil penalties. See the IRC 7216 for more information.
What if I haven’t filed tax returns recently?
You are required to file a tax return for any year that your income exceeds minimum filing levels. Contact the IRS to bring your accounts up to date. If you owe back taxes and are unable to pay in full, the IRS offers installment payment arrangements and considers offers-in-compromise to satisfy a tax liability. Taxpayers who come forward, make a true voluntary disclosure, and file an accurate return, will not be prosecuted. For more information or filing assistance, please contact the IRS Philadelphia Service Center.
Should anyone note fraudulent activities related to the IRS, its employees, or individual/corporate tax fraud abroad, the link to report such fraud activity will be found at the following website: Here