IRS Information for U.S. Citizens Residing Abroad
The IRS has created a new comprehensive tax page 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.
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), enacted in 2010 as part of the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, is an important development in U.S. efforts to combat tax evasion by U.S. taxpayers with investments in offshore accounts.
Under FATCA, U.S. taxpayers with financial assets outside the United States must report those assets to the IRS. In addition, FATCA will require foreign financial institutions to report directly to the IRS information about financial accounts held by U.S. taxpayers, or held by foreign entities in which U.S. taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest.
For more information, please click here.
Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR)
While there are many legitimate reasons to own foreign financial accounts, they may need to be reported, even if no taxable income is generated. For information on FinCEN Form 114 (formerly TD F 90-22.1),
The United States Internal Revenue Service has no official exchange rate and accepts any posted exchange rate that is used consistently.
For exchange rates, please check HERE.
For additional exchange rates, check the U.S. Treasury website or other commercial sites such as www.oanda.com. The IRS requires that all income be reported in U.S. dollar equivalents. Taxpayers generally use the yearly average exchange rate to report foreign income that was regularly received throughout the year. If you had only a few foreign transactions on particular days, you may prefer to use the exchange rates of those specific days.
As a reminder, U.S. embassies and consulates cannot mail tax returns on behalf of private U.S. taxpayers living abroad through the diplomatic pouch or other Department of State facilities.
If you are a taxpayer with specific individual or business account questions you should contact the Philadelphia International Taxpayer Service Call Center by phone or fax. The International Call Center is operational Monday through Friday, from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (Eastern Time):
Tel: +1 267-941-1000 (not toll-free)select the option for international callers
Fax: +1 267-941-1055 (a response should be received within 10 to 12 working days)
If you are a tax professional or software provider calling about an e-file issue and it is not account related, please contact the e-help office in Austin at 512-416-7750 (not toll-free). Assistors are available Monday through Friday, from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Central time).
Taxpayer service, formerly offered at some U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad, are no longer available. Please send your tax forms and correspondence to the applicable address indicated below.
Individual taxpayers located outside the U.S. may also contact the IRS by mail at:
Internal Revenue Service
Philadelphia, PA 19255-0725
Business taxpayers located outside the U.S. may also contact the IRS by mail at:
Internal Revenue Service
Ogden, UT 84201-0038
Residents of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands may contact the IRS toll free at 1-800-829-1040. (Hours of Operation are 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday – Friday). For face-to-face assistance information in Puerto Rico refer to Contact My Local Office in Puerto Rico.
Other items of potential interest:
International Taxpayer Advocate:
To request Taxpayer Advocate assistance, call the Taxpayer Advocate Service toll-free number at 1-877-777-4778, or refer to Contact a Local Taxpayer Advocate (LTA) in Caribbean US Territories (Puerto Rico & US Virgin Islands) and International or Contact a Local Taxpayer Advocate (LTA) in Hawaii & Pacific US Territories (Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands).
Customer Service Phone Number 1-267-941-1000 (not toll free)
Refund Inquiries 1-800-829-4477
ITINs after 6 weeks 1-800-829-1040
Exempt Organization Help Desk 1-877-829-5500
Tax Offset Program (TOP) Help Desk 1-800-304-3107
E-Services Help Desk 1-512-416-7750
More Guidance and Frequently Asked Questions
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 to File
If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien residing overseas, or are in the military on duty outside the U.S., on the regular due date of your return, you are allowed an automatic 2-month extension to file your return and pay any amount due without requesting an extension. For a calendar year return, the automatic 2-month extension is to June 15. If you qualify for this 2-month extension, penalties for paying any tax late are assessed from the 2-month extended due date of the payment (June 15 for calendar year taxpayers). However, even if you are allowed an extension, you will have to pay interest on any tax not paid by the regular due date of your return (April 15 for calendar year taxpayers).
If you qualify for the 2-month extension but are unable to file your return by the automatic 2-month extension date, you can request an additional extension to October 15 by filing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, before the automatic 2-month extension date. However, if you qualify for the 2-month extension, penalties for paying any tax late are assessed from the extended due date of the payment (June 15 for calendar year taxpayers). Otherwise, if you do not qualify for the 2-month extension, penalties for paying late are assessed from the original due date of your return (April 15 for calendar year taxpayers). Also, even if you are allowed extensions to June 15 and/or October 15, you will owe interest on any unpaid tax amount from the original due date of the return (April 15 for calendar year taxpayers).
I am a U.S. Citizen living overseas, do I need to file a U.S. tax return?
Yes, most U.S. Citizens must report their worldwide income on their U.S. tax return (minimum income levels apply as determined by filing status). This also applies to those people who are self-employed and earn a net-profit of US$400 or more as they are subject to social security and medical taxes. In many instances, you will qualify to claim an exclusion of up to US$70,000 for your foreign earned income; however, you must file a return to claim the exclusion. You also may be entitled to a credit for taxes paid to a foreign government, but you must file a return to claim this 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?
What Forms May I Need?
These are most common forms and publications related to filing U.S. taxes. All links below are PDF files, which require the Adobe Reader.
- 1040, U.S Individual Income Tax Return
Instructions to Form 1040
- 1116, Foreign Tax Credit
2014 Instructions to Form 1116 – 2015 instructions will be available soon, please check on the IRS website.
- 2350, Application for Extension of Time to File U.S. Income Tax Return (for U.S. citizens and residents abroad)
2350 in Spanish
- 2555, Foreign Earned Income Exclusion
Instructions to Form 2555
- 2555-EZ, Foreign Earned Income Exclusion
Instructions to Form 2555-EZ
- 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return
4868 in Spanish
- 8802, Application for United States Residency Certificate
Instructions to Form 8802
- 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets
Instructions to Form 8938
- 14653, Certification by U.S. Person Residing Outside of the United States for Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures
How Do I Pay My Taxes?
You must pay your taxes in U.S. dollars.
- Direct pay. 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 can also 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 the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, or Federal Tax Application (same-day wire transfer). If you do not have a U.S. bank account, ask whether 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.
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 on the notice or the International Taxpayer Service Call Center (see above).
Where Can I Get More Information?
- For information on the IRS website about international taxpayers, see this page.
- 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, “Health Care Law.” (PDF 575 KB)
I Haven't Filed All My Tax Returns – What Can I Do?
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 administrative staff that supports them. Failure to comply may result in criminal or civil penalties.
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 International Taxpayer Service Call Center.
Change to Individual Taxpayer Identification Number Program
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 addtion, all ITINs issued prior to 2013 will begin to expire this year and taxpayers will need to renew them.
More information is available on the ITIN page at IRS.gov.
Need someone to prepare your tax return?
State Tax Returns
For individual state income tax information, visit http://www.taxadmin.org/. The Embassy does not have state tax forms or state tax information.