US Expats: Things to keep in mind while filing your Taxes

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US expats

Filing taxes on time and being in the good books of the IRS is a big thing. With, so many rules and regulations to keep in mind, it is only human that we might miss out on a thing or two while filing our returns, especially if you are a US citizen staying abroad.

For US expats residing or working abroad, the tax filing deadline is on June 15th of this year. As May draws to a close, you must have started getting those annual jitters at the thought of the dreaded day. Whether you have been shuttling between countries and have forgotten what the US tax regime entails or if you have stayed put in one country outside off the U.S. but have forgotten how to file your taxes anyway, no need to panic just yet. This blog will give you a quick sneak peek into all that you need to know to file your returns with confidence like a pro!

Late to file your tax returns? Don’t worry, the IRS has got your covered.

Keep in mind, whether you’re a resident U.S. citizen, or a military personnel deputed outside the U.S. or a resident alien (U.S. citizen but residing in a foreign country), YOU ARE BOUND BY THE U.S. TAX LAWS.

As most of you must be aware the due date to file returns for US citizens, residing in the country, hovers around the mid of April every year, however, for those who stay abroad, the IRS generously grants you an automatic 2-months extension till June 15th. The best part, you do not even need to request.

Yes, this is an automatic prolongation but be informed that you will need to be qualified for it. If you do not cough up and pay your tax to the IRS then, any penalties attached to this amount will be calculated from the lapse of the automatic extension (15th June). Plus, irrespective of whether you qualify for an extension or not, you will be required to pay interest on any tax not paid by the regular due date, i.e., 15th April.

For those of you not able to file your tax returns within the two-month automatic extension, can request further prolongation till 15th October by filling Form 4868. But keep in mind that you need to submit this form before the end of the automatic extension. If you qualify for the automatic extension, then you will be penalized from June 15 but if you do not qualify for the automatic extension, then you will be penalized from the original due date of filing the return i.e., 15th April. Also, qualified or not, the extra interest for late payment will be counted from the original due date. So, we hope you have put firm reminders to dodge such penalties and interest.

Where to file your returns?

For green card holders residing in the U.S. or outside, you are required to mail your tax returns to the Department of Treasury and your estimated tax payments along with Form 1040-ES to the Internal Revenue Service. And if you are a taxpayer with Adjusted Gross Income, then you may file your returns electronically as well. Easy right?

Do you want to file someone as a dependent on your Tax Return?

If you want to file yourself or someone else as a dependent on your tax return, then you have got to have either a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). To get an SSN or find out if you are eligible for one, fill the Form SS-5. If either of you or your dependent is not eligible for the SSN then you may fill the Form W-7 to obtain an ITIN but this would need proper documentation, so keep them handy.

Living outside US? Know about the exchange rates.

No matter where you reside if you are a green card holder then you need to file your returns in US Dollars to the IRS. Usually, people who have foreign-earned income, exchange their country’s currency into dollars as per the annual average exchange rate. But if you have earned such income in breaks then you may use the exchange rate applicable on the day you earned such income.

An error in your tax returns? Don’t panic, we have just the remedy for you.

Discovered an error in your tax return? But, do you know whether it’s required to file an amended return or not? Well, the IRS Interactive Tax Assistant can help answer this question for you. The ITA will help you find out if you need to file an amended return or just make changes to the original return. What could be easier?

If your ITA says to go ahead for filing an amended return, then fill the Form-1040-X to correct your tax return and mail it to the address mentioned in your form’s instructions section. But, if you are filling this form because of a notice you received from the IRS, then you would need to mail it on the address mentioned on such communication. A point to keep in mind is that you need not file for such amended return because of mathematical errors. You just need to ensure to file for the same within 3 years of filing the original tax return.

Conclusion

We hope we were able to clear the many of your doubts in this blog. Be aware that, with such organized tax laws, the IRS has also made quite a remarkable system to help you with it. All you need is the right resource to get such information from and we are here to be your one-stop solution for all such guidance.

For more such tax news and updates, stay tuned with MyTaxFiler. We also provide a one-stop solution for all your tax-related woes. Simply drop a mail at tax@mytaxfiler.com or call us at (888)-482–0279 for an on-call consultation.

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