If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, the rules for filing income, estate, and gift tax returns and paying estimated tax are generally the same whether you are in the United States or abroad. You are subject to tax on worldwide income from all sources and must report all taxable income and pay taxes according to the Internal Revenue Code.
Many Americans living abroad qualify for special tax benefits, such as the foreign earned income exclusion and foreign tax credit, but they can only get them by filing a U.S. return. For further details, see Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad.
U.S. taxpayers who own foreign financial accounts must report those accounts to the U.S. Treasury Department, even if the accounts don't generate any taxable income. Taxpayers should file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) electronically by April 18, 2022, using the BSA E-Filing System. For further details see Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).
Taxpayers must also report virtual currency transactions to the IRS on their tax returns; these transactions are taxable by law just like any other property transaction. For more information see Virtual Currencies.
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 without requesting an extension. For a calendar year return, the automatic 2-month extension is to June 15. For calendar year 2021 you must pay any tax due by April 18, 2022, or interest will be charged.
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. 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 18, 2022, for calendar year 2021).
Where to File
If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien (including a green card holder) and you live in a foreign country, and you are:
Requesting a refund, or no check or money order enclosed, mail your U.S. tax return to:
Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Austin, TX 73301-0215
Enclosing a check or money order, mail your U.S. tax return to:
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 1303
Charlotte, NC 28201-1303
Electronic Filing (e-file)
Taxpayers with an AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) within a specified threshold can electronically file their tax return for free using Free File. Taxpayers with an AGI greater than the specified threshold can use the Free File Fillable Forms, the e-file by purchasing commercial software, or the Authorized IRS e-file Provider Locator Service. A limited number of companies provide software that can accommodate foreign addresses.
Taxpayer Identification Number
Each taxpayer who files, or is claimed as a dependent on, a U.S. tax return will need a social security number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). To obtain an SSN, use form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. To get form SS-5, or to find out if you are eligible for a social security card, contact a Social Security office or visit Social Security International Operations. If you, or your spouse, are not eligible for a SSN, you can obtain an ITIN by filing form W-7 along with appropriate documentation.
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