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.
For information regarding taxes please visit the Internal Revenue Service.
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act- Form 8938
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), enacted in 2010, requires U.S. taxpayers who own financial assets outside of the United States to report the fair market value of those assets to the IRS. FATCA also requires foreign financial institutions to report certain information about financial accounts held by U.S. taxpayers, or by foreign entities in which U.S. taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest.
Taxpayer reporting under FATCA currently applies to specified individuals who include U.S. citizens, any non-citizen who meets the substantial presence test, a non-resident alien who makes an election to be treated as a resident alien for purposes of filing a joint tax return, and a non-resident alien who is a bona fide resident of American Samoa or Puerto Rico. While the obligation to report arises only if the total value of the taxpayer’s specified foreign financial assets exceeds the minimum threshold for that taxpayer’s filing status, reporting is required whether the taxpayer is living in the United States or living abroad.
If you are a taxpayer living abroad you must file form 8938 if:
- You are filing a return other than a joint return and the total value of your specified foreign assets is more than $200,000 on the last day of the tax year or more than $300,000 at any time during the year; or
- You are filing a joint return and the value of your specified foreign asset is more than $400,000 on the last day of the tax year or more than $600,000 at any time during the year.
Refer to the Form 8938 instructions for information on how to determine the total value of your specified foreign financial assets.
For additional threshold amounts, definitions, valuation methods and FAQ’s please click here.
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.
- 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 make after this date.
- Other extensions may be available on IRS.gov.
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.
Important Information and Links
- Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)
- Department of Treasury FATCA resource
- Treasury press releases regarding final FATCA guidelines for institutions and final FATCA regulations
- Treasury Notes: Myth vs. FATCA
- IRS FATCA resource page
- FATCA FAQs on filing
- FATCA Information for Individuals
- Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR)