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. Your worldwide income is subject to U.S. income tax, regardless of where you reside.
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 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, any tax due payments made after June 15 will be subject to both interest charges and failure to pay penalties.
Where to File
If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien (Green Card Holder) and you live in a foreign country, mail your U.S. tax return to:
Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service Center
Austin, TX 73301-0215 – USA
Estimated tax payments should be mailed with form 1040-ES to:
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 1300
Charlotte, NC 28201-1300 – USA
Taxpayers with an AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) within a specified threshold can electronically file their tax return for free using freefile. Taxpayers with an AGI greater than $58,000 can either use the Free File Fillable Forms or efile by purchasing commercial software. A limited number of companies provide software that can accommodate foreign addresses. To determine which will work best for you, view the complete Free File Software list and the services provided.
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 a 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.
You must express the amounts you report on your U.S. tax return in U.S. dollars. If you receive all or part of your income or pay some or all of your expenses in foreign currency, you must translate the foreign currency into U.S. dollars. Taxpayers generally use the yearly average exchange rate to report foreign-earned income that was received regularly throughout the year. However, if you had foreign transactions on specific days, you may also use the exchange rates for those days. Exchange rates can be found at Foreign Currency and Currency Exchange Rates. Yearly average currency exchange rates for most countries can be found at Yearly Average Currency Exchange Rates.
This is an updated article originally published in Easy Milano 2015/04/16.
Easy Milano is the online publication for the international community of Milan. We offer practical tips, key information and essential insights about living and working in Italy. Easy Milano has been assisting English speaking expats in Milan since 1999.
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