USA Federal Income Tax Regulations

To : U.S. Taxpayers Living Abroad

Who Must File a Tax Return???

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. However, you may qualify for certain foreign earned income exclusions and/or foreign income tax credits. Please refer to Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad, for additional information.

When to File???

The due date for filing a federal individual income tax return generally is April 15 of each year if your tax year ends December 31st. Your return is considered filed timely if the envelope is properly addressed and postmarked no later than April 15, Publication 17, Part 1 - When do I have to file?

If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the due date is delayed until the next business day. If you cannot file by the due date of your return, you can request an extension of time to file. To receive an automatic 6-month extension of time to file your return, you should file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, by the due date of your return. For more information, refer to the Form 4868 instructions.

However, if you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, who is either: (1) living outside of the United States and Puerto Rico and your main place of business or post of duty is outside of the United States and Puerto Rico; or (2) in military or naval services on duty outside of the United States and Puerto Rico on the due date of your return, you are allowed an automatic 2-month extension until June 15 to file your return and pay any tax due. For additional information refer to Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad. If you use this automatic 2-month extension, you must attach a statement to your return explaining which of the two situations qualify you for the extension.

Where to File???

If you live in a foreign country, use one of these addresses to file your paper Form 1040, Form 1040A, or Form 1040-EZ:

  1. If you are NOT enclosing a check or money order:
    • Department of the Treasury
    • Internal Revenue Service
    • Austin, TX 73301-0215 U.S.A.
  1. If you ARE enclosing a check or money order:
    • Internal Revenue Service
    • P.O. Box 1303
    • Charlotte, NC 28201-1303 U.S.A.

Private Delivery Services

You can use certain private delivery services designated by the IRS to meet the "timely mailing as timely filing/paying" rule for tax returns and payments. These private delivery services include only the following:

  • DHL Express (DHL): DHL Same Day Service
  • Federal Express (FedEx): FedEx Priority Overnight, FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx 2Day, FedEx International Priority, and FedEx International First
  • United Parcel Service (UPS): UPS Next Day Air, UPS Next Day Air Saver, UPS 2nd Day Air, UPS 2nd Day Air A.M., UPS Worldwide Express Plus, and UPS Worldwide Express.

The private delivery service can tell you how to get written proof of the mailing date.

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 either use the Free File Fillable Forms or e-file by purchasing commercial software. A limited number of companies provide software that can accommodate foreign addresses. To determine which will work best for you, get help choosing a software provider.

How to Pay Tax Liabilities???

There are various options for paying your U.S. taxes.

  • EFTPS (Electronic Federal Tax Payment System).

This is only available if you have a U.S. bank account.

  • Federal Tax Collection Service (same-day wire transfer).

If you do not have a U.S. bank account, ask if your financial institution has a U.S. affiliate that can help you make same-day wire transfers. For more information on this option, refer to the Foreign Electronic Payments website.

  • Check or money order.

To pay by check or money order, make your check or money order payable to the "United States Treasury" for the full amount due. Do not send cash. Do not attach the payment to your return.

  • Credit or debit card.

This option is useful if you do not have a U.S. bank account.  Refer to the Pay Your Taxes by Debit or Credit Card website with details regarding this process and fees.

For more information on these payment methods, go to the Electronic Payment Options Home Page.

Overseas Tax Preparation

The IRS recently published a searchable directory, listing preparers in your area. The listed preparers currently hold professional credentials recognized by the IRS or hold an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion. See Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications.

Additional Information

There are multiple resources available focused on international individual tax matters for taxpayers living abroad. For example:

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American Citizen Services
Consulate General of the United States | Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
U.S. Department of State | +966.013.330.3200 | [email protected]
Register at https://step.state.gov/step/

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