Did You Know You Must File US Taxes Even When Living Abroad?


Dear Readers,

As many of you are US citizens living abroad I’m posting this courtesy notice to remind you of your legal obligations to the good ol’ US of A.

1) You must file US taxes no matter where you live or what other country you pay taxes to. Visit www.irs.gov for more information.

2) You must file the FBAR (report of foreign bank accounts) by June 30th and there is no opportunity for an extension. Visit http://bsaefiling.fincen.treas.gov/main.html for more information.

The good news for some of you:

You might not have to file taxes if you have no income and your spouse is not a US citizen or Green Card carrier. Then your filing status can be married filing separately, and you do not have to declare your spouses income.

The not-so-bad news for many of you:

Because many countries have double-taxation relief treaties it is possible you won’t end up owing the IRS any money, but you still have to file.

EVERYONE who has more than $10,000 in combined assets in non-US banks has to file the FBAR. The US isn’t asking for any of your money, they just want to know everything about your finances.

I could say something about cultural power here. As an upstanding citizen I have to report to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network simply because I fell in love when traveling our wonderful world and settled down outside the US.

Sorry I have no real post, but my taxes and FBAR were super complicated this year (even though I’m not rich enough to owe any money) and all my computer time has been spent on that.

This is not legal advice, you are solely responsible for your situation (insert appropriate lawyer talk here). I am just an average person trying to do the right thing and help people.

Good luck!

And if you live in the United States, count yourself lucky you only have one set of income taxes to file!

5 thoughts on “Did You Know You Must File US Taxes Even When Living Abroad?”

  1. One set of taxes to file if you are lucky enough to live in a state without income tax.

    Two sets to file if you live in a state where there is income tax.

    Three if you work in a state with income tax and live in a different state that also has income tax.

    Four if you receive an inheritance from a person in a state that is not where you work or live.

    We finally decided to hire someone to do our taxes. The relief is worth the money to me. We have never had to file four, but I think we had to file 3 after your grandfather passed away.

    Even with 4 to file, it sounds like it would be easier than what would be involved with ex-pat filing. Good luck!


  2. Sounds like the CT DMV. Oh wait, they did the software overhaul and it seems to have made things worse!

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