Navigating the Maze of US Tax Deadlines | A Guide for Expats

December 15, 2023

As the US tax filing season swings into full gear, it’s crucial for US expats and tax residents living abroad to stay informed about their filing deadlines and obligations. Let’s dive into the key dates and details you need to know.

June 15th: A Critical Date for Expats

While April 15 is famously known as the tax deadline within the US, expats have the advantage of a later deadline. If you’re a US citizen or tax resident (such as a green card holder) living outside the US as of April 15, you're eligible for an automatic extension until June 15. This extended deadline means you have until June 15 to file your tax return and settle any taxes due, without needing to request an additional extension.

However, there's a twist: if you owe taxes, interest accrues on the amount due post-April 15, calculated at the IRS short-term rate plus 3%. For example, if you owe $1,000 on April 15 but pay by June 15, expect to pay around $70 in interest. This extension is a significant relief from the hefty penalties that would otherwise apply.

For the 2022 tax year, a quirk in the calendar pushes the original due date from April 15 to April 18, but the June 15 extension remains unchanged.

October 16th: The Extended Deadline

If you find that the June 15 deadline isn't sufficient, you can file for an automatic extension using Form 4868. This grants you time until October 15 to file your return. In 2022, since October 15 falls on a Sunday, the deadline is extended to the next business day, October 16.

In exceptional cases, a further two-month extension to December might be available, but it's advisable to consult a tax professional to understand the specifics and eligibility.

FBAR Deadline: Also October 16th

Separate from your income tax return is the FBAR (Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Report), typically due on April 18. An automatic six-month extension aligns the FBAR deadline with the extended income tax deadline, falling on October 16 this year. Remember, if you get a special extension beyond October 16 for your income tax return, this doesn't apply to your FBAR filing, which has a firm deadline.

Making Payments to the IRS

Various payment options are available for settling your tax dues with the IRS. For detailed information on these methods, visit the IRS payments page at https://www.irs.gov/payments.

Key Takeaways and Next Steps

Tax filing for expats involves navigating the complexities of multiple tax systems, and US laws can be intricate when applied to non-US assets and activities. While this guide covers the basics, remember that owning assets or entities outside the US might introduce additional filing requirements.

At McGowin Tax LLC, we specialize in international tax matters for individuals and small businesses. I work personally with clients to simplify their reporting requirements and optimize tax efficiency. If you're seeking guidance on US tax planning and compliance, we're here to assist. Visit us at https://www.mcgowintax.com/, or reach out directly to me, Alex McGowin, at alex.mcgowin@mcgowintax.com.


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