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What is the 2021 Tax Filing Deadline for U.S. Citizens Abroad?

What is the 2021 tax filing deadline for US citizens abroad? Sacramento CPAs explain the deadline to file a US income tax return for citizens living abroad, plus additional income reporting requirements.

Every taxpayer is already aware that U.S. citizens are required to file an annual income tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). What fewer people realize is that there are also income reporting and tax requirements for U.S. citizens living abroad. If you’re a U.S. citizen who lives in a foreign country – or if you’re planning on becoming one anytime soon – it’s important that you understand some basic information about your responsibilities and obligations as a taxpayer overseas. Our Sacramento CPA firm explains whether citizens living abroad are required to file U.S. taxes, with information about the 2021 tax filing deadlines for U.S. citizens residing outside the United States.

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Are U.S. Citizens Living Abroad Required to File an Income Tax Return with the IRS?

Unlike most other nations, which typically tax individuals based on residency, the United States is unique in taxing all U.S. citizens – including those who reside overseas. It doesn’t matter if you live in Germany, France, Thailand, Canada, Sweden, South Korea, or anywhere else around the globe. If you are a U.S. citizen, you generally must report your global income to the IRS. Most people abroad need to file. An income tax filing requirement generally applies even if a taxpayer qualifies for tax benefits, such as the Foreign Earned Income exclusion or the Foreign Tax credit, which substantially reduces or eliminates U.S. tax liability. Indeed, these benefits are available exclusively to citizens who have filed tax returns as directed by the IRS. Failure to file a tax return or report foreign income when you are a U.S. citizen abroad can result in the imposition of substantial civil penalties, which could cost you many thousands of dollars. Depending on the circumstances, failing to submit an income tax return could even lead to criminal prosecution. Our California tax accountants from Cook CPA Group explain more about the tax requirements for U.S. citizens living abroad.

Quick Look at the Tax Requirements for U.S. Citizens Living Abroad

As we mentioned, most people abroad need to file their taxes. As a U.S. citizen living abroad, you need to meet the IRS filing requirements for your taxable year. These requirements are not limited to just filing a timely tax return. In addition, you must also comply with other tax requirements that affect citizens abroad. For example, you must file an FBAR (Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, FinCEN Report 114) if both of the following statements are true:

  1. You are a U.S. person (including citizens, corporations, partnerships, trusts, and estates) with signature authority over, or financial interest in, one or more bank accounts or financial accounts located outside the U.S. – for example, a checking account you maintain at a foreign bank.
  2. The value of your account or accounts was higher than $10,000, for any duration of time, at any point during the year.

What is the 2021 U.S. Tax Filing Deadline Abroad?

This year’s deadline to file taxes is April 15, 2021, with various extensions available, the latest being October 15, 2021. If you will be residing overseas on April 15, 2021, or if you will be on military duty, you will receive an automatic two-month extension on the deadline.

However, it is critical to keep in mind that the extension applies only to filing taxes – not to paying taxes. Even if you obtain an extension on the filing deadline, you will still be required to pay interest on unpaid taxes by the tax return’s normal due date.

What Happens If I Live Abroad and Don’t Pay My Taxes on Time?

As we mentioned, no matter where you live in the world, if you are an American citizen, you must file and pay your taxes. There are no exceptions for American citizens living abroad. Moreover, like any American citizen, failure to file or paying your taxes in 2021 can lead to severe penalties. For instance, you can face thousands of dollars in penalties, disqualification from any tax benefits, or jail – if you are caught evading your tax obligations.

It is essential to understand that the IRS pursues taxes worldwide. The U.S. has treaties with many countries around the world, allowing them to collect taxes. If you owe a substantial debt to the IRS and live abroad, the IRS can deny your U.S. passport. This is clearly a problem you’d want to avoid.

Additionally, it would be best to keep in mind that just because you don’t have to pay back taxes to the IRS doesn’t mean you don’t have to file. Filing your tax returns is an obligation every American citizen has. As we mentioned, it is best to keep your tax filing in check to avoid problems with the IRS.

You may feel overwhelmed and nervous, especially if this is your first time filing your taxes while living abroad. However, it is essential to keep yourself informed about your tax filing’s essential details during 2021. If you need assistance preparing and filing your taxes on April 15, 2021, our Roseville tax accountants can help you. We bring decades of experience to every case we handle. We can make sure you file your taxes on time and avoid costly penalties with the IRS.

Roseville CPAs Providing Tax Preparation Services for Expats

The U.S. Tax Code is notorious for its complexity, and IRS regulations are very difficult for most taxpayers to navigate with ease and confidence. For U.S. citizens abroad, to whom special financial regulations apply, making it through the upcoming tax season may be even more of a challenge. Don’t miss out on tax deductions, tax credits, or other opportunities to utilize the U.S. Tax Code strategically – or worse, find yourself at the center of a criminal investigation. Instead, get an early start on preparing for this year’s tax season, and hire a trusted, experienced California CPA to handle all of your tax preparation needs for you. At Cook CPA Group, our knowledgeable team of tax consultants and Certified Public Accountants approaches every matter with over 20 years of experience, giving you total peace of mind that your tax return will be prepared correctly and efficiently. We can review your records for errors, look for ways to minimize your tax liability, represent you before the IRS, help you comply with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), and assist with other tax-related issues commonly affecting expats and citizens abroad. Filing your taxes doesn’t have to be stressful. To learn more about how a CPA, tax consultant, or professional tax preparer in Roseville can assist you with Roseville tax services for individuals, contact Cook CPA Group at (916) 250-3893 for a free tax consultation. From our offices in California, we serve clients in Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom, and dozens of other nations around the world.