Living outside USA will not get you rid of the requirement to file annual income tax returns. Citizens and US green card holders are required by law to file their tax returns each year even if they have stayed outside United States or have not generated any income in United States of America. They should continue to file their returns same as when they were living in US if their annual gross income as an individual is in excess of $ 9,350 or $ 18,700 when filing as married jointly. The filing of tax return by expats is also required to claim any tax benefit including foreign earned income exclusions or foreign tax credits. Let us further study these requirements.
There are some special provisions in place which are applicable for expat taxpayers to make it convenient for them to file their returns. The filing of state tax returns may not be due but it is still mandatory for all of them to file their federal tax returns to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) department.
Let us first understand that filing of a tax return doesnt mean that necessarily you have to pay something to the tax authorities. As an expat you can qualify for foreign earned income exclusion in Form 2555. This means an expat earning in excess of $ 100,000 can still pay no taxes in US. In case you have paid any foreign income taxes you can claim tax credits of the equivalent account.
US expats have several options on where they have to send their tax returns. In case where no income tax is due they can file by mail addressed to IRS, Austin, TX office. In the case where you have tax dues you need to mail the return to IRS, Charlotte, NC office. American tax payers can also submit their returns at the nearest consulate office. Special extra time of six months is also provided to the expat taxpayers in order to file their returns. They usually have to file their returns by 15th October every year, this six months extension is automatic and one doesnt need apply to avail it. A simple form 4868 is supposed to be filed by this category of taxpayers.
One always also has a choice of electronically preparing and submitting their tax returns from an off shore location. This method has proven to be more efficient and less cumbersome.