Expat Tax Preparation: The First Deadline Is Almost Here

Expat Tax Preparation - First Deadline of 2017

It’s already mid-March, which means the first tax deadline is right around the corner! If you haven’t already started the expat tax preparation process, now is the time to do so – gathering documents and information can be time consuming, so the earlier you begin prepping, the less stressed you’ll be when filing your US Tax Return. Here are the tax deadlines you will want to make on your calendar to ensure you don’t miss any big dates!

Tax Day 2017

While traditionally, “Tax Day” is known to be April 15th, for the past few years, it has fallen on a different date due to weekends and the Emancipation Day holiday in Washington, DC. This year is no different, as the first tax deadline falls on April 18th. Read more about the reasoning behind the move here. It’s important to note that any taxes owed are due on this date – regardless of when you actually file your expat tax return – or interest will begin to accrue until the tax is paid. To help determine what you’ll owe, you can use Form 1040-ES to estimate your tax payment to the IRS. While this tool can be helpful for expat tax preparation, it’s difficult to know exactly what you’ll owe the IRS, so it’s often best to have your US expat taxes filed and paid by the April 18th deadline in order to ensure you don’t accrue interest on outstanding taxes.

Expat Tax Deadline

Americans who are living abroad on Tax Day will receive an automatic two-month extension, making their taxes due June 15th. This time frame allows you to receive foreign tax documents, which vary in delivery dates and often differ from that of the US. If you need more time to file, June 15th is also the date by which you’d need to request an expat tax preparation extension until the October 15th deadline. You will also file FATCA Form 8938 at this time, along with your expat tax return, if you meet the filing requirements.

Final Tax Deadline

If you requested an extension by June 15th, your taxes will be due on the final deadline of October 16th. Sometimes, things come up (like waiting on tax documents, trouble finding income statements, needing more time to meet the Physical Presence Test for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion), and having the additional time to wrap up your expat tax preparation can be very helpful.

Foreign Bank Account Report

A big change for 2017 is the Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR) deadline. For the first time ever, the FBAR will be due on Tax Day, April 18th – but similar to the expat tax process, Americans abroad receive an automatic extension for filing FBAR until June 15th. Interestingly, US taxpayers can also receive an additional extension until the October 16th deadline – automatically – which means you don’t need to request an extension if you aren’t quite ready to file your FBAR by the April or June deadlines.

As a reminder, you must file FBAR if you’re a US citizen with overseas bank account(s) totaling more than $10,000 at any point during the year, regardless of your age.

It’s very important that you file your FBAR by the October deadline, as penalties for failing to file are quite steep and add up quickly (also, don’t forget the State Department can revoke passports of any US citizen with $50,000 or more in IRS debt!).

State Taxes

Depending on the state in which you lived before moving abroad, you may also be responsible for filing state taxes if you lived or worked in the state at any point in 2016. Many states follow the April 18th deadline, but there are some outliers with differing requirements. This list can help you determine the deadline in your state.

Staying on top of important dates when it comes to your expat tax preparation will help ensure you’re prepared as the deadlines approach. A little planning can go a long way in helping you stay compliant with the IRS. Download a US expat tax guide for more helpful expat tax information!

Ready to Get Started on Your Expat Taxes?

When you’re ready to complete your expat taxes, we’re here to help. Our team of dedicated CPAs and IRS Enrolled Agents are standing by, armed with the expat tax expertise you’re looking for in a tax preparer. Get started with us today and cross expat taxes off your to-do list!

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