How to File a Late Tax Return: A Guide For Expats

Did you miss the June 15th tax deadline for expats? Or perhaps you have missed the last several years of filing taxes. Either way, we have a solution for you. If you didn’t realize there was a filing requirement for expats, or if you’re simply running a little behind this year, we can help you file a late tax return, and we can do it penalty-free.

Step One: Determine If You Should Use an IRS Amnesty Program

If you are just filing taxes late this year (meaning, you missed the June deadline but are otherwise compliant), your best bet is to file as soon as possible to reduce the interest you are charged. However, if you are more than one year behind because you did not know you had a filing requirement, you will likely want to use the Streamlined Filing Procedures. To catch up using Streamlined Filing Procedures, you are required to file the past three years of delinquent Federal Tax Returns and the past six years of FBARs. This is true even for expats who haven’t filed a tax return in a decade! After filing these documents, you’ll be caught up, penalty-free. And, guess what? 2017 can be one of the years you file in your Streamlined Filing Procedures if you missed that June deadline.

On the other hand, if you knew about the requirement but did not maintain tax compliance, your best bet may be the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). This is another amnesty program offered by the IRS that helps taxpayers become compliant without prosecution if they were willfully evading taxes. However, act quickly if this is you because the OVDP is coming to an end this year!

Step Two: Take Immediate Action to File a Late Tax Return

Getting caught up isn’t as scary as it sounds, no matter how far behind you are. But in all cases, the sooner you take steps to become compliant, the better. If you are only one year behind, that’s great! Gathering your documents is a great next step. If you’d like to use Streamlined Filing Procedures, the easiest way is to enlist professional help. That way you can rest assured that you’re compliant and everything was completed correctly. If you’re going to use the OVDP, you may want to contact a tax attorney to ensure that this is your best option.

Step Three: Stay Compliant

Staying compliant each year is much easier than having to file a late tax return again in the future; plus, it will save you money! Keep all your tax documents in one place, or, if you’re a Greenback client, we will store all of your documents for the duration you are open to IRS audit. So there’s no end-of-the-year scramble to find last year’s info. It’s all in one place, so you never have to worry.

Need Help to File a Late Tax Return?

Greenback will ensure your tax return is correct and takes advantage of every deduction available. Get started now!

Free Guide: 25 Things Every Expat Needs to Know About Taxes

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