“The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.”- Albert Einstein
If Albert Einstein, purportedly one of the brightest minds in known history, found income taxes hard to understand, it is not surprising that more ordinary minds (us!) have a hard time understanding it, too!
Being Behind on Your Taxes Is Not Very Uncommon
Interestingly, late US tax filing that occurs after the final due date is not uncommon. IRS and the tax authorities of the US that require income tax collection have guidelines instructing taxpayers on how to file their income tax returns after the due date. Penalties and interest associated with filing late may be mandated, but getting back into compliance is possible.
Late US Tax Filing: How to Get Started
If you are a US citizen or resident alien (“green card holder”), you are required to file a US tax return annually as your worldwide income is subject to US income tax regardless of your residence. If you have property or other income from a US state with an income tax requirement, you may also have to file a state income tax return.
In regard to federal filings, the options available depend on whether you are delinquent in at least three years of tax filings. If you are delinquent in fewer than three years of tax filings (i.e., one or two years of delinquent returns), you should file the returns as soon as possible, and you won’t necessarily need an amnesty program to do so. If you are delinquent in three or more years of tax filings, the IRS has a program to allow taxpayers to get back into compliance. This program is called the Streamlined Filing Procedures and has specific requirements that need to be followed for filing.
No matter which of the above options applies to you, it is limited by time. It is essential that, if you need to complete a late US tax filing, you take immediate action to get back into compliance. Sooner or later, the IRS will come knocking on your door via tax notices. At that point, it will be too late to use an amnesty program, and you will likely be charged hefty penalties and fees.
What Documents Do I Need for a Late US Tax Filing?
Tax information needed for the delinquent years includes but is not limited to:
- Most recent prior year’s tax return – federal and state, if applicable
- Income information such as wage statements and paycheck summaries
- Foreign income tax returns filed to your host country
- Investment income statements such as bank interest statements and dividend income statements and information on any stock sales, if applicable
- Other tax-related details as appropriate
Register and complete our questionnaire to provide the other information that is needed to file your returns.
Let Greenback Help With Your Late US Tax Filing Process!
With our efficient data gathering systems and knowledgeable and experienced expat tax accountants, we proudly help US expats get back into compliance. We assist taxpayers with their delinquent tax filings and are especially appreciative as they come back to us year after year to stay in compliance. If you want the process to be stress-free, get started with Greenback today.