Frequently Asked Questions

Overseas tax filers have an automatic extension until June 15th for individual income tax returns and it’s possible to extend the deadline to October 15th if necessary. However, if tax is due it must be paid by April 15th in order to avoid interest charges. It’s also possible to make a prepayment by April 15th and file the tax return later. In some cases it may also be possible to receive a filing extension until December 15th.

The Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) must be e-filed by June 30th and no extension is available. There can be severe penalties assessed for late filing so it’s very important that this form is filed on time.
American citizens and green card holders are taxed on their worldwide income, regardless of where they live or where their income is derived. Whether or not an American taxpayer actually needs to file depends on their level of income and filing status, such as single, married filing jointly, head of household and etc. For tax year 201, the income threshold is $3,950 if you are Married Filing Separately, $10,150 for a Single filer, $13,050 for a taxpayer who files as Head of Household and increases to $20,300 for Married Filing Jointly. These amounts also increase for taxpayers who are 65 or older.
Americans and green card holders who have foreign (non-U.S.) bank or financial accounts with an aggregate value of $10,000 or more at any time during the year must file an FBAR to declare their ownership over the accounts. Generally, all bank accounts, securities accounts and 3rd Pillar accounts must be declared. These accounts must be declared even if you own them jointly or only have signatory authority over them. The rules are complex and penalties for non-compliance are severe, beginning at $10,000 per year.
Even if your income from employment is below the exclusion amount of $99,200 for 2014, you must still file a tax return if your total earnings are greater than the income thresholds above. It is also important to keep in mind that the exclusion applies only to earned income. This means that income from pensions and social security, for example, does not qualify for the exclusion.
One of the conditions of your visa is to follow U.S. laws. Payment of U.S. income tax due is required by law. If you owe taxes and don’t file, the IRS can assess penalty and interest. There may also be immigration consequences if you fail to file taxes; applicants for permanent residency (green cards) are often asked to show proof of tax filing for their previous years in the U.S.
The due date for filing a federal individual income tax return is generally April 15th of each year. Your return is considered filed timely if the envelope is properly addressed and postmarked no later than April 15th. If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the due date is delayed until the next business day. If you cannot file by the due date of your return, you can request an extension of time to file. To receive an automatic six-month extension of time to file your return, please file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, by the due date of your return However, if you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien who is either: 1) living outside of the United States and Puerto Rico and your main place of business or post of duty is outside of the United States and Puerto Rico; or 2) in military or naval services on duty outside of the United States and Puerto Rico on the due date of your return, you are allowed an automatic two-month extension until June 15th to file your return and pay any tax due. If you use this automatic two-month extension, you must attach a statement to your return explaining which of the two situations qualify you for the extension.
You need an ITIN if you are not eligible to get a social security number, but must provide a taxpayer identification number on a U.S. tax return. Examples include the following:

A nonresident alien individual eligible to get the benefit of reduced withholding under an income tax treaty (see Publication 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities).
A nonresident alien individual not eligible for an SSN, who is required to file a U.S. tax return or who is filing a U.S. tax return only to claim a refund.
A nonresident alien individual not eligible for an SSN who elects to file a joint U.S. tax return with a spouse who is a U.S. citizen or resident alien.
An alien spouse who is claimed as an exemption on a U.S. tax return, but who is not eligible to get an SSN.
An alien individual who is eligible to be claimed as a dependent on a U.S. tax return, but who is not eligible to get an SSN. To determine if an alien individual is eligible to be claimed as a dependent on a U.S. tax return (see Publication 501,Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing information, and Publication 519,S. Tax Guide for Aliens).
An ITIN does not provide authorization to work in the United States or provide eligibility for Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit.
If you requested that you receive your tax refund via direct deposit, be sure to check your bank statement or online account to ensure that you have not in fact received the refund. If you do not receive your tax refund within six weeks of submitting your tax return, go to the IRS website section entitled “Where’s My Refund” https://sa2.www4.irs.gov/irfof/lang/en/irfofgetstatus.jsp to check the status of your tax refund. You will need to enter the following information from your tax return:

SSN or ITIN
Filing Status (Indicate “Single”)
The amount of your tax refund (only the dollars, not the cents)
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