With the April 18th Deadline Closing In, Is It Time to Panic?
The first quarter of 2017 has come to an end, and this year’s tax due dates are now fast approaching. A quick review of the filing deadlines, however, should help U.S. expats understand that it’s not yet time to push the panic button.
This Year’s Tax Return Deadline
U.S. expats are generally required to file their returns by April 15th of the following year, just like U.S. residents. Due to a national holiday, the April 15th due date for the 2016 tax return is moved to April 18, 2016.
However, if you live outside the U.S. on April 18th this year, you are entitled to an automatic extension (without the filing of an extension form) until June 15th. It should be noted that if you owe tax, the extension applies only to the tax return filing and not the tax payment. Therefore, you must still submit your payment by April 15th to avoid paying interest (late payment penalties do not commence until June 15th).
Aside from the June 15th extension, an automatic extension can also be filed resulting in additional time to file until October 15th. Due to October 15th falling out on a weekend, the extension due date for the 2016 tax return is moved to October 16, 2017.
This Year’s FBAR Deadline
In previous years, the FBAR was due by June 30th, and extensions were not allowed.
For tax year 2016 and onwards, the FBAR due date is April 15th (April 18th this year due to the weekend and a holiday), but with a maximum extension for a 6-month period ending on October 15th (October 16th due to the weekend). Per guidance from the Treasury Department, the extension is available this year with no specific request for an extension required.
We believe that the change to the FBAR deadline is generally a positive development for expats as it coordinates the FBAR due date with the tax return due date, giving expats more time to gather their information and file both items at the same time.
The FBAR form (FinCEN Form 114) is filed electronically using the BSA E-Filing System maintained by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”).
It is best, of course, to try to not to delay and instead prepare your tax return and FBAR in good time. We can help with filing an extension, if necessary, and preparing your tax return on time. Contact an Expat Tax Professional today and we will get the process started immediately.
By Ephraim Moss, Esq. & Joshua Ashman, CPA