As we approach this year’s October 15 extended U.S. tax deadline, we thought it would be worthwhile to review the annual U.S. tax deadlines for expats and explain how we’ve arrived at October 15 as the next critical due date.
The Original US Tax Deadline – June 15
There is a common misunderstanding among U.S. expats regarding their true filing deadline. Many expats believe that the traditional April 15 deadline is the critical deadline and that, absent filing a proper extension with the IRS (Form 4868) by April 15, one will be penalized for the untimely filing of their U.S. income tax return should their return be filed after this date.
The reality is that if you live outside the U.S. on April 15, you are entitled to an automatic extension (without the filing of an extension form) until June 15.
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 15 to avoid paying interest on your late payment (late payment penalties do not commence until June 15).
As we’ve pointed out in recent blog, this year’s June 15 U.S. tax payment and filing deadlines for expats were extended to July 15 in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
The Extended US Tax Deadline – October 15
If the original tax deadline does not afford you enough time to file your tax return, an automatic extension can also be filed (by the due date of the original return), resulting in additional time to file until October 15. You request the extension by filing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.
An even further extension of two months may be granted if October 15 does not provide sufficient time to file the tax return. An Expat Tax Professional should be consulted to discuss this extension option.
Several options are available for making payments to the IRS. More information regarding payment options can be found at the following link:
The US Tax Deadline for the FBAR
The FBAR filing due date is April 15, but with an automatic extension for a 6-month period ending on October 15.
It’s important to note that if the IRS grants you a further special extension to December 15 to file your income tax return beyond the October 15 deadline, the extension does not apply to the FBAR. The FBAR has a hard deadline of October 15.
What Expats Should Know About US Tax Deadlines
As a U.S. expat, it is absolutely critical that your taxes be prepared and filed accurately and timely. With the ever-increasing scrutiny placed on the foreign banking activities of U.S. citizens, you want to make sure you’re not taking any unnecessary risks when dealing with U.S. tax compliance.
Filing an expat return is a complicated matter and can often be improperly handled by the “do-it-yourself” software currently available on the market. Here, at Expat Tax Professionals we help thousands of expats each year with their U.S. tax return filing, tax planning, and all related U.S. tax matters. Contact us today to have your taxes handled by a real professional.