If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, the filing requirements for income tax returns are generally the same whether you are in the United States or overseas. Like all other U.S. taxpayers, your income, filing status and age determine whether you must file a tax return.
Generally, you must file a return for tax year 2013 if your gross income from worldwide income is at least the amount shown for filing status in the table below (tax year 2013 filing requirement table applies for most, but not all, taxpayers).
Expat Tax Filing Requirement – Do You Need to File A Tax Return?
You must file if the thresholds in the table are met, even if you have no U.S. income and even if no taxes are owed.
Expat Tax Filing Requirement Table – For Most Expat Taxpayers
Both Spouses 65 Or Older$22,400
|Filing Status||Must File If Gross Income Is At Least:|
|65 or older||$11,500|
|Married Filing Jointly||Both Spouses Under 65||$20,000|
|One Spouse 65 Or Older||$21,200|
|Married Filing Separately||$3,900|
|Head of Household||Under 65||$12,850|
|65 or older||$14,350|
|Qualifying Widow(er)||Under 65||$16,100|
|65 or older||$17,300|
It is interesting to note that the United States is one of only two countries in the world that taxes its citizens even when they are no longer a resident of their home country – the other country is Eritrea (a country in the horn of Africa).
For purposes of determining your expat tax filing requirement, gross income includes all income you receive in the form of money, goods, property and services that are not exempt from tax. As an overseas taxpayer, gross income also includes any income that you can exclude as foreign earned income (by claiming the foreign earned income exclusion) or as a foreign housing amount.
Preserve Your Right To Claim The Foreign Earned Income Exclusion
If you meet the expat tax filing requirement, you should file a tax return to preserve your right to claim the foreign earned income exclusion. In certain circumstances where the IRS discovers that you failed to file a return, you may lose your right to take advantage of the tax savings by claiming the foreign earned income exclusion. So, we recommend that you file your return before the IRS begins any collection activity or inquiries into unfiled returns.
Confirm Your Expat Tax Filing Requirement
Tax Samaritan is focused on ensuring that accurate and complete returns are prepared for expatriates while paying the lowest expat tax liability legally possible. If you would like a quote, please click on the button below for a free, no obligation Tax Preparation quote and/or free 30-minute consultation to discuss your expat tax filing requirement:
Our goal at Tax Samaritan is to provide the best counsel, advocacy and personal service for our clients. We are not only tax preparation and representation experts, but strive to become valued business partners. Tax Samaritan is committed to understanding our client’s unique needs; every tax situation is different and requires a personal approach in providing realistic and effective solutions.
Tax Samaritan is a team of Enrolled Agents with over 25 years of experience focusing on US tax preparation and representation. We maintain this tax blog where all articles are written by Enrolled Agents. Our main objective is to educate US taxpayers on their tax responsibilities and the selection of a tax professional. Our articles are also designed to help taxpayers looking to self prepare, providing specific tips and pitfalls to avoid.
When looking for a tax professional, choose carefully. We recommend that you hire a credentialed tax professional such as Tax Samaritan that is an Enrolled Agent (America’s Tax Experts). If you are a US taxpayer overseas, we further recommend that you seek a professional who is experienced in expat tax preparation, like Tax Samaritan (most tax professionals have limited to no experience with the unique tax issues of expat taxpayers).
Randall Brody is an enrolled agent, licensed by the US Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before the IRS for audits, collections and appeals. To attain the enrolled agent designation, candidates must demonstrate expertise in taxation, fulfill continuing education credits and adhere to a stringent code of ethics.
Every effort has been taken to provide the most accurate and honest analysis of the tax information provided in this blog. Please use your discretion before making any decisions based on the information provided. This blog is not intended to be a substitute for seeking professional tax advice based on your individual needs.