Skip to content

2021 Filing Extensions for US Expats

Expat Tax Blog | Tax Tips for US Americans Abroad

certificate  All blogs are verified by IRS Enrolled Agents and CPAs

Cheerful diverse people huddling in the park

You may ask, what are the filing extensions for US expats? Well, to start – April 15th is the tax deadline for US Americans in the states. But you may be surprised to know that not many US expats are aware that once they leave the country they still need to file their US taxes. Most especially, that they have an automatic extension of time, where their taxes are due on June 15th. (However, if you do owe tax payments, US expats need to pay by the April 15th deadline or else interest will accrue).

Automatic Two-Month Extension for Expats

US expats don’t need to worry about filing their taxes by the typical April 15th deadline. There is an automatic (and free!) extension to June 15th.

And if you cannot make it for the June deadline, you can use our service at MyExpatTaxes to apply for an extension to file until the October 15th deadline. The extension to use is the IRS Form 4868. Form 4868 is the application for an automatic extension of time to file a US individual income tax return. This what you use if you want to extend filing your tax return after the June deadline.

Knowing your US filing extension deadlines as an American abroad is super important. If you end up forgetting, avoiding or simply not knowing that you have to report your worldwide income to the IRS every year by a certain deadline (while living in a foreign country!), interest and filing penalties can accrue if you end up owing some US taxes. Don’t give into tax evasion, folks.

In this post, we’ll help you make sense of filing extensions for US expats, particularly with what you need to know.

Interest and Penalties for Your US Tax Return

There are 3 penalties to know for late taxes: interest on the tax due, failure to file, and failure to pay.

Every time you owe US taxes and you don’t pay the IRS in full, you will be tacked with interest, calculated on the amount you owe. As for the failure to file, for every month your tax return is late you will get 5% added for each month the return is late, up to 25%. If you fail to pay your taxes on time, you will be penalized with 5% interest for each month with what you did not pay yet to the IRS, until you pay in full. 

Tax Deadline Extension Possibilities

As we mentioned before, US expats have the opportunity to file their taxes at an extended date – June 15th. This is called an “automatic extension” that is naturally tacked onto any US citizen living abroad. Keep in mind though, that the June 15th deadline does NOT apply if you have taxes to pay to the IRS (in that case, you need to pay them by the April deadline to avoid penalties). Our suggestion is to track your time during the calendar year to make sure you get your tax returns in before the appropriate deadline!

Even more so, expats can extend their tax filing deadline to October 15th. However, you will need extra help by filling out the Form 4868 extension form. Don’t worry – we at MyExpatTaxes can do that for you!

The last offer to extend your tax deadline happens to be December 15th. By then, US tax companies and consultants are already preparing for next year’s tax season. To extend your deadline to December, you must write and send a letter to the IRS by October 15th. It must explain why you as a US expat need even more time to complete your tax return. Keep a tracking code and copy of your letter since you will not get a notification they received it.

As you can see, applying for a tax extension is not automatically granted after the June 15th deadline. You must take specific steps to get the additional filing extension you need (either to October or December).

Get Your FBAR Done by October 15th


By loading the video, you agree to YouTube's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

A report of foreign bank account is big for the IRS. The FBAR (or Foreign Bank Account Report) needs to be filled out and reported by US expats with specific requirements: Those who have had over $10k in their foreign bank account at any one time during the year. For FBAR filers, the deadline to get this in is April 15th. However, there is an automatic extension until October 15th. So effectively, the real due date is October.

If you do not get your FBAR in on time, penalties may ensue. Foreign account holders who forgot or didn’t know could be charged up to $10k for each violation or missed FBAR form. If you purposefully avoid or not want to file your FBAR, you can receive a penalty of up to $100k, or 50% of what is in your foreign bank account.

Additionally, due to the recent stricter enforcement of FATCA, there is a higher chance the IRS might start tying filed FBARs with the bank records they receive from your financial institution.

We’ll Help You Meet the Tax Deadlines

Here at MyExpatTaxes, we will do everything we can to help you get tax compliant. We make sure all filing extensions for US expats are covered through our service and software. Additionally, we do the necessary extensions to make sure our customers become happy and safe with the IRS. Get started today and be surprised about how fast our software will help you get caught up.

Expat Tax Topics



Tax deadline if you filed for an extension


Related Articles

Recent Articles

Search Tax Tips

You may also like

june 15 us expat tax deadline

June 15 US Tax Filing Deadline for Expats

For 2021, the US tax filing deadline for expats to file is June 15. This deadline is a result of an automatic ...
may 17 us expat tax payment deadline

May 17 US Tax Payment Deadline for Expats

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the US government extended the US tax payment deadline for expats from April 15 to May ...
expat tax deadlines and extensions 2021

2021 Tax Deadlines and Extensions for Americans Abroad

Knowing the 2021 expat tax deadlines and extensions is an important step to getting US expat taxes right. With 2020 behind us, ...

2021 US Tax Extension Deadline for Americans Abroad

Knowing the US tax extension deadline for both filing and paying taxes can easily slip the mind. Especially if you're a US ...

Recent posts

How to Report Foreign Property Rental Income

Would you like to learn how to report foreign property rental income to the IRS? Maybe you hope to rent out your ...

The Streamlined Procedure for Expats – Catch up on US Taxes

The Streamlined Procedure for Expats – Catch up on Tax Returns Do you need to catch up on your tax returns? The ...

Buying Property Abroad as an Expat?
8 Things to Consider

Are you in the process of buying property abroad as an expat? It can be a stressful situation to walk through, especially ...

Thousands of users in over 170 countries.

See why people from around the world love us.

Featured In

The leading, and most affordable, tax filing platform for American expats.

Yahoo! Finance

Winning Choice

Global Mobility Rising Star of the Year 2019 for our Female CEO

Best Expat Tax Management Platform of 2019

Best Tax Software for Expatriates in 2021

Best US Expat Tax Return Solution of 2019

Shortlisted Most Innovative Use of Technology in Global Mobility of 2019

Scroll To Top