Is April 15th the Tax Deadline for Expats?

February 18, 2022 | , | 6 minute read
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Should expats file their US taxes by April 15th?

Not everyone needs to file by April 15th, the traditional US Tax Deadline. In fact, the tax deadline for expats isn’t until June 15th. However, there are certain cases where April 15th is the tax deadline for expats, or at least they will want to file by then!

Heads up that this year, for 2022, the 15th falls on a Holiday, so the updated 2021 Tax Deadline is April 18, 2022. Since this article is about the general expat tax deadline and not just this year, we’ll refer to the traditional April 15th deadline for the remainder of this article.

As an American citizen living outside the United States, you probably don’t need to file by April 15th (or in some years, the following Monday). As we mentioned, American expats legally don’t need to file by the 15th. However, there are a few cases where you may want to file by then anyway.

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US Expat Taxes & April 15th – What’s the deal?

First, let’s talk about who SHOULD file by April 15th. American expats should file by April 15th if they think they might owe US taxes. Some reasons you might owe US taxes include:

  • You are self-employed abroad but cannot claim the Totalization Treaty to exempt you from US self-employment taxes.
  • If you earn over the threshold for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion and live in a country where the income tax rate is lower than that of the US.
  • You received advanced excess payments from the Additional Child Tax Credit.

Expat Tax Tip: Expat Parents who received Advanced Child Tax Credit Payments may have to pay this year. If you received more than you are eligible for, you’re going to need to pay that back when you file your 2021 tax return.

Why do expats have to file by April 15th if they owe US Taxes?

Anyone who owes taxes needs to file AND pay by April 15th. Expats are not alone in this. Yes, expats qualify for an extension giving them more time to collect their paperwork if they don’t owe anything. However, anyone who needs to pay should file and pay by April 15th. Otherwise, you could be liable for interest debt on top of your taxes. 

Even if you don’t think you will owe US taxes, the best way to be sure you are safe is to file and pay by April 15th. Again, in 2022, you have until April 18th, 2022. We’re just using the 15th since that’s the traditional tax filing deadline to keep things simple. 

What happens if I need more time? Can I get an extension beyond April 15th?

You’re in luck! If you won’t owe any US taxes and live outside the United States, the IRS gives you an automatic two-month extension. That means you have until June 15th to file your US tax return. You don’t need to do anything special; the extension is automatic. Simply file your US expat tax return as you usually would. 

But do make sure you don’t forget! By June, talk of US taxes will probably have died down for most Americans. It could be easy for your tax filing duty to slip your mind!

Two types of US Citizens abroad qualify for the Automatic Extension beyond the April 15th Tax Deadline for Expats.

They are those who are:

  • Living outside the United States and Puerto Rico and your primary employment is outside the United States and Puerto Rico.

Or they are:

  • Military or naval service on duty outside the United States and Puerto Rico.

What if I still need more time to file my US expat Taxes?

There’s a form for that.

If you need more time beyond the April 15th Tax deadline for expats and non-expats alike, plus you need even more time beyond the June 15th automatic extension deadline for expats, you can request an additional extension.

Request an additional extension for FREE using MyExpatTaxes.com. Or do it yourself by filing form 4868. This form provides you with a further 4-month extension from the April deadline, giving you until October 15th to file your US expat tax return. Caution: You will need to file this form by the June 15th deadline. You can request it anytime before then, so why not start now?

Who needs to file US Taxes from Abroad Anyway?

Let’s discuss who needs to file their US taxes while living abroad. If you fall within any of the minimum income thresholds, you’ll need to file a US Tax return. Since it’s 2022, you’ll need to file a tax return if, in 2021, you earned anything above the minimum gross annual income threshold. They are as follows:

US Expat Filing Status Minimum Gross Annual Income
Single $12,550
Married Filing Jointlyif you’re married to a US citizen, this is probably you. $25,100
Married Filing SeparatelyIf you’re married to someone other than a US citizen, this is probably you. $5 – Yup, that’s not a typo.
Head of Household $18,800

These minimum filing thresholds are for the Tax Year 2021, filing in 2022. If you are over 65 years old, the thresholds are slightly higher. For full details on income filing thresholds and who needs to file, check out our Expat Tax Guide

What about State Taxes? Is April 15th the Tax Deadline for Expats too?

Is April 15th still the tax deadline for US expats when it comes to State taxes? Well that depends on the state. It also can depend on your residence status within that state. Even you left the US and haven’t been a resident of that state for years, they could still consider you a resident.

Of course, if you just left late last year, you’ll probably need to file them. After all, in 2022, you are reporting the income you earned in 2021. If you earned that income in a state with state income tax, make sure you file your state taxes too.

Just because you’ve resided outside the US for more than a year doesn’t necessarily free you from your state tax burden either. Because state income taxes are not the same as federal income taxes, each state has the power to decide whom they consider a resident. Some of the most troublesome states for which expats find it difficult to separate from are California, South Carolina, New Mexico, and Virginia.

Just like when filing your US taxes, you’ll need to file your state taxes by April 15th. Things can get a little more complicated regarding extensions for state taxes. Each state determines its own rules. To help you identify your state’s income tax extension policy, we’ve created our complete guide to state tax extensions for expats

What if I’ve never filed my US Taxes from abroad?

Did you just now realize that you need to file US Expat taxes, even after you’ve left the US? Or hey, maybe you’ve never even LIVED in the US. Do you really need to file US taxes? 

If you need to file US taxes but never have, the IRS has created a program for you. They call it The Streamlined Procedure. Use The Streamlined Procedure to get caught up on this year’s and your past tax returns without penalty from the IRS. Yup! File now using the Streamlined Procedure, and you won’t even face a late filing penalty (interest may still apply though!). 

With The Streamlined Procedure, you’ll file this year’s return, three years past returns, plus six years of FBARS. Regardless of how many years you failed to file, once you’ve completed The Streamlined Procedure, the IRS will overlook any other past returns and consider you to be “in good standing.” 

What’s this FBAR thing I keep hearing about?

Now that we’ve discussed which expats need to file their taxes by April 15th, there is another form we should discuss. That form is known as the FBAR. Oh, and surprise, surprise, it’s also due on April 15th.

If you’ve already spent time reading about US expat taxes, you may have heard or seen talk about the FBAR. But what is the FBAR exactly? And what does it have to do with Americans Abroad?  FBAR stands for Foreign Bank Account Report. It’s a mandatory report that any American must file if they have more than $10,000 at any time during the year combined from their foreign accounts. It can be in one account or several. So long as the total sum of the maximum balances you had in foreign accounts adds up to $10,000, you’ll need to file an FBAR.

Since Americans living abroad are highly likely to have bank accounts, retirements accounts, or other investment accounts abroad, make sure you’re keeping track of their total sums. You can even file the FBAR without knowing the exact amount of funds in your accounts. When in doubt, it’s always better to file just in case. 

When is the FBAR due for Americans Abroad?

As we mentioned before, the FBAR is due April 15th. Shocking, I know. But there is good news. The FBAR also has an automatic extension. The automatic extension for FBAR filing is October 15th. You don’t need to request an extension. Just file your FBAR by October 15th, and you’ll be good to go.

How can expats file the FBAR?

The only software that automatically includes the FBAR is MyExpatTaxes. We’re not trying to toot our own horn, but we can’t help it. It’s true. When you file your US Tax Return with MyExpatTaxes, the software will prompt you to file your FBAR as well. That is, if you need to. If you don’t fall under the FBAR filing requirements, we’ll leave that part out.

You can, of course, also file the FBAR yourself. Since the FBAR isn’t going to the IRS, you won’t be able to file it together with your tax return. You’ll need to create a separate account and file your FBAR electronically through the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Wouldn’t it just be easier to file everything together through MyExpatTaxes?

US Expat Taxes Simplified

How do you decide which US deadline is right for you? Is the best choice the April 15th tax deadline for expats? Should you put it off until the October 15th deadline? Every case is unique. Especially for expats.

US Taxes are famously complicated. There is no secret there. But US taxes for Americans Abroad can seem even more complicated. Why not simplify your life and let MyExpatTaxes help sort things out for you. Thousands of Americans trust and e-file with MyExpatTaxes. We specialize in issues that affect expats in particular.

MyExpatTaxes is the only tax filing software that helps Americans abroad file their taxes and their FBAR at the same time. We’re expats ourselves, after all. 

Written by Ellen M

February 18, 2022 | , | 6 minute read

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