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2021 Tax Deadlines and Extensions for Americans Abroad

Expat Tax Blog | Tax Tips for US Americans Abroad

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expat tax deadlines and extensions 2021

Knowing the 2021 expat tax deadlines and extensions is an important step to getting US expat taxes right. With 2020 behind us, and 2021 already bringing in tax changes, we can honestly say that the filing deadlines and extensions are going back to normal.

May 17th – US Tax Payment Deadline 

Expats who owe US taxes will need to pay by May 17, 2021. This is a new tax filing and payment deadline for American citizens, due to the pandemic.  

US citizens who live abroad and owe US tax to the IRS do so because they are typically self-employed, high-income earners or live in a low-tax country.

Most American expats can ignore the May 17 date because they do not owe US taxes. This is due to tax credits like the Foreign Tax credit – a dollar-for-dollar (or euro, pound, yen, etc.) credit from the income taxes paid to your host country against US tax liability.

June 15th – US Tax Filing Deadline for Expats 

American expats have a special automatic two-month extension to file their US expat taxes. This separates them from the Americans in the States. This date allows expats more time to gather their documents and file their foreign taxes before they file their US taxes.

Within the 2021 tax deadlines and extensions is the expat tax filing deadline for Americans abroad. This filing deadline is June 15, 2021. This is the typical filing extension deadline that has existed for many years.

Last year when the coronavirus pandemic hit, the IRS allowed all Americans living in the US and worldwide more time to file. They pushed the tax paying and filing deadline to July 15, 2020.

We can be certain that the June 15 deadline will remain this year as is unless another situation happens where the IRS has to move it again.

October 15th – Extended US Tax Filing Deadline

Stuff happens – like forgetting your tax duty, not knowing you have to file, or needing more time to do so. That’s why there is an extended filing deadline the IRS grants to expats who don’t file their US expats by the June 15 deadline. 

You can manually fill out Form 4868 or save time by filling it out for free via our software*:

1. Set up an account at MyExpatTaxes

2. Give us consent to file on your behalf. To do that, check the Navigation Panel on the left and look for “File your extension” under “File your return.’’ It will open up to a filing extension page.

3. Based on the information you have already provided, some or all of the information will be pre-filled. The four entries at the top should be relatively straightforward. If you need to make any edits, you can use the Edit links to jump to that page. Use the navigation panel to return to this page. Some pointers for the fields at the bottom: For many Americans abroad, all of these fields will be 0. If you have paid taxes in previous years or your first full year abroad, you may owe some taxes. Ideally, add as much information as possible to your profile so that we can get a good estimate of taxes owed. You can then use the estimates shown here to fill out the extension filing consent.

4. Once you have submitted your consent for us to file your extension, we’ll make a few last checks and let you know if anything else is needed. Then, we’ll notify you when the IRS accepted your extension!

File Free Tax Extension with MyExpatTaxes

*Make sure you are signed up for MyExpatTaxes email notifications. We will re-launch our filing extension service by March 2021!

Once you submit your free tax extension through the MyExpatTaxes software, you can file your taxes between June 15 and October 15. All penalty and interest-free. A tax extension is just an option if you want more time to file your US expat taxes. If you can file before the June 15 deadline, that is even better.

Plus, if you file a free extension with us, you aren’t obligated to file with us in the future. You will be free to use other tax companies and services. 

October 15th – FBAR Deadline

All US citizens abroad that have a total of $10,000 in all financial accounts overseas must file an FBAR. 

The FBAR is the Foreign Bank Account Report and is an additional annual filing requirement if expats exceed the $10,000 threshold. This comes from FinCEN – the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. It’s the FinCEN Form 114 and is not a complex form to file. However, it is imperative to fill it out if you qualify for it. Our expat tax software makes it so much easier to file.

Expats receive an automatic six-month extension to file the FBAR – moving from April 15 to October 15. This is the same deadline as the extended tax filing deadline for Americans abroad.

December 15th – Last Day to File US Taxes for the Season

December 15, 2021, will be the very last day to file US expat taxes as a US citizen abroad. However, there is no way to send an electronic message to the IRS requesting this extension. 

Instead, expats need to go old school and mail a letter to the IRS. This letter should contain the specific documents/tax return you need to get an extension for. Plus, a reason why the IRS should grant you the extension. Send this letter as soon as possible. There should be enough time for the IRS to receive your letter and grant the extension before December 15.

Keep in mind, though, you will receive no confirmation from the IRS that your extended time has been given. But you can have your letter be tracked with a mandatory signature needed, so you know it arrived on time.

Thus even with no confirmation if the IRS has granted your time, you can still go ahead and prepare your 2020 tax return. Better yet, use the MyExpatTaxes software before the December deadline to swiftly and affordably complete your tax return!

Your Duty as an American Abroad

Regardless of where you live as an expat, you still have a task to fulfill if you meet the US tax filing requirements. This is because the United States and Eritrea are the only two countries in the world that tax their citizens globally – not just in the home country.


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An IRS minimum income threshold helps expats determine if they need to file US taxes. If you exceed one of these thresholds, you’ll need to file taxes in 2021 if your gross income was at least:

  • $12,400 for filing single
  • $5 for married filing separately
  • $24,800 for married filing jointly
  • $400 for self-employment income

The good thing about filing expat taxes is that Americans abroad can claim tax credits and exclusions to save money and prevent double taxation. For example, the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, or FEIE, allows expats to exclude up to $107,600 of foreign-sourced income for the 2020 tax season (in 2021). Foreign sourced income is solely money you made outside the US.

2021 Will Be Better with MyExpatTaxes

We hope that this 2021 tax deadlines and extensions post was helpful and made you informed of the most important expat tax dates for Americans abroad.

When you sign up with us, we guarantee your expat tax experience will be much better. This is due to our enhanced security measures and award-winning software this year.

There is also still time to make up years of back taxes through our friendly and affordable Streamlined Procedure program. Save big money and prevent penalties through our tax amnesty feature today.

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Tax deadline if you filed for an extension


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