The Streamlined Procedure was created by the IRS to help Americans abroad become tax compliant – even if they have unfiled tax returns due for many years. It’s a penalty-free way to get back on the IRS good-list and gain expat tax benefits along the way. Many US expats have already filed their Streamlined tax returns through our DIY expat tax software successfully and for an affordable price. But what if you filled out the Streamlined tax return by yourself and realized you made a mistake? It’s possible to amend your Streamlined tax return as an American abroad, and we’ll show you how.
Streamlined Procedure 101
The IRS’ tax amnesty program was created in 2012 to support US citizens both on land and abroad to give them a chance to change to a good tax status. How does it work? The Streamlined Procedure allows citizens to catch up on delinquent or unfiled taxes without penalties. Through this procedure, US taxpayers residing abroad can make up previous tax returns and become tax compliant if the IRS hasn’t contacted them yet about missed forms.
It is common to see many Americans abroad, not know they had to file US taxes while living abroad. Reasons for not filing could be unable to see the little note in their US government’s passport about worldwide tax-filing responsibilities.
Qualify for the Streamlined Procedure
To qualify for the IRS tax amnesty program as an American expat, your actions for not filing US taxes will need to be innocent. For example, you honestly did not know you had to file or forgot due to unforeseen circumstances. You’ll need to sign a statement for the IRS to confirm your non-willful conduct, on Form 14653, the Streamlined Certification Form before you can start the Streamlined Procedure. Keep in mind that if you are a MyExpatTaxes customer, this Streamlined Certification Form is already included.
Additionally, once you are qualified program, you won’t have to worry about paying late filing fines or penalties for not filing US taxes. You could say goodbye to potential penalties of $10,000 or more.
To learn more about how to qualify and prepare for the Streamlined Procedure, please see this post here.
You’ll generally need to submit three years of back tax returns, plus the last six years of Foreign Bank Account Reports (FBARS). Make sure you file your FBARs with FinCen, as this is the institution you need to inform, not the IRS. MyExpatTaxes will of course, do the FBAR filing for you.
Amend Mistakes on Your Streamlined Tax Return
Mistakes happen, but on US tax forms, things can get messy. If you are a US citizen or Green Card Holder abroad who put in the wrong info or accidentally forgot a tax form while doing the Streamlined Procedure, you can’t expect the IRS to contact you to fix the problem. Instead, the IRS can add penalty fines, or worse – jail time (in extreme cases) – if you made a mistake on their forms and didn’t do anything about it.
To amend your Streamlined tax return, you need to use the correct tax documents and procedure to correct the issues.
Documents for Correcting Tax Return
You will also need to include certain documents when you plan to amend your tax return, such as corrected tax returns for your original submission years. For example, if you made a mistake on Form 1040, you’ll need to submit an amended Form 1040 for each year submitted (Form 1040X).
Then, you’ll need to write in red ink “Amended Streamlined Foreign Offshore” on the top of the first page.
Thirdly, you’ll need to submit another Form 14653, and write again in red ink “amended” at the top of the page. On page two, write in as much detail and facts about the error you made in the original document.
Penalties for Amended Streamlined Tax Return
If your amended Streamlined tax return mistake shows that you owe more money, you will need to include your tax payment and any penalties because of it.
Mailing Address for Corrected Streamlined Tax Return
Once you fixed up your amended Streamlined tax return as an American abroad, mail the submission where the original documents were sent:
3651 S. IH 35
MS 6063 AUSC
Attn.: Streamlined Procedures
Austin, TX 78741
We suggest to pay a bit extra at the post and get a tracking number and possibly proof of signature from the receiver to make sure your documents arrived safely.
We’re Here if You Need Us
We hope you found this post helpful and encourages you to file your tax return on time and correctly. To reiterate, we’re here if you need us, and you can e-file your Streamlined Procedure as a US citizen abroad through us for one of the most affordable prices in the tax industry.
We’ll make sure doing taxes is stress-free and straightforward. We can even help you take advantage of expat tax benefits like the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion and prevent double taxation.