US Expat IRS Income Tax Forms Living Abroad

The following IRS tax forms are essential for US expats who live abroad and must file taxes. Many of these IRS tax forms are similar to the one used by individuals living the United States. Regardless of where an American lives now, being a United States citizen requires that you file a yearly tax return with the IRS.

Similar to preparing a tax return in the United States, an expat tax return begins with Form 1040. There are also additional tax forms for expats and the most important forms specifically applicable to your life as an expat are Form 2555 and 1116. These are the forms by which American Expats declare foreign earned income and qualify for the Foreign Tax Credit.

The tax return is always due on April 15th or the following Monday (if the 15th is a weekend or a holiday) of the year following the tax year. For Americans living abroad,  a two month extension is automatically given.Most often citizens living abroad will have to file taxes by expat due date (for filing purposes) at June 15th. The two month extension for expats is automatic, but an additional extension can be filed for if needed to give taxpayers more time to prepare their taxes. Tax software such as TurboTax and H and R Block can do this. The filed-for extension moves the due date (for tax filing purposes) as far back as October 15th. Taxes are still owed on April 15 and taxpayers may be liable for interests and penalties if they file an extension.

The following is a list of forms that an American Expat might have to file while living abroad:

  • IRS Form 8891 – U.S. Information Return for Beneficiaries of Certain Canadian Registered Retirement Plans
  • IRS Form 8833 – Treaty-Based Return Position Disclosure Under Section 6114 or 7701(b)

American expats filing taxes could be required to file other tax forms depending on their situation and the above list is not exclusive. Each US state also sets its own rules regarding state taxes and expats. Some states do require that expats living abroad file a state return, while others release you when you are an American living abroad.