Automatic tax extension for those filing US tax returns

If you live in Ireland (or almost anywhere else in the world outside the US), but are required to file a tax return in the United States, you will most likely qualify for an automatic 2 month extension. I receive questions about this a lot from people who know I have had tax obligations in both countries. I may be repeating some information that is already elsewhere on the site, but at this time of year, it is a good reminder as to what you need to do.

By an automatic extension I mean you don't need to apply for one. If the regular filing date is April 15, your's is most likely June 15. However if you wish to apply for a further extension on that timeline you can do so by filing IRS tax form 4868. If approved, your new date will be extended out to mid October. You can submit that form pretty easily yourself, or if you have hired a tax professional, they can do it for you (check for fees - it's a simple form to file).

There are things you will need to educate yourself on before filing for an extension, or before you decide to pay any owed taxes passed the regular date of April 15. For example, if you owe tax, you will be hit with interest charges if you pay them after April 15. However any penalties don't start to accrue until the June 15 date. Strange! This was a fact I was unaware of, and got hit with both! It hurt!

Everything you need to know about the process can be found on the IRS website at https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/u-s-citizens-and-resident-aliens-abroad

For those of you who are looking for a tax company to help you with your filing obligations while resident abroad, state and federal, I can recommend Taxes For Expats. I have used their services for both the 2014 and 2015 tax filing years, and they do a great job. Check them out at the link above, and if you use code 'IMC50' when signing up, you will receive a $50 discount off your tax preparation fees.

P.S. if you're a returned Irish emigrant, and a green card holder in the US, you must still file a return in the US.

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