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U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad - Filing Requirements

If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien living or traveling outside the United States, you generally are required to file income tax returns, estate tax returns, and gift tax returns and pay estimated tax in the same way as those residing in the United States. Your income, filing status, and age generally determine whether you must file a return. Generally, you must file a return if your gross income from worldwide sources is at least the amount shown for your filing status in the Filing Requirements table in Chapter 1 of Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad.

If you are the dependent of another taxpayer, see Chart B - For Children and Other Dependents in the instructions for Form 1040 for more information on whether you must file a return.

Foreign Currency

You must express the amounts you report on your US tax return in US dollars. If you receive all or part of your income or pay some or all of your expenses in foreign currency, you must translate the foreign currency into US dollars. Information about currency conversion can be found at Foreign Currency and Currency Exchange Rates.

Gross Income

This includes all income you receive in the form of money, goods, property, and services that is not exempt from tax. In determining whether you must file a return, you must consider as gross income any income that you exclude as foreign earned income or as a foreign housing amount. If you are self-employed, your gross income includes the amount on the Gross Income line of Schedule C (Form 1040), Profit or Loss from Business, or the Gross Receipts line of Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040), Net Profit from Business.

Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts

FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (“FBAR”) (formerly TD F 90-22.1), must be filed if you had a financial interest in, or signature or other authority over, a bank, securities, or other financial account in a foreign country, the value of which exceeds $10,000. You do not have to file the report if the assets are with a U.S. military banking facility operated by a U.S. financial institution or if the combined assets in the account(s) are $10,000 or less during the entire year.

You must file this form by June 30 each year with the Department of the Treasury at the address shown on the form. The FBAR form is not a tax return, so do not attach it to your Form 1040.

Effective July 1, 2013, filers must electronically file the FBAR through the BSA E-File System. If unable to E-file, filers may contact the FinCEN Regulatory Helpline at 800-949-2732 to request an exemption.

Help in completing the FBAR is available Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time, at (866) 270-0733 (toll-free inside the U.S.) or (313) 234-6146 (not toll-free, for callers outside the U.S.). Questions regarding the FBAR can be sent to FBARquestions@irs.gov. Filers residing abroad may also contact U.S. embassies and consulates for assistance.

For E-Filing system questions, call the FinCEN E-Filing Help Desk at (866) 346-9478, option 1 (M-F, 8-6 Eastern time) or email at BSAEFilingHelp@fincen.gov.

In addition, you may be liable for filing Form 3520 or Form 3520-A if you made contributions to or received income from a foreign trust or received a gift from a foreign person.

References/Related Topics

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 10-Dec-2013