U.S. citizens and residents abroad - filing requirements


If you are a U.S. citizen or resident 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. Usually, 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 and Form 1040-SR for more information on whether you must file a return.

Foreign currency

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

Gross income

Gross income 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 (Sole Proprietorship).

In addition, you may be required to file Form 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets, if you have an interest in specified foreign financial assets with a value above the reporting threshold that applies to you. Other forms that you may have to file include 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.

Report of foreign bank and financial accounts

FinCEN Report 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, any bank, securities, or other financial account(s) in a foreign country, the aggregate value of which exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year. 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.

File the FBAR electronically through the BSA e-file system. For questions, see FinCEN’s website for contact information.

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