The 2015 tax filing deadline for Americans located inside the US was April 15. That date has already come and gone – but if you’re an expat living abroad in a foreign country, your 2015 filing deadline is just around the bend. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) grants a two-month filing extension for US citizens and residents abroad, which means you have until June 15, 2015 to file your tax return if you’re an American expat in another country. If you miss the June 15 deadline, you’ll have to go through the hassle of requesting another extension until October 15. Last but not least, don’t forget to file your FBAR by June 30 – or else you face harsh penalties.
IRS Grants US Residents Abroad Automatic June 15 Deadline, October 15 Extension
Are you a US citizen or a resident alien? On April 15, 2015, were you:
- Both (1) living outside the US and Puerto Rico, with (2) a “main place of business or post of duty” outside Puerto Rico and the US?
- On duty in the military, including the naval service, outside the US and Puerto Rico?
If you answered yes to the above questions, there’s good news: you automatically qualified for the IRS’ June 15 income tax filing extension. That means, if you haven’t already, you have exactly one week from today to gather up all of the documents you need to file in time for the June 15 deadline. If you have any questions or issues with your paperwork, now is the time to contact an experienced CPA like Ted Kleinman for help. Ted can also help you understand the state tax filing requirements that apply to US expats, and will work to make sure you get as many credits and deductions as possible.
If you won’t be ready in time for June 15, try not to panic, and certainly do not try to rush through any discrepancies or inaccuracies in your records in the interest of meeting the deadline. Remember, you can request another deadline extension by filing Form 4868 (Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File US Individual Income Tax Return). Form 4868 extends the tax filing deadline to October 15, 2015, which will give you an additional four months to prepare. It’s better to meet the October 15 deadline with accurate records than to file on June 15 with a mistake or omission.
While the extended filing deadlines will grant you extra time, it’s important to keep in mind that the clock doesn’t stop for interest. Regardless of whether you plan to use the June 15 extension or the October 15 extension, you are still required to pay interest on any tax which was unpaid as of April 15, the regular filing deadline. June 15, 2015 falls on a Monday, while October 15, 2015 falls on a Thursday, so there are no holiday or weekend delays to worry about.
What Are the Penalties if I Don’t File an FBAR by June 30, 2015?
Depending on your financial situation, an income tax return might not be the only document you have to worry about filing with the IRS. Do the following statements apply to you?
- You’re a US person – which includes US residents, US citizens, partnerships, corporations, limited liability companies, trusts, and estates – who “had a financial interest in or signature authority over at least one financial account located outside of the United States.”
- “The aggregate value of [your] foreign financial accounts exceeded $10,000 at any time during the calendar year reported.” Even if the aggregate value of the accounts only surpassed $10,000 for a short period of time before decreasing again, you still meet this description.
If the above statements are true, you are required to file an FBAR (Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts). The IRS designed FBAR to crack down on individuals and business entities who attempt to commit tax evasion by concealing their assets in foreign accounts, so don’t expect to fly under the IRS’ radar if you haven’t been compliant with tax reporting requirements. Uncovering noncompliance goes to the very core of FBAR, and the IRS isn’t afraid to take aggressive investigative measures where reporting issues are suspected.
The 2015 FBAR filing deadline is June 30, which falls on a Tuesday. It’s extremely important to point out that, unlike income tax returns, FBAR does not come with an option to extend the filing deadline. You absolutely must file your FBAR by June 30, 2015 – no ifs, ands, or buts.
Fortunately, it’s become easier for taxpayers to meet the FBAR deadline since the IRS updated its filing procedures from paper to digital. In fact, FBAR can only be filed online. To file an FBAR, you must use FinCEN Report 114, which can only be accessed through the web-based BSA E-Filing System. The updated E-Filing System replaces the old form, TD F 90-22.1.
If you meet the FBAR requirements, but still fail to file in time for the 2015 deadline, you need to know that you’re exposing yourself to extremely expensive fines. You can be fined up to $10,000 for each non-willful violation – and as much as $100,000 (or even more) for each willful violation.
Don’t get stuck with devastating fines and tax liabilities because you missed an IRS filing deadline in 2015. Call US Tax Help right away at (800) 810-9312 to set up a private consultation with CPA Ted Kleinman. Let’s talk about how we can help you take advantage of credits and deductions, reduce or avoid civil penalties, and most importantly, stay compliant with the law. Ted assists US expats living in Switzerland, Singapore, China, and nations around the world.