Dropdown button for navigation mobile view

Taxation of US persons living abroad- General Frequently Asked Questions

Posted by: Zaher Fallahi
Posted On: Feb 13, 2014

1.  I’m a U.S. citizen living and working outside of the United States for many years. Do I still need to file a U.S. tax return?

Yes, if you are a U.S. citizen or a resident alien living outside the United States, your worldwide income is subject to U.S. income tax, regardless of where you live. However, you may qualify for certain foreign earned income exclusions and/or foreign income tax credits. Please refer to Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad, for additional information.

 

2.  I pay income tax in a foreign country. Do I still have to file a U.S. income tax return even though I do not live in the United States?

You have to file a U.S. income tax return while working and living abroad unless you abandon your green card holder status by filing Form I-407, with the U.S. Citizen & Immigration Service, or you renounce your U.S. citizenship under certain circumstances described in the tax provisions. See Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens, for more details.

 

3.  What is the due date of a U.S. income tax return?

The due date for filing a federal individual income tax return generally is April 15 of each year if your tax year ends December 31st. Your return is considered filed timely if the envelope is properly addressed and postmarked no later than April 15, Publication 17, Part 1 – When do I have to file?

If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the due date is delayed until the next business day. If you cannot file by the due date of your return, you can request an extension of time to file. To receive an automatic 6-month extension of time to file your return, you should file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (PDF), by the due date of your return. For more information, refer to the Form 4868 instructions.

However, if you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, who is either: (1) living outside of the United States and Puerto Rico and your main place of business or post of duty is outside of the United States and Puerto Rico; or (2) in military or naval services on duty outside of the United States and Puerto Rico on the due date of your return, you are allowed an automatic 2-month extension until June 15 to file your return and pay any tax due. For additional information refer to Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad. If you use this automatic 2-month extension, you must attach a statement to your return explaining which of the two situations qualify you for the extension.

 

4.  I just realized that I must file U.S. income tax returns for prior years.  How many years back do I have to file?

You must file a federal income tax return for any tax year in which your gross income is equal to or greater than the personal exemption amount and standard deduction combined (per the Form 1040 Instructions for the corresponding tax year). Generally, you need to file returns going back six years. This will depend on the facts and circumstances of your particular situation. For example, refer to Information for U.S. Citizens or Dual Citizens Residing Outside the U.S.

Please see also:

the Instructions for New Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures for Non-Resident, Non-Filer U.S. Taxpayers for nonresident U.S. taxpayers living abroad who have failed to timely file U.S. federal income tax returns or Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR); and

Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program Frequently Asked Questions (specifically question 9) for taxpayers with undisclosed foreign accounts or entities.

 

5.  What is the status of my refund?

You can check the status of any refund you expect as soon as 24 hours after you e-file a return or 4 weeks after you file a paper return. If you included Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation (PDF), wait 11 weeks if you filed your return electronically or 14 weeks if you mailed a paper return.

There are several ways to check the status of a refund.

 

6. I have completed my tax return and I have a balance due. How do I pay the tax liability?

There are various options for paying your U.S. taxes.

EFTPS (Electronic Federal Tax Payment System).
This is only available if you have a U.S. bank account.

Federal Tax Application (same-day wire transfer).
If you do not have a U.S. bank account, ask if your financial institution has a U.S. affiliate that can help you make same-day wire transfers. For more information on this option, refer to theForeign Electronic Payments website.

Check or money order.
To pay by check or money order, make your check or money order payable to the “United States Treasury” for the full amount due. Do not send cash. Do not attach the payment to your return.

Credit or debit card.
This option is useful if you do not have a U.S. bank account.  Refer to the Pay Your Taxes by Debit or Credit Card website with details regarding this process and fees.

For more information on these payment methods, go to the Electronic Payment Options Home Page.

7.  How can I get a transcript for current or previous years?

You can order either a transcript of your tax return information or a copy of your tax return. If you order a transcript of your return, you will get the information from your tax return. If you order a copy of your return, you will get a copy of the actual return you filed.

Transcript: A transcript of your tax return information is free. You can obtain a free transcript on the IRS.gov website by going to the Order a Transcript page. Transcripts may also be ordered by calling 800-908-9946 and following the prompts in the recorded message, or by completing and mailing a request for a transcript to the address listed in the instructions. Use Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return (PDF), or Form 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript (PDF), to order a transcript of most information on your tax return for the current tax year and the prior 3 processing years. You also can order a transcript of data from certain information returns such as Forms W-2 and 1099. You can designate (on line 5 of either form) a third party to receive the transcript.

Copy: You can request a copy of your tax return, but in most cases you must pay a fee to do so (currently $50). Use Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return (PDF), to request a copy of your tax return. Copies of Forms 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ are generally available for 7 years from the date you filed the return. You can designate (on line 5) a third party to receive the tax return. Mail the order form and your check for the fee to the appropriate address listed in the form instructions.

 

8.  Now that I live overseas, how can I find a tax preparer?

IRS employees are not permitted to recommend tax practitioners who prepare income tax returns. However, some Embassies provide this information on the Citizen Services section of their website. Another good source of information is plain word-of-mouth. Speak to other Americans and contact various American organizations present abroad that serve the expat community.

 

If you need assistance with filing your US taxes, including disclosure of undeclared foreign bank and financial accounts (FBAR), and the IRS representation, please contact Zaher Fallahi, Tax Attorney, CPA, at (310) 719-1040 (Los Angeles) or (714) 546-4272 (Orange County), or e-mail to taxattorney@zfcpa.com.

Ali Fassih
Ali Fassih
1713124814
It's been an honor to know Zaher Fallahi, Esq for the past 49 years.He is one of kind in almost everything. His clients and friends are always his priority. In my long life, I have had the chance to be helped by many people. But ZaherFalahi is a distinguished personality that his professionalism helped me to succeed in life.And that's why I never hesitate to refer my family and friends for all their legal and financial matters to him.
I have had the pleasure of knowing attorney Zaher Fallahi for over 10 years in a professional capacity. Zaher is knowledgeable, diligent, capable and a conscientious attorney. Zaher has a strong reputation in his field - International Tax and Undisclosed Foreign Bank Accounts - and is a good person, in general. I highly recommend him for your legal needs.
Jack
Jack
1699943138
Mr. Fallahi's expertise was critical in helping me navigate my complex tax matter, and helping me resolve it successfully. I am very happy to have worked with him. He was very knowledgeable and had excellent service.
Seyhun F.
Seyhun F.
1698124160
I recently used Mr. Zaher Fallahi’s services for my International Tax and CPA requirements. He has extensive knowledge, remarkable competence, and maintains a highly professional approach. His confidence, diligent follow-up, excellent communication, and accessibility, even during the weekends, provided great comfort. I would highly recommend him to anyone in the need of assistance with international tax matters
Yasamin Khalili
Yasamin Khalili
1696386366
I had the pleasure of working with Mr. Fallahi to obtain an OFAC license, and I couldn't be more satisfied with the results. Mr. Fallahi displayed exceptional expertise in navigating the complex OFAC regulations, ensuring a smooth and efficient process throughout. Mr. Fallahi's attention to detail, professionalism, and commitment to my case were truly impressive. Thanks to Mr. Fallahi, I successfully obtained the OFAC license I needed. I highly recommend him for anyone seeking expert legal assistance in this field.
Yousef Salami
Yousef Salami
1678051820
Dear Dr Fallahi helped me with cryptocurrency and stock market which are my business . During last five years ago, Dr Fallahi and his extremely expert team helped me to make money through crypto taxes and also Mr Jon is knowledgeable and always gives me best advice ,Appreciate your support and kindness.Best regards.
Reza Shafiee
Reza Shafiee
1669154077
I am writing my experience of getting an outstanding advice and going forward with getting an OFAC Permission for a family member. It was done fast, accurate, and perfectly amazing. I would recommend Dr. Fallahi with the highest rating possible. Thank you.
Eric B
Eric B
1669073014
Mr. Fallahi handled filing my foreign inheritance tax return and FBAR international tax filings. He was unassuming, thorough, and responsive. He was available via text, email or call, daytime hours and after hours, weekdays and weekends. He made himself available to my schedule and went above and beyond to ensure my peace of mind. It was a pleasure working with him and someone I highly recommend.
Alireza Modafe
Alireza Modafe
1668394662
I have known Mr. Fallahi for more than five years and have been using his legal expertise for several tax and OFAC related cases. I have been very happy with his advice and the outcome of those cases. He is an excellent attorney and CPA, very professional, responsive, and caring. He goes above and beyond to ensure your peace of mind. I highly recommend him.
A B
A B
1668040092
We hired Mr. Fallahi for an international money transfer matter that required OFAC compliance. Mr. Fallahi was very knowledgeable about the matter and knew all the legal nuances pertaining to the money transfer regulations. He is very kind and responsive and answered all of our questions during consultation session and after it. I definitely recommend him to any one that needs legal help in the similar cases.
Lisa Williams
Lisa Williams
1667953700
We enjoyed working with Mr. Fallahi who is quite knowledgeable and assisted us with an international financial endeavor with great success. We highly recommend him.
Vahid Emadi
Vahid Emadi
1666799203
Mr Fallahi was a great help to me and my family. He is a very knowledgeable lawyer and knows the ups and down of the law about our case. He gave us an step by step direction and made this a very easy process.I have to mention that his staff in Costa Mesa were always polite and helpful.
Mr. Zaher went above and beyond for me. His fees are comparable to other attorneys in the field. Nothing extravagant. In addition I received a personal attention I did not from other attorneys I've worked with. He made himself available when he was out of the office and worked diligently to meet a crucial deadline for me even as a first time customer. I am happy to have found an attorney such as Mr. Zaher.
Hossein
Hossein
1640013657
A dedicated and expert attorney. He spends time with the client as much as needed to answer any doubt or to ensure the client has a peace of mind in his/her case status. I've had attorneys who wouldn't care what happened to my case until I reach out to them. But Mr. Fallahi is quite opposite. He always follows up with you as he has a commitment to his work.
Knowledgeable OFAC and Tax Attorney/CPAI consulted Mr. Zaher Fallahi for OFAC and International Tax Matters. He did a great job for me. He is a very knowledgeable Attorney,CPA. I needed the work completed over the weekend, which he did instead of waiting for two weeks. He followed up on the status of the case regularly and I felt assured that everything was going well. I recommend his services without hesitation.
Nahid Ariant
Nahid Ariant
1639612533
DR. Fallahi is one of the most experienced, trustworthy, and knowledgable professionals in the field. I contacted him for the legal service. He was super helpful during the initial consultation and patiently answered all my questions. His responses were always timely even during the weekends, which I really appreciated . I had a great experience with DR.. Fallahi and would highly recommend him to those who needs legal services!
David Jafari
David Jafari
1637004741
I have known Mr. Fallahi for more than 15 years. He has helped us with several matters involving tax consequences of various transactions from the perspective of a tax attorney as well as matters related to OFAC. He is well versed in his profession and we do not hesitate to go back to him for advice on these matters. I wholeheartedly recommend him.
Bijan Golkar
Bijan Golkar
1636589140
We used Mr Fallahi's OFAC services for an international fund transfer. He is very well-versed in the subject matter and provided invaluable advice. He was available to answer our questions at all time. We appreciate and highly recommend him.
X Chen
X Chen
1633383304
Mr. Fallahi is one of the most experienced, trustworthy, and knowledgable professionals in the field. Recently, I contacted him for the incorporation service. He was super helpful during the initial consultation and patiently answered all my questions. His responses were always timely even during the weekends, which I really appreciated for. I had a great experience with Mr. Fallahi and would highly recommend him to those who needs legal services!
Sarel Gaur
Sarel Gaur
1633004601
Great experience using incorporation services as an MD radiologist! Very professional and responsive attorney + CPA
Greg
Greg
1630268731
We and our CPA worked with Zaher Fallahi to resolve a tax issue with a very satisfactory result. We greatly appreciated Mr. Fallahi’s knowledge, professionalism, and guidance. He was very easy to work with. He took care to patiently explain every step that we took, and completed our project in a very timely manner. Although our tax issue was probably a minor one for him, we never felt that he was giving us anything but top priority. I would highly recommend Zaher Fallahi to anyone needing tax/legal assistance.
Babak Mohseni
Babak Mohseni
1629657993
Hi. About six months ago I contacted Mr. Fallahi in regard to the inheritance money that I was trying to transfer to US. I needed guidance on what the legal procedure to follow is in lieu of all the issues that exist because of the Iran sanctions by the US government.Mr. Fallahi was extremely professional, accessible at all times and provided sound and legal advise. He guided me in the right direction and mentioned all the legal documents that I needed to collect while in Iran. Once i got back to US, he drafted the legal document that I presented to my bank and proceeded with the transfer of funds.I was so pleased with Mr Fallahi's conduct that I got him engaged with my cousin to take care of his case.
Shadi Shiri
Shadi Shiri
1619307484
My husband and I have been Mr. Zaher Fallahi’s client for more than 5 years. Mr. Fallahi has been outstandingly knowledgeable and caring. He is a compassionate professional that You can trust and benefit from his excellent advice. We feel lucky to have him by our side. Wish you all the best Mr. Fallahi.
I have been lucky to have Mr. Zaher Fallahi as my CPA and Tax attorney for the last 5 years. He is very informative and helpful in providing insights and perspectives. Zaher is detail-oriented, trustworthy, confident, and extremely knowledgeable in tax laws. He always goes the extra miles to make sure his client is protected and well served. Zaher is the most responsive person through email, that I have worked with in my life. Having his support is a peace of mind and blessing.
Hossein F
Hossein F
1614790936
Mr. Fallahi is very knowledgeable and highly competent in the OFAC area. He helped me navigate my case with ease and confidence. He advised and explained the steps necessary for the best outcome and frequently followed up with me to ensure my case was progressing. He always responded to my questions in a timely and expedient manner even on weekends. He takes special care of his clients and provides a high level of service. I highly recommend him to my friends and family and anyone who needs legal advice.
Hamid
Hamid
1614702813
Mr. Fallahi helped me with an OFAC related case. He did a great job for me and I am very happy to have worked with him.He explained the details of the process and gave me valuable advice.He is very knowledgeable and always available and responsive, even on weekends.
Golenaz El
Golenaz El
1604919344
Mr. Fallahi is amazing! very professional, very responsive and easy to communicate with. My husband and I had several consultations with Mr. Fallahi and his advise and the way he does business is excellent. You can really trust him and his experience specially with OFAC.We are very thankful and looking forward to do more business with him.I would highly recommend Mr. Fallahi regarding international financial issues and OFAC.
One of the best Tax attorneys and tax professionals in California. I always enjoyed visiting his office to get feedback and advice about various tax issues. Mr. Zaher Fallahi is both a CPA and a Tax Attorney and that combination is very helpful...
Dr. Shadi
Dr. Shadi
1598718032
Mr. Fallahi impressed me with his extensive knowledge and experience as a top of the line professional during the initial consultation. He patiently gave me detailed advice and instructions and gained my full trust. He answered any follow up questions very promptly and within hours, even on the weekends. Moreover, he followed up on my case several times to ensure everything is going well. Since I was on a very tight schedule, he expedited the process and made all the documents ready in one day. My experience was very positive and I would highly recommend him to my friends and family.
P K
P K
1590722834
I have been Mr.Fallahi’s client for over 15 years and as a healthcare professional, Mr. Fallahi and his team have done an excellent job for my personal and corporate taxes and book keeping.During these uncertain times of COVID-19, Mr.Fallahi and his team-members have been there every step of the way to help me file and send my PPP-COVID loan application as soon as it became available and they informed me about the EIDL COVID19 in such timely manner that on April 23, I saw the sum being deposited into my account!Zaher and his team treat every client like family and I am confident that I have been in good hands regarding my business financials and optimized personal and business tax filing for the last 15+ years .
Poorya Kiani
Poorya Kiani
1587264313
I met Mr. Zaher Fallahi two times and received consultation and services. I found him a very knowledgeable and helpful lawyer. He supported me patiently and timely. I really appreciate his excellent services.
David Khorram
David Khorram
1527881180
Zaher Fallahi has been our business financial advisory for over 25 years. His team have assisted us with all bookkeeping and tax preparations. His advise has been instrumental in our business growth. if you are looking for the best and most professional in tax service for personal or your business needs Mr. Fallahi ( Zaher Fallahi, CPA, Attorney At Law ) and his staff are the most knowledgeable and experienced in the business. they are thorough, experienced, intelligent and up to date on anything tax and business law related , financial or business related. Highly recommended
Next Reviewsjs_loader
Request Consultation