US-tax-forms-for-expatsOne of the things I am often asked is, “What are the most common U.S. tax forms for expats?”

If you are a U.S. citizen or green card holder and live outside the USA, the list of U.S. tax forms below should be of use to you when declaring your worldwide income.

Since the U.S. established the Foreign Accounts and Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) it has become harder to hide from the IRS, especially for U.S. tax payers living abroad. While FATCA has been implemented to target tax evaders, it does inconvenience ordinary U.S. citizens that may be living in a foreign country for work or family reasons.

That means that non-U.S. residents abroad still have to file federal income tax on their worldwide income, regardless of where it is coming from. And so expats need to file separate forms detailing all their financial accounts.

Here is the list of tax forms:

  • Form 1040: U.S. Individual Income Tax Return – This is the official tax form that U.S. taxpayers use to file their annual income tax returns.
  • Schedule B: Interest and Ordinary Dividends – This is used to report interest and dividend income you receive during the tax year.  It’s important that taxpayers with foreign bank and/or brokerage accounts complete part III.
  • Form 1116: Foreign Tax Credit – Allows U.S. taxpayers to take a tax credit and subtract the taxes they paid to another country from whatever they owe the IRS for income taxes
  • Form 2350: Application for Extension of Time File U.S. Income Tax Return – Citizens and residents abroad use this form to ask for an extension of time to file their tax return only if they expect to file Form 2555 and need time to meet the residency test
  • Form 2555: Foreign Earned Income Exclusion – This is one of the most important forms and is used to reduce taxable income.  Citizens and residents living and working outside the U.S. may be entitled to the foreign earned income exclusion if they meet certain residency tests.  Also, included in this form is the foreign housing exclusion, which allows citizens and residents to take an exclusion for specified foreign housing expenses.
  • Form 3520: Annual Return to Report Transactions With Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Foreign Gifts – Used to report gifts, inheritances or transactions from a foreign (non U.S.) individual, estate, corporation or partnership.
  • Form 4868: Application for Automatic Extension of Time File U.S. Income Tax Return – Used to apply for an extension of time to file an income tax return until October 15.
  • Form 5471: Information Return of U.S. Persons with Respect to Certain Foreign Corporations – Used to report information if you own a business, real estate, investment assets through a foreign corporation.
  • Form 8621: Information Return by a Shareholder of a Passive Foreign Investment Company or Qualified Electing Fund – Used to report actual distributions and gain as well as income for certain “pooled investments” (mutual funds, insurance products, pension plans) located outside the U.S.
  • Form 8938: Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets – Used to report your foreign financial assets if the total value is above a specific amount.
  • FinCEN form 114: Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts – Used to report your foreign financial assets if the total value is above a specific amount.

If you have any questions about these forms or need some help make sure to contact us below.

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About US Tax Practice GmbH:

US Tax Practice offers U.S. tax services in Switzerland and Europe.. It is the go-to tax preparation service and compliance practice for U.S. tax payers. Located in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, the company was founded by Patrick Evans, a U.S. tax accountant (CPA) and U.S. citizen determined to work with his clients’ best interests in mind. US Tax Practice GmbH services include U.S. Income Tax Preparation, U.S. Tax Compliance, Foreign Bank Account Reporting (FBAR), Tax Planning and Optimization, and Expatriation.