Search This Blog

September 28, 2012

Expats Can Extend Tax Return Due Date Up Until 12/15/12 If Previous Extension Filed

All taxpayers are generally entitled to an automatic 6-month extension of time to file their returns by filing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, , with the Internal Revenue Service.

In addition to this 6-month extension, taxpayers who are out of the country (as defined in the Form 4868 instructions) can request a discretionary 2-month additional extension of time to file their returns (to December 15 for calendar year taxpayers).

To request this additional 2 month  extension, you must send the Internal Revenue Service a letter explaining the reasons why you need the additional 2 months to complete your tax return. Send the letter by the previously  extended due date (October 15 for calendar year taxpayers) to the following address:

Internal Revenue Service CenterAustin, TX 73301-0215USA

You will not receive any notification from the Internal Revenue Service unless your request is denied for being untimely.  Therefore it is best to send this letter extension request by Certified Mail Return Receipt or another method where you have proof the request was sent in timely.  If you are sending your request by DHL, UPS or Fed Exp from abroad, the street address for delivery is on our website at

The discretionary 2-month additional extension is not available to taxpayers who have an approved extension of time to file on Form 2350 (for U.S. citizens and resident aliens abroad who expect to qualify for special tax treatment).

September 22, 2012

UAE to Join the Network to Exchange Tax Data with US and Other Countries

The UAE is expected shortly to join the  OCED which is the network of countries that join have joined together to share economic data which includes tax data on residents of those countries with other members of the OCED.  The USA is a member of the OCED which means US expats living in those other countries will have their income and other  financial information reported to the US International. Do not make the mistake of thinking because the United Arab Emirates has no income taxes information on your will not be sent to the IRS.. READ MORE HERE ABOUT THE UAE tax information sharing arrangement.

For an up to date list of the OCED members who are sharing tax information with each other CLICK HERE.  If you live and work on one of these countries, your income and financial information will ultimately or may have already been shared with the IRS.

September 20, 2012


One Taxpayer who opted out of the administrative nightmare of the IRS Offshore Disclosure Program has been assessed no penalties for late filed FBAR forms.  The taxpayer was a 12 year US resident with unreported  offshore assets equal to about $120,000 at the peak. The taxpayer was ignorant of the special forms required to report offshore assets and the requirement he needed to report the income from these offshore accounts.

This may provide some guidance to those expatriates who are still trying to decide whether to enter the 2012  IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program or just proceed with a regular disclosure.  READ MORE DETAILS  ON JACK TOWNSEND (CRIMINAL TAX ATTORNEY) BLOG.

Another Tax Professional reports the following:  One of the  firm’s clients opted out and received no penalties whatsoever and another is opting out and may receive just one $10,000 penalty over 8 years even though the taxpayer had $1M+ overseas financial accounts .This professional fees the reason for these successes is  that OVDI penalties are mandated by the National Office and agents are mandated to assess penalties, whereas if someone opts out then the local office has the authority to close the case (and is typically motivated to do so to clear inventory).

September 17, 2012

New 2013 IRS Figures Of Interest to all Nonresident and Expatriate Taxpayers

Some of the new figures for 2013 which will come into play if you are a US expatriate, nonresident, or have international tax concerns are as follows:

Unified estate and gift tax exclusion amount. Under the sunset provisions of EGTRRA, for gifts made and estates of decedents dying in 2013, due to a law change, the exclusion amount will be $1,000,000 (down from $5,120,000 for gifts made and estates of decedents dying in 2012).

Gift tax annual exclusion. For gifts made in 2013, the gift tax annual exclusion will be $14,000 (up from $13,000 for gifts made in 2012).

Increased annual exclusion for gifts to noncitizen spouses. For gifts made in 2013, the annual exclusion for gifts to noncitizen spouses will be $143,000 (up from $139,000 for 2012).

Reporting foreign gifts. If the value of the aggregate “foreign gifts” received by a U.S. person (other than an exempt Code Sec. 501(c) organization) exceeds a threshold amount, the U.S. person must report each “foreign gift” to IRS. (Code Sec. 6039F(a)) Different reporting thresholds apply for gifts received from (a) nonresident alien individuals or foreign estates, and (b) foreign partnerships or foreign corporations. For gifts from a nonresident alien individual or foreign estate, reporting is required only if the aggregate amount of gifts from that person exceeds $100,000 during the tax year. For gifts from foreign corporations and foreign partnerships, the reporting threshold amount will be $15,102 in 2013 (up from $14,723 for 2012).

Expatriation, Citizenship and Green Card Surrender. For 2013, an individual with “average annual net income tax” of more than $155,000 for the five tax years ending before the date of the loss of U.S. citizenship is a covered expatriate (up from $151,000 for 2012). Under a mark-to-market deemed sale rule, all property of a covered expatriate is treated as sold on the day before the expatriation date for its fair market value. However, for 2013, the amount that would otherwise be includible in the gross income of any individual under these mark-to-market rules is reduced by $668,000 (up from $651,000 for 2012).

Foreign earned income exclusion. The foreign earned income exclusion amount increases to $97,600 in 2013 (up from $95,100 in 2012).

September 11, 2012


A question we often get from expats living aboard is, "How can the IRS ever find out about my foreign assets or income?"  We always tell them that it is entirely possible the IRS will find out and we recommend they disclose all income and assets as required by US tax law.  Both US and foreign third parties can make a lot of money by turning in US taxpayers that are hiding their foreign assets and income from the IRS..

A UBS banker in Switzerland will receive $104 million as finders fee from the IRS in return for giving it names of US taxpayers that had secret accounts in Switzerland.  He is the banker that helped his US clients hide the money in Switzerland. .  In the course of his disclosures to the IRS he misrepresented some information and  had to spend a few years in prison for that crime.  He will still (despite his time in prison) collect his fee from the IRS which is a percentage of the taxes the IRS will collect from the US taxpayers he gave up to the IRS. READ MORE HERE

The IRS expects a lot more Whistleblowers to come forward and reveal the information they know about US taxpayers not complying with the law.  This is good reason to only discuss  your potential tax problems with a reputable US Attorney where all communication is protected from disclosure by "Attorney-client privilege." The law forbids an attorney from revealing any client information to the IRS unless that specific information goes into preparing a tax return for that client.  Do not discuss any problematic tax  information   to anyone but an attorney. Under most state laws, information given to Enrolled Agents and CPAs is not protected and those professionals can be forced to disclose client's disclosures by the IRS and the Courts.