To understand and fulfill your tax responsibilities as a U.S. citizen and resident alien living abroad, there are a few things you need to do:
- Figure out if you’re required to file – this generally depends on your income, filing status, and age.
- Consider which exclusions and deductions for income and housing that you may qualify for.
- Know how your type of employment may affect your tax liability.
- Have what you need and know where to file your tax return.
Taxes for citizens and resident aliens living abroad can be complex. The IRS’s main publication for citizens abroad is Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad – be sure to reference this publication for details to figure out your particular situation.
Do I need to File a Tax Return?
The IRS’s main publication for citizens and resident aliens abroad is Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad
Your income, filing status, and age generally determine whether you must file a U.S. income tax return.
You generally need to file a return if your gross income from worldwide sources is at least the amount shown for your filing status.
For example, for 2022 someone filing as single would have to file if their gross income is at least $12,950. For someone filing as married, filing jointly, the amount is $25,900.
These amounts change each year, and can be found in Publication 54, under Filing Requirements.
Note: If your net earnings from self-employment are $400 or more, you must file a return even if your gross income is below the amount listed for your filing status.
How Do I File?
Depending on your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), you may be able to file electronically with the IRS using Free File Fillable Forms or with commercial tax software.
Read more about free filing.
If you are a bona fide resident of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or Puerto Rico for the entire tax year, you’ll probably have to file a tax return with the tax department of one of these territories. Go to that tax department for forms and advice, not the IRS. Additional information is available in Chapter 1, Filing Information, of IRS Publication 54.
Note: You must report all income in U.S. dollars on your return. If you receive all or part of your income, or pay some or all of your expenses in foreign currency, you‘ll need to translate those amounts into U.S. dollars.
Make sure you have what you need to file
You need a Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to file a return. Anyone you claim as a dependent on your return also needs an SSN or ITIN.
- ITINs are available for taxpayers or their spouses who aren’t eligible for SSNs.
If you are living overseas, you may have an automatic extension. See the section “How will this affect me?” below for more details.