US 'Free File' Open To Expats
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that taxpayers
living abroad can now use its Free File to prepare and electronically file their
returns at no cost.
The IRS confirmed that five Free File companies can now handle returns filed
from foreign addresses. This means both US citizens and resident aliens living
abroad with adjusted gross incomes of USD58,000 or less can use brand-name software
to prepare their returns and then e-file them for free.
This option may be especially attractive to taxpayers living and working abroad
who claim the foreign earned income exclusion, because the USD58,000 income
limit applies after the exclusion of up to USD91,500. This, effectively, makes
Free File available to many higher-income taxpayers.
Taxpayers also can use Free File to request an extension if they cannot meet
the regular tax deadline. Free File will be open until October 17, 2011 to accommodate
taxpayers who get the regular six-month tax-filing extension, as well as people
taking advantage of the special June 15 tax-filing deadline available to taxpayers
who live and work outside the US.
The IRS reminds US citizens and resident aliens that federal law requires
them to report income from all sources, both foreign and domestic, including
income from foreign trusts and foreign bank and securities accounts. In most
cases, affected taxpayers also need to report the country or countries in which
the accounts are located.