You may not have to file a federal income tax return if your income is below a certain amount. But, you must file a tax return to claim a refundable tax credit or a refund for withheld income tax. Find out if you have to file a tax return.
You may need to pay quarterly estimated taxes if you're self-employed or if not enough tax is taken out of your salary or pension. It can also apply to other earnings including alimony, interest, or dividends. Learn how to calculate your estimated taxes, find out when they’re due, and the penalty for underpaying.
U.S. citizens or Green Card holders living abroad must pay U.S. income tax on their worldwide income.
How to File
- As a Green Card holder or U.S. citizen living abroad, you can use the same forms (1040, 1040A or 1040EZ) as people living in the U.S. to file your taxes.
- The amounts you report on your U.S. tax return must be in U.S. dollars. Learn more about filing requirements.
- The rules for filing tax returns, paying estimated taxes, or estate taxes are generally the same whether you are in the U.S. or abroad. Get information for taxpayers living abroad.
When to File
- As a taxpayer living outside the U.S., you are allowed a two-month extension. Get more information about your filing date.
Where to File
- If you’re living outside the U.S., you can mail your return or use e-file.
- Learn where to mail your return if you are expecting a refund or if you owe money to the IRS.
Where to Get Tax Preparation Help While Living Abroad
Taxpayer service is no longer available at foreign posts of duty. Instead, use the International Taxpayer Service Call Center.
Find More Resources for Taxpayers Living Abroad
- Use the list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about international individual tax matters.
- Find a list of tax FAQs especially for Green Card holders.
- Use the international taxpayers interactive tools for general tax questions.
- If you owe money to the IRS but do not have a U.S. bank account to send a check, you may be able to use a debit or credit card.
If you are a nonresident living and earning money in the United States, you may be required to file a U.S. tax return.
You will need to file a U.S. tax return depending on your:
How to File
- You will need an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) or Social Security number (SSN). The IRS will issue an ITIN if a foreign national is not eligible for an SSN for tax reporting purposes. Learn more about getting an ITIN for federal tax reporting.
- You can use form 1040NR to file a tax return.
- Review the specific filing requirements if you are a foreign exchange student or visiting scholar.
- If you are on a J-1 visa working as an au pair, you may need to file estimated taxes using form 1040ES-NR.
- If you can’t file your return by the due date, use form 4868.
More Tax Help for Nonresidents
- Review the tax treaty information between the U.S. and your country. In some cases, your taxable amount may be lower.
- If you are a foreign student, use this reference guide to learn more about the special rules that apply to your U.S. income including your liability for Social Security and Medicare taxes.
- Learn more from the IRS's tax guide for individuals who aren't citizens.
Do you have a question?
Ask a real person any government-related question for free. They'll get you the answer or let you know where to find it.
Last Updated: January 14, 2020