Saturday, March 7, 2009

Important tax dates for U.S. expatriates

June 15, 2009

Anyone growing up in the United States has "April 15th" embossed in his or her memory as "tax day." Most of us probably remember news reports from outside US post offices at midnight, April 15th, showing crowds lined up to get the April 15th postmark on their tax returns. Fortunately (especially since it is already the end of May), the April 15 deadline is not so important to US expatriates. If you live outside the United States AND your main place of business is outside the United States, or you are in military service outside the United States, you have an extra two months to file your federal tax return and pay your tax. This means, in most cases, your return is due no later than June 15th. Be careful in your planning, however, because the extension of time to file and pay does not extend to interest payments. So, if you owe a lot of tax, and don't pay it by the normal due date (usually April 15th), the IRS will charge interest on the tax due until you pay it.

June 30, 2009

This is the due date to file Form TD F 90-22.1 with the Department of Treasury to report any and all foreign bank accounts or foreign financial accounts. You only need to file if the total amount of all accounts is over $10,000. The form, with its somewhat complicated numbering, seems to be an unimportant administrative burden, but don't be fooled. This is the form the owners of those accounts in Switzerland (uncovered during the investigation of UBS) wish they had properly filled out so they would not be embarrassed (or worse) when the government asks them about an account they "forgot" they had. This is also the form that will be getting lots more scrutiny under President Obama's initiatives to close overseas tax loopholes. So, please remember the date and please fill out the form fully and completely.