American Citizen Services
United States Mission, Turkey
August 2018 Newsletter
Featured in this issue:
- Personal Security While Abroad
- Voting in U.S. Elections from Overseas
- New IRS Mobile Phone App
- Ordering Transcripts and Copies of Tax Returns
- Expiring ITIN? Renew Soon to Avoid Refund Delays
- Contact Information
You may visit our website at any time to make an appointment or access the latest messages and local resources: https://tr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/
Personal Security While Abroad
The Department of State publishes information online to help you stay safe while travelling or living abroad. As terrorist attacks, political violence (including demonstrations), criminal activities, and other security incidents often take place without any warning, U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and practice good situational awareness when traveling abroad. When planning a trip and prior to departing the United States, American citizens should consult country-specific Travel Advisories and information pages on travel.state.gov.
Travelers are also urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. The Department uses these security messages to convey information about terrorist threats, security incidents, planned demonstrations, natural disasters, etc. In an emergency, please contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate or call the following numbers: 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.
U.S. government facilities worldwide remain in a heightened state of alert. These facilities may temporarily close or periodically suspend public services to assess their security posture. In those instances, U.S. embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens abroad are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
Terrorist groups including ISIS, al-Qa’ida, their associates, and those inspired by such organizations, are intent on attacking U.S. citizens wherever they are. Extremists may use conventional or non-conventional weapons to target U.S. government and private interests. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods, including the use of edged weapons, pistols, and vehicles as weapons, to effectively target crowds. Extremists increasingly aim to assault “soft” targets, such as:
- high-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
- hotels, clubs, and restaurants
- places of worship
- shopping malls and markets
- tourism infrastructure
- public transportation systems
In multiple regions, terrorists, guerrilla groups, and criminals seek to kidnap U.S. citizens to finance their operations or for political purposes. The Department also remains concerned that terrorists could again seek to down aircraft using concealed explosives or hijack commercial flights.
Private U.S. citizens should not travel to any country to participate in armed conflict. U.S. citizens are reminded that fighting on behalf of, or providing other forms of support to, designated terrorist organizations can constitute the provision of material support for terrorism, which is a serious crime that can result in penalties, including prison time and large fines.
For further information, visit these links:
- Travel.State.Gov International Travel Information: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel.html
- Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP): https://step.state.gov/step/
- Turkey Country Information: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Turkey.html
- Worldwide Caution: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/worldwide-caution.html
Voting in U.S. Elections from Overseas
The next U.S. General Election is November 6, 2018.
The voting rights of 2.6 million U.S. citizens living overseas, as well as Service members and their eligible family members, are protected by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA).
Voters must register and send in their ballots before the deadlines to ensure their vote is counted. See the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) absentee voter site for an overview and the links to get started.
FVAP recommends using the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), available through the FVAP Automated Assistant, to register to vote and request an absentee ballot as soon as possible. This ensures voters can participate in the General Election on Nov. 6. The sooner voters register and request their ballot, the greater the likelihood they can successfully vote because ballots must be sent back before individual state deadlines, which vary. You can find the deadlines for your state at this FVAP page: https://www.fvap.gov/citizen-voter/registration-ballots
“Using the FPCA is the easiest way for overseas citizens, Service members, and their families stationed away from home to register and request a ballot,” FVAP Director David Beirne said. “The FPCA not only allows these voters to register and request an absentee ballot simultaneously, it also guarantees certain benefits under federal law.”
New IRS Mobile Phone App
Anyone with tax questions can get answers from the IRS’s new mobile app, IRS2Go. The new app is available for free to use on Android and iOS devices. It’s also available on Amazon. Taxpayers can use the app to:
- Check the status of their refund
Taxpayers can check on their refund status within 24 hours after the IRS receives their e-filed return, or about four weeks after mailing a paper return.
- Make a payment
The app offers easy access to mobile-friendly payment options like IRS Direct Pay. This offers the taxpayer a free, secure way to pay directly from their bank account. Users can also make a credit or debit card payment through an approved payment processor.
- Find free tax preparation assistance
Eligible taxpayers can access free tax software from their mobile device to quickly prepare and file their taxes and get their refund. Taxpayers who got an extension of time to file their taxes can use the app to file through the October extended filing deadline.
- Get Helpful Tips and Information
Taxpayers can use the app to link to IRS accounts on social media. Users can do things such as watch helpful videos and access IRS tweets. Taxpayers can also use the app to sign up to receive IRS Tax Tips by email.
- Stay Secure
Users can use IRS2Go to create login security codes for certain IRS online services. This allows the taxpayer to retrieve codes through IRS2Go instead of using text messages.
IRS2Go is available in both English and Spanish.
Transcripts and Copies of Tax Returns
The IRS recommends that taxpayers keep a copy of tax returns for at least three years. Doing so can help taxpayers prepare future tax returns or even assist with amending a prior year’s return. If a taxpayer is unable to locate copies of previous tax returns, they should check with their software provider or tax preparer first. Copies of tax returns are available from the IRS for a fee.
Even though taxpayers may have a copy of their tax return, some taxpayers need a transcript. These are often necessary for a mortgage or college financial aid application. Here is some information about getting transcripts that can help taxpayers know what types are available and how to get them. Transcripts can be ordered online through the Get Transcript tool on IRS.gov. Users must authenticate their identity with the Secure Access process. Instructions for ordering transcripts by mail can be found at Get Transcript by Mail or by calling 1-800-908-9946. Get Transcript FAQs
Taxpayers who need an actual copy of a tax return can order it by mail for the current tax year and as far back as six years. The fee per copy is $50. For more information about requesting a copy of a tax return go to Request for Copy of Tax Return.
More than 2 million ITINs to expire this year; Renew soon to avoid refund delays
With more than 2 million Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) set to expire at the end of 2018, the Internal Revenue Service urges affected taxpayers to submit their renewal applications soon, to beat the rush and avoid refund delays next year.
ITINs are used by people who have tax filing or payment obligations under U.S. law but who are not eligible for a Social Security number. ITIN holders who have questions should visit the ITIN information page on IRS.gov and take a few minutes to understand the guidelines.
ITINs that have not been used on a federal tax return at least once in the last three consecutive years will expire Dec. 31, 2018. In addition, ITINs with middle digits 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 81 or 82 will also expire at the end of the year. These affected taxpayers who expect to file a tax return in 2019 must submit a renewal application as soon as possible.
ITINs can be renewed by mail, through Certified Acceptance Agents (CAAs) authorized by the IRS, or in-person at a designated IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center. For more information, visit the ITIN information page on IRS.gov
U.S. Mission offices will be closed on the following U.S. and Turkish holidays:
Thursday, August 30 Victory Day (Turkey)
Monday, September 3 Labor Day (U.S.)
Monday, October 8 Columbus Day (U.S.)
Monday, October 29 Republic Day (Turkey)
You may view the Department of State’s Country Specific Information on Turkey at: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/turkey.html
Smart Travel Enrollment Program (STEP) https://step.state.gov/step/
110 Ataturk Boulevard
Tel: (90) (312) 455-5555
Fax: (90) (312) 468-6131
Consulate General Istanbul
Poligon Mahallesi, Sarıyer Caddesi, No: 75, Istinye 34460, Sarıyer
Tel: (90) (212) 335-9000
Fax: (90) (212) 335-9102
Girne Bulvari No. 212, Guzelevler Mahallesi, Yuregir
Tel: (90) (322) 455-4100
Fax (90) (322) 455-4141
Consular Agent Izmir
Federal Benefits Unit and Veterans Services (Regional – Embassy Athens)
Tel: (30) (210) 720-2426
Fax: (30) (210) 720-0509