American Citizen Services
United States Mission, Turkey
April 2018 Newsletter
Featured in this quarter’s issue:
- The State of Emergency
- U.S. Passport Execution Fee Increase to $35
- Personal Data and Emergency Contact Page of U.S. Passports
- Tax Time Guide: IRS Publication 17 helps taxpayers with 2017 taxes
- IRS: Unclaimed 2014 refunds worth $1.1 billion
- Register and request your absentee ballots for all 2018 elections now at FVAP.gov
- Contact Information
You may view the Department of State’s Country Specific Information on Turkey at: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/turkey.html
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/
The State of Emergency
On January 18, 2018, the government of Turkey extended the state of emergency (SOE) for three more months. The SOE first commenced on July 20, 2016 and this is the sixth extension. The SOE allows for expanded governmental powers, including detention and questioning of citizens of Turkey and foreign nationals. U.S. citizens should carry identification at all times and make every effort to comply with the instructions and requests of Turkish authorities. If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or Consulate immediately. See our webpage for further information.
U.S. Passport Execution Fee Will Increase to $35
Effective April 2, 2018, the passport execution fee increased from $25 to $35. The execution fee increase only applies to U.S. passport applicants using the DS-11 form, such as first-time applicants over 16, children under 16, and applicants who re-apply after reporting their previous passport lost or stolen. The $10 fee increase does not apply to adults eligible to renew their passport by mail using the DS-82 form.
To learn more about renewing your passport, visit our Renew page.
Customers applying with the DS-11 form pay two separate fees: an application fee to the U.S. Department of State and the execution fee to the passport acceptance facility.
The Department of State generally sets consular fees at an amount calculated to achieve recovery of the costs to the U.S. government of providing the consular service. The latest Cost of Service Model showed that the costs associated with passport execution were higher than the current fee of $25.
Importance of Completing Personal Data and Emergency Contact Information Page of Your U.S. Passport
U.S. Embassies and Consulates may receive emergency calls from hospitals or other sources about U.S. citizens who are hospitalized in critical conditions. When this happens, consular officers make efforts to reach family members or relatives. All U.S. passports have a page inside designed for writing personal data and emergency contact information. U.S. citizens should complete this page in pencil and keep the information up-to-date at all times. This helps the consular officer provide assistance more quickly in an emergency.
Tax Time Guide: IRS Publication 17 helps taxpayers with 2017 taxes
Taxpayers who are looking for a comprehensive guide of 2017 tax benefits and useful tips to help them with their taxes don’t have to go further than IRS Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax.
The IRS has developed the Tax Time Guide, a series of nine news releases to help taxpayers navigate common tax issues as this year’s April 17 deadline nears. This is the third news release in the series.
Publication 17 is packed with basic tax-filing information and tips on what income to report and how to report it, figuring capital gains and losses, claiming dependents, choosing the standard deduction versus itemizing deductions and using IRAs to save for retirement.
Publication 17 features a rundown on tax changes for the 2017 tax year and has details on taking advantage of a wide range of tax-saving opportunities. This includes tax credits such as the American Opportunity Tax Credit for parents and college students, the Additional Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit for low- and moderate-income workers.
Publication 17 is available free on the IRS web site and provides thousands of interactive links to help taxpayers quickly find answers to their tax questions.
Besides Publication 17, IRS.gov offers many other helpful resources for taxpayers, such as tax forms and publications for tax year 2017 and prior years. Taxpayers can also download Publication 17 and other tax publications on mobile devices as an eBook at no charge. Taxpayers can find answers to questions, forms and instructions and easy-to-use tools online at IRS.gov 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
IRS: Unclaimed 2014 refunds worth $1.1 billion
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates that unclaimed federal income, tax refunds totaling about $1.1 billion, are waiting for 1 million taxpayers who did not file a 2014 federal income tax return.
To collect the money, these taxpayers must file their 2014 tax return with the IRS no later than this year’s tax deadline, Tuesday, April 17.
“We’re trying to connect a million people with their share of $1.1 billion in unclaimed refunds for 2014,” said Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter. “Time is running out for people who haven’t filed tax returns to claim their refunds. Students, part-time workers and many others may have overlooked filing for 2014. And there’s no penalty for filing a late return if you’re due a refund.”
The IRS estimates the midpoint for the potential refunds for 2014 to be $847; half of the refunds are more than $847 and half are less.
In cases where a federal income tax return was not filed, the law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a tax refund. If they do not file a tax return within three years, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury. For 2014 tax returns, the window closes April 17, 2018. The law requires taxpayers to properly address mail and ensure the tax return is postmarked by that date.
The IRS reminds taxpayers seeking a 2014 tax refund that their checks may be held if they have not filed tax returns for 2015 and 2016. In addition, the refund will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS or a state tax agency and may be used to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts, such as student loans.
By failing to file a tax return, people stand to lose more than just their refund of taxes withheld or paid during 2014. Many low- and moderate-income workers may be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
Current and prior year tax forms (such as the tax year 2014 Form 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ) and instructions are available on the IRS.gov Forms and Publications page or by calling toll-free 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
Taxpayers who are missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for the years 2014, 2015 or 2016 should request copies from their employer, bank or other payer. Taxpayers who are unable to get missing forms from their employer or other payer can order a free wage and income transcript at IRS.gov using the Get Transcript Online tool. Alternatively, they can file Form 4506-T to request a wage and income transcript. A wage and income transcript shows data from information returns received by the IRS, such as Forms W-2, 1099, 1098, Form 5498, and IRA contribution Information. Taxpayers can use the information on the transcript to file their tax return.
Register and request your absentee ballots for all 2018 elections now at FVAP.gov
This year the entire House of Representatives and a third of the U.S. Senate are up for election. To register and request your absentee ballot, visit FVAP.gov to complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). Please note that you should put your local address as return address on the envelope when mailing your FPCA or voted ballot. Your ballot will be returned if you put an Embassy or Consulate address as a return address
FVAP recommends that all U.S. citizens overseas send in a FPCA every year to ensure receipt of absentee ballots for all federal elections in 2018. Now is the time to update your mailing address and absentee ballot request information to reflect any changes since the 2016 general election.
To register and request your ballots, complete the FPCA using the online assistant: fvap.gov/military-voter/registration-ballots
You may also use the fillable PDF: fvap.gov/uploads/FVAP/Forms/fpca.pdf
Find your state’s primary election dates at FVAP.gov: Select the state where you want to register to vote from the drop-down menu in the “Voters Start Here” box at the top left-hand side of FVAP.gov. To find your state’s election website for specific information on candidates, elections, contact information, and links to your local election offices, visit FVAP’s contact page (fvap.gov/info/contact).
U.S. Mission offices will be closed on the following U.S. and Turkish holidays:
Monday, April 23 National Sovereignty and Children’s Day
Tuesday, May 1 Labor and Solidarity Day
Monday, May 28 Memorial Day
Thursday, June 14-17 Ramadan Holiday
Consulate General Istanbul
Poligon Mahallesi, Sarıyer Caddesi, No: 75, Istinye 34460, Sarıyer Tel: (90) (212) 335-9000 Fax: (90) (212) 335-9102 https://tr.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/istanbul/
Girne Bulvari No. 212, Guzelevler Mahallesi, Yuregir Tel: (90) (322) 455-4100 Fax (90) (322) 455-4141 https://tr.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/adana/
Consular Agent Izmir
Izmir@state.gov Federal Benefits Unit and Veterans Services (Regional – Embassy Athens) Tel: (30) (210) 720-2426 Fax: (30) (210) 720-0509 https://athens.usembassy.gov/federal_benefits.html FBU.Athens@ssa.gov