U.S. Tax Information for U.S. Citizens Oversea
Tax information, forms and instructions are easily available through the internet. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not have an office in Turkey and the Embassy and Consulates cannot provide tax advice. Links to further tax filing guidance for U.S. taxpayers living abroad are available on the Federal Benefits and Obligations website.
Who Must File?
If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien living or traveling outside the United States, you generally are required to file income tax returns, estate tax returns, and gift tax returns, and pay estimated tax in the same way as those residing in the United States. Your worldwide income is subject to U.S. income tax, regardless of where you reside.
Your income, filing status, and age generally determine whether you must file an income tax return. Generally, you must file a return if your gross income from worldwide sources is at least the amount shown for your filing status in the filling requirement Chapter 1 of Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad. Publication 54 can be found at https://www.irs.gov/Forms-&-Pubs.
Contacting the IRS
Contact the International Taxpayer Service Call Center by phone or fax. The International Call Center is open Monday through Friday, from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).
Tel: 267-941-1000 (not toll-free)
Forms & Publications
Downloadable forms, publications, and answers to your federal tax questions can be found at https://www.irs.gov/forms-instructions The website contains a wide variety of topics, including information for international and military taxpayers.
Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs)
Social Security Numbers are only available to U.S. Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs, or “Green Card” holders). They are not issued to spouses of U.S. Citizens who are not LPRs or Turkish students going to the U.S. for college.
The Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) was created for use as a tax reporting number for those taxpayers who do not qualify for Social Security Numbers. ITINs are for tax purposes only. The numbers are not valid as personal identification, and do not imply or in any way provide legal status in the U.S. or entitle holders to work in the U.S.
Important: The IRS is implementing significant changes made to the ITIN program under the PATH Act of 2015. The new law means that any ITIN not used on a federal tax return at least once in the last three years will no longer be valid as of January 1, 2017 for use on a tax return unless the taxpayer renews the ITIN. In addition, all ITINs issued prior to 2013 will begin to expire this year and taxpayers will need to renew them.
The first pre-2013 ITINs that will expire are those with middle digits of 78 and 79 (Example: 9XX-78-XXXX). The renewal period for these ITINs began October 1, 2016. The IRS began to mail letters to this group of taxpayers in August to inform them of the need to renew their ITINs in order to file a tax return, and explain the renewal steps. The IRS will announce the schedule for expiration and renewal of ITINs that do not have middle digits of 78 and 79 at a future date.
If taxpayers have an expired ITIN, not renewed before filing a tax return next year, they might face a refund delay and be ineligible for certain tax credits, such as the Child Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit, until they renew the ITIN. More information is available on the ITIN page at IRS.gov.
How to Apply for an ITIN
Obtain a certified copy of your passport at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate as a notarial service. The cost is US$50. You must apply in person with your passport.
For more information on ITINs please go to the IRS website.
The U.S. Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service warn taxpayers of an e-mail-based scheme that attempts to trick taxpayers into submitting personal information such as social security numbers, driver’s license information and bank and credit card numbers.
In this ploy, unsuspecting consumers receive an e-mail, claiming they are under investigation for tax fraud and are subject to prosecution. The e-mail informs recipients they can “help” the investigation by providing “real” information and directs them to an official-looking web site, where detailed personal information must be provided to dispute a charge.
The IRS does not use e-mail to contact taxpayers about issues related to their accounts. Official taxpayer contact usually consists of a letter on IRS stationery in an IRS envelope. IRS letters also contain a contact phone number.
Taxpayers who believe they have received suspect communication are encouraged to contact TIGTA. Additional information on identity theft and other fraud may be found at the following web sites: FTC’s Identity Theft Site and TIGTA.
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)
Under FATCA, U.S. taxpayers with specified foreign financial assets that exceed certain thresholds must report those assets to the IRS. This reporting is made on Form 8938, which taxpayers attach to their individual federal income tax return.
To help individuals understand how FATCA may impact their filing and reporting responsibilities, we have redesigned the IRS website and made it easier to navigate. The main page for individuals is found at this link: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/corporations/foreign-account-tax-compliance-act-fatca
From this main page, the user may click on additional hot links, depending on the topic. For example, there is a chart available (linked from this main page via a hot link) which describes types of foreign assets which may be reportable under the FATCA rules.
On the right side of this main page under the heading “Summary of Form 8938 Requirements” is another hot link to a document titled “Summary of FATCA Reporting for U.S. Taxpayers.”
The American Embassy in Ankara assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Inclusion on this list is in no way an endorsement by the Department of State or the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulates. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. The information in the list on professional credentials, areas of expertise and language ability are provided directly by the lawyers; the Embassy is not in a position to vouch for such information. You may receive additional information about the individuals on the list by contacting the local bar association (or its equivalent) or the local licensing authorities.
Collier, Stacy D., CPA, MPA
1620 Travis St.
Columbus, Texas 78934
US tax return preparer that specializes in US citizens abroad.
The practice of Miklos Ringbauer, CPA, PMP provides strong experience and personalized services in accounting, tax preparation, and consulting services for Americans living abroad, individuals, and businesses that are subject to US tax laws and FBAR reporting. Contact us for a free consultation to find the right solution for you.
Our site is an informational resource where expats can learn about their U.S. tax obligations (there is a special section explaining why all expats need to file US tax returns) as well as find out how our firm can assist them with tax preparation.