Taxes for World Travelers


Taxes for World Travelers

No matter where you live in the world, all Americans are required to file a federal tax return. Even if you’re living on a beach in Thailand, the IRS expects to hear from you on tax day.

Filing taxes while living abroad may seem like an arduous task, but it’s really not. With the help of tools and resources from the IRS website, it’s easier than you think.


Taxes While Abroad

Death and taxes are the only certainties in life, wrote Benjamin Franklin. According to the IRS website, taxes are generally filed the same way whether you are living abroad or in the United States.

You must file a U.S. income tax return even if you are working abroad. However, you are exempted from filing if you renounce your U.S. citizenship or abandon your green card.

Are you just now realizing that you have to file taxes and wondering how many years back you have to file? Generally, the rule is that you must file for the past six years.


Extensions for Filing Your Return

In 2017, most Americans must file their taxes by April 17th. However, if you are living abroad, or away on military duty, the IRS automatically allows you a 2-month extension. Nevertheless, you must pay your taxes by April 17th. Otherwise, you will be charged interest.


How to File

If you have an adjusted gross income within a specified threshold, you can file your taxes electronically for free using a form on the IRS website. Afterwards, you can check the status of your refund within 24 hours. If you file a paper return, you can check the status of your refund in about 4 weeks.   

If you find that you have a balance due, you can pay your taxes online through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) if you have a U.S. bank account. Also, you can pay using a check, money order, or with a credit or debit card.

If you need help, the IRS website has a list of tax preparers around the world who hold credentials recognized by the IRS. Additionally, the IRS has several pages, videos and online tools on its website.  

Be sure to get an early start on your taxes this year. That way you can enjoy your life abroad without the taxman looking over your shoulder.  


Written by Matthew Allabastro