If you are living overseas, you are automatically allowed two additional months to file your income tax return even without filing an extension request with the IRS. This means that income tax returns for overseas taxpayers are not due until June 15 (as opposed to April 15).
An overseas taxpayer may request an additional four-month extension after this period using filing Form 4868 (thus, extending the time till October 15). The extension request must be made on or before June 15th and taxpayers using Form 4868 must properly estimate tax due based on the information available. The extension is automatically granted so the taxpayer will not hear back from the IRS.
Sometimes, taxpayers living and working abroad cannot meet the October 15 extended tax filing deadline. What happens if the overseas filer still cannot get his return in on time? Sometimes, an additional extension is permitted, discussed more fully below.
Another possibility for certain Americans abroad is to file for an extension using or Form 2350, if applicable. Special rules apply and one should read the instructions carefully. This extension is meant for the following individuals meeting all 3 requirements –
1. You are a US citizen or resident alien.
2. You expect to qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion (FEIE)
and/or the foreign housing exclusion (FHE) or deduction by meeting either the
bona fide residence test or the physical presence test but not until after
your tax return is due.
3. Your tax home is in a foreign country (or countries) throughout your
period of bona fide residence or physical presence, whichever applies.
Please see my US Tax Information page for Americans abroad to read more detail about the FEIE and FHE as well as many other topics of relevance to US persons overseas.
Additional Extension of Time for Taxpayers Out of the Country
In addition to the extensions, discussed previously, taxpayers who are out of the USA can request a discretionary 2-month additional extension of time to file their returns (that is, returns are due by December 15 for calendar year taxpayers).
To request this extension, you must send the Internal Revenue Service a letter explaining the reasons why you need the additional 2 months. Send the letter no later than the extended due date (October 15 for calendar year taxpayers) to the following address:
Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service Center
Austin, TX 73301-0045
You will not receive any notification from the Internal Revenue Service unless your request is denied. Since the IRS can possibly deny the request, you should make the request as early as you can so you will have time to do your return in the event permission is denied. Given the complexity of tax returns for overseas Americans, especially with new Form 8938 and the very harsh penalties that can apply for improper reporting of overseas accounts and assets, many taxpayers are seeking professional advice. Tax return preparers are on overload and cannot get all the returns done by October 15th. This may be a good reason to explain your request for additional time.
The discretionary 2-month additional extension is not available to taxpayers who have an approved extension of time to file on Form 2350.