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Tax filing for U.S. expatriates

United States citizens from Georgia and all other states still have to file a U.S. federal tax return even if they are living in another country. Some new rules are in place for 2015 tax returns, and new technology agreements could help the IRS catch delinquent taxpayers living overseas.

Statistics indicate that many Americans living outside of the country don't file tax returns. The IRS signed international agreements in 2015 that enable the agency to receive information from overseas digitally under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. In addition, a new penalty is in place beginning this year. Delinquent taxpayers who reach $50,000 in unpaid taxes could have their passport cancelled.

Some adjustments to tax provisions that may be of interest to Americans living in other countries include adjustments to the foreign housing exclusion and the foreign earned income exclusion. New rules this year involving the child tax credit and foreign tax provisions may also be of interest to parents living abroad.

All Americans have an extra weekend to work on their tax returns this year. Because Emancipation Day is a holiday in Washington, D.C., the tax filing deadline is April 18. Citizens who are living outside of the U.S. on April 18th get an automatic extension for filing until June 15. Those who owe taxes still must pay by April 18, however, to avoid late payment penalties. The extension for filing is automatic, and it can be further extended to Oct. 15 by filing an extension form.

The IRS recognizes delinquent taxpayers as either willfully or non-willfully delinquent, and this can make a difference when it comes to penalties charged. Federal income tax law is complex and generally changes every year. People who are being audited may want to have the assistance of an attorney throughout the process.

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