How to pay & file taxes as an expat

If you’re a U.S. citizen living abroad, how to file taxes as an expat probably isn’t the first question on your mind when thinking about your finances. It is, however, a question that has major consequences if you get it wrong – which is why H&R Block is here to help.

Even if you live overseas, if you’re a U.S. citizen or Green Card holder, you likely have to file a U.S. tax return each year. Regardless of where in the world you live, H&R Block Expat Tax Services can relieve the stress of filing U.S. tax returns and staying compliant with your U.S. tax obligations. Below, we'll explain step-by-step how to file taxes as an expat with our virtual process, designed for the convenience of expats filing abroad.

How to file expat taxes from abroad

Man researching how to file expat taxes from abroad

With H&R Block, you have two options to file expat taxes from abroad: With you in the driver’s seat using our DIY online expat tax service (designed specifically for expats), or by letting one of our Expat Tax Advisors take the wheel. First, we’ll outline how to DIY your expat taxes. Want to skip ahead? See how our advisors do it for you

How to DIY your expat taxes with our made-for-expats online tax service:

If you have a simple situation, you may want to go the DIY-route with our online tax service designed specifically for expats. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Head over to our Ways to File page and choose the “File Yourself” option
  2. Register your account and complete your tax interview

    Our simple DIY process makes filing expat taxes on your own a snap. After you choose to file yourself, you’ll be able to register an account and get started on your tax interview, where we ask you questions about your tax situation. Your answers will be reflected on your completed return.

  3. Pay for and review your return.

    When your tax return is completed, you'll be asked for payment via your secure client account. Because protecting your information is so important, you can count on us to implement physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to protect your tax information. We back our DIY service with all the same guarantees as our assisted route, which means you can trust H&R Block Expat Tax Services for all the following:

    1. Federal tax preparation and filing
    2. State tax return preparation and filing
    3. FBAR filing (Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts)
    4. 100% Accuracy Guarantee
  4. We file your return with the IRS.

    Once you’re all wrapped up, we'll file your completed return with the IRS on your behalf. If the IRS has questions or in case of an audit, we'll help provide answers and support. After filing, your tax return will be stored in your secure client account, where it will be safe and easy to access, whenever you need.

If your situation is a bit more complicated or you want the guidance of one of our Tax Advisors, you can choose our Assisted route. These are the steps to file expat taxes with the help of an Expat Tax Advisor:

  1. Head over to our Ways to File page and choose the “File with an Advisor” option, register online and complete your tax organizer.

    Our simple process makes expat tax filing easy. After you choose to file with an advisor, you’ll be able to register an account. From there, you will get your price and complete your personal Tax Interview, where you provide information about your tax situation. After you have provided your information, you'll be provided a personalized checklist of documents to upload for your specific situation.

  2. We'll assign you the right advisor for your situation.

    The information that you provide will help us match you with a H&R Block Expat Tax Advisor for your situation. Once we’ve matched you with your advisor, they will review your documents and begin your return

  3. We prepare your U.S. tax return.

    Our team of Expat Tax Advisors specialize in taxes for U.S. expats, so you can trust H&R Block Expat Tax Services for all the following:

    1. Federal tax preparation and filing
    2. State tax return preparation and filing
    3. FBAR filing (Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts)
    4. Past-due tax returns from prior years, including Streamlined Compliance filings
    5. Year-round audit support
    6. Free extension filing
    7. H&R Block’s 100% Accuracy Guarantee
    8. We even offer local tax return preparation in select countries

    Your personal Tax Advisor will prepare your return and provide a personal consultation if needed.

  4. Pay for and review the return.

    When your tax return is completed, you'll be asked for payment via your client portal. Know that protecting your information is important to us — we maintain the physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to protect the information you submit to us.

    After you pay, your H&R Block Expat Tax Advisor can walk you through your return, answer your questions and offer relevant tax savings tips for next year.

  5. We file your return with the IRS.

    Finally, we'll file your completed return with the IRS. In the rare case of an audit or if the IRS has questions about your return, we'll help provide answers and support. After filing, your tax return will be stored in your secure online account, where it will be safe and easy to access, whenever you need.

Ready to get started? Head on over to our Ways to File page and choose your tax journey today.

What is an expat? Who qualifies?

What is an expat? An expat is a U.S. citizen or green-card holder living or working outside the United States. Importantly, even though they are no longer in the U.S., they are required to report worldwide income and file taxes even as an expat if they meet specific filing thresholds. However, there are some special issues expats need to consider when filing their return, including potentially reporting financial information through FBAR or FATCA requirements.

What if I've never filed taxes as an expat before?

Many U.S. citizens living abroad assume that they only have tax obligations to their current country of residence and overlook their U.S. tax duty. As it turns out, expats still have a tax obligation to the U.S. even after they’ve moved abroad. Also, in addition to federal taxes, some expats must file state taxes as well.

Even if taxes on foreign income are not owed to the IRS or state government, due to anticipated foreign tax credits or foreign earned income exclusions, expats are still required to file a U.S. tax return if they meet the income requirements.

If you were honestly unaware of your filing requirement, the time to act is now. The IRS has several non-penalty disclosure programs available to Americans abroad who have honestly overlooked their filing obligations and never filed taxes, including Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures. Once you select to file with an advisor, our international tax advisors can help you decide on the best course of action for your unique situation and help you determine how you should file taxes as an expat.

How to file an FBAR

Your FBAR must be filed electronically through FinCEN's BSA e-filing system or with a preparation service designed specifically for expats, such as H&R Block Expat Tax Services.

Married taxpayers should take note: In very few situations are you able to submit a joint FBAR. If you own accounts jointly with your spouse, and either none or only one of you own a separate account, you are able file a single report. Otherwise, each spouse must file their own. If you are filing prior year FBARs or amended FBARs, you must still use FinCEN's website to do so and you must file separate accounts.

When you work with H&R Block Expat Tax Services, you can submit your FBAR through our DIY service or have one of our Expat Tax Advisors handle it for you.

Need help filing taxes for expats? H&R Block’s Expat Tax Services has your back.

Need help? Don’t stress—taxes for expats are complicated, but we’ve got your back. If you’re all set and ready to file with us online, go ahead and start the process with virtual Expat Tax Preparation from H&R Block Expat Tax Services today!