For US Citizens living and working overseas, you qualify for an automatic extension to June 15th of the following year to file your U.S. Tax Return. If you are still not able to meet this automatically extended filing deadline, then you can file for a 6 month extension, but this 6 month extension request takes into account the earlier automatic extension. So, you will then be allowed only a total of 6 months extension rather than the 2 months automatic and 6 months requested extension for 8 months.
To sum up this quick discussion, you will only be able to file for an automatic 6 month extension to October 15th on form 4868 and not December 15th as we the case in the past. There is some form of relief if you still can not make the October 15th deadline, that is by filing with an explanation: you can request a discretionary 2-month additional extension of time to file your return (to 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 by 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.
If your extension is denied, then your tax return will be only extended to October 15th and any filing after that time will cause your return to be deemed delinquent. Not only will there be late filing penalties and related interest, but your Foreign Sourced Earned Income Exclusion will be denied since it is only granted on a timely filed tax return.
If you fall into to this delinquent tax return filing and lose your Foreign Sources Earned Income Exclusion, which is $99,200 for 2014, please contact us immediately and we can help.
Michael B. Nelson, Esq.