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How Can Americans Abroad Catch Up on Their US Tax Filing With the Streamlined Procedure Program?

What is The Streamlined Procedure Program?

If you’ve recently moved to another country, you still have to file U.S. taxes. However, many people forget about filing while in another country, and become delinquent with their U.S. reporting.

That is where the Streamlined Procedure Program comes in to help. The purpose of the procedure is to help bring you back into compliance for the year(s) you have forgotten to report your information to the IRS. This will allow you to catch up on previous tax returns so that in the future, you can file taxes in a normal fashion.

Am I Eligible for the Streamlined Procedure Program?

Being eligible for the Streamlined Procedure Program is a pretty strict process.

  1. You must be non-willful. This means that you simply didn’t understand you had to file US taxes, and it wasn’t a purposeful avoidance
  2. You cannot have an existing IRS audit or examination on you. This is because during the audit or examination, they should have asked you about foreign income, and therefore you would have had to willfully lie about your taxes, which excludes you.
  3. You must have a valid Tax Identification Number (TIN). Usually, your TIN is either your U.S. Social Security Number or the TIN you were given as an alien resident. If you do not have either, you may still request your TIN and try to apply.
  4. If you have previously applied to catch up under the Streamlined Procedure or any other program, you cannot apply. You must choose one program to apply for, and you can only apply once. If you get denied for one of the programs, you cannot then turn around and apply for the other.

If you believe you fit these guidelines, then it is worth applying to the IRS Streamlined Procedure.

What Do I Have To Do After I Apply For the Streamlined Procedure Program?

If you are approved for the Streamlined Procedure must then do three things:

  1. You must file your missed tax returns
  2. You must file the correct international informational returns and reporting forms
  3. You must pay all necessary taxes and penalties.

Taxes are confusing on a normal day. However, after moving to another country, filing for US taxes can get even more complicated. If you find yourself misreporting or altogether forgetting to file taxes in the US, you can find yourself becoming delinquent, which can lead to some scary consequences.

However, the IRS knows that it is confusing and is willing to help. As long as you are willing to pay back the taxes you have forgotten to report, and have simply not paid due to a misunderstanding, then you are eligible for the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedure. This will allow you to report taxes for all of the years you have previously forgotten to file, and catch you back up in your taxes all at once.

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