What if you did not file US tax returns while living abroad?

Many US citizens living abroad are not aware that irrespective whether they are living and working in Europe, an US tax filing obligation exists:

  • if the gross income exceeds the filing threshold (which in 2010 is US$ 9,350 for single filers)
  • the existence of a tax treaty does not release from this filing obligation
  • Please note: US law is unique in this respect! Expatriates from other countries might tell you that they do not have any home country filing obligations after giving up their residency - however, this story is not true for US citizens.

Consequences of Non- Filing:

  • Non filers may be penalized by a wide range of civil and criminal sanctions
  • The IRS may file a substitute return without consideration of foreign tax credits and other deductions
  • The statute of limitations on tax collections will never run out, so the IRS may file substitute returns even for decades
  • Failure to file penalty: If US taxes are due, a delay in filing will result in a "failure to file" penalty and interest charges
  • Such penalties increase monthly and may even exceed the tax liability
  • In a refund situation, the law provides most taxpayers with a 3 years window for claiming the refund; after which refunds are lost forever

Attention: The IRS continues to identify people who have a filing requirement but have failed to file a return.

  • Both the IRS and the foreign taxing authorities can exchange information on their citizens living in the other country
  • The IRS has developed sophisticated means of catching non- filers in this computer age
  • For example, every time an American renews a passport, the State Department obtains his or her Social Security number and reports it to the Internal Revenue Service


We assist Non- filers to re-enter the system smoothly

It is safe and easy with a strong partner who has professional expertise and long term experience.

  • We helped a lot of our clients who were non-filers to become compliant
  • re-entering the system is the best thing for each non- filer to do!
  • not a single one of our clients has EVER been sent to jail, nor has any been threatened with criminal prosecution
  • A tax professional will help steer each individual case toward a peaceful resolution

Please see also the new IRS Compliance Procedure for delinquent US taxpayers abroad.


Let a professional CPA with more than 10 years experience in expatriate taxation straighten things out.