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Expat Tax Deadlines: There's More Than Just Your Tax Return Due Date!

Updated - May 2022

As an American living in Germany, keeping track of tax deadlines and extensions isn't as easy as simply remembering the US's famous April 15th deadline. Firstly, you'll need to keep track of deadlines in both the US and Germany. Plus, as an expat, you'll likely need to file additional forms than you would in the United States—introducing even more due dates. To make sure you stay on schedule, be sure to add these US expat tax deadlines to your calendar this year!

Please note, if a deadline falls on a weekend or legal holiday, the due date is moved to the next business day.

First Things First: When Are Expat Tax Returns Due?

Any US citizen who is living abroad on Tax Day receives an automatic two-month extension. Tax Day is typically April 15, but the IRS has changed the deadline to April 18 for Americans filing in 2022.
This means that if you are living overseas on April 18, your expat tax return will be due on June 15.

If you need more time, you can also file an additional extension request, which would push the due date back to October 17. And in extreme cases, you can even request an extension to December 15.

However, you should know that an extension to file is not an extension to pay. Any taxes you owe will still be due on Tax Day. If you don’t pay on time, interest will begin accruing after April 18.

Don't know how much you may owe and not ready to file? No problem! You can use Form 1040-ES to determine your estimated amount due and submit a payment based on that amount.

Don't Forget State Taxes

Though not applicable to all expats, if you lived in certain states prior to your move abroad, you may need to file a state tax return in addition to your expat taxes. You'll want to check on the filing requirements in the state where you last lived to see if you have a filing obligation.

Some states follow the federal filing deadline of April 18, but many others have their own rules. It's important to stay on top of your state filing obligations to avoid missing a deadline!

FBAR Deadline

Thankfully, the FBAR due date falls in line with the US tax deadline, which makes this expat filing requirement easier to keep track of. The form must be filed electronically by April 18. If you miss this deadline, you can receive an automatic extension to October 17.

Expat Tax Filing Extensions

If you need more time to file your US tax return, you can request an extension via Form 4868, which will postpone the due date until October 17.

If you recently moved to Germany and need more time to qualify for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, you can file for an extension using Form 2350.

If an American living in Germany has extenuating circumstances and needs an additional extension, you can write a letter to the IRS to request an extra two-month delay to December 15. However, this extension is not guaranteed and should only be used if absolutely necessary.

Due Dates for Estimated Tax Payments

Self-employed Americans living in Germany—including expat freelancers and overseas contractors—will need to make estimated payments if they expect to owe $1,000 or more for the current tax year. These estimated tax payments are due quarterly:

Payment Period Estimated Payment Due Date
January 1 – March 31 April 18, 2022
April 1 – May 31 June 15, 2022
June 1 – August 31 September 15, 2022
September 1 – December 31 January 15, 2023

Where to Begin

If you haven't already begun preparing your expat taxes, now is the time to do so! You should start by gathering important documents and other tax information. You'll need these details whether you plan to file your own taxes or work with a tax professional. As you get started, you may find this list of documents needed for tax preparation helpful to ensure you have everything you need to hit the deadlines!

This post was written by David McKeegan, co-founder of Greenback Expat Tax Services. Greenback specializes in the preparation of US expat taxes for Americans living abroad. Greenback offers straightforward pricing, a simple, hassle-free process, and CPAs and IRS Enrolled Agents who have extensive experience in the field of expat tax preparation. For more information about FBAR, expat taxes or Greenback, please visit greenbacktaxservices.com.