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Income from Abroad is Taxable

Many United States (U.S.) citizens and resident aliens receive income from foreign sources. There have been recent reports about the interest of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in taxpayers with accounts in Liechtenstein. The interest of the IRS, however, extends beyond accounts in Liechtenstein to accounts anywhere in the world. Consequently, the IRS reminds you to report your worldwide income on your U.S. tax return.

If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, you must report income from all sources within and outside of the U.S. This is true whether or not you receive a Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement,  a Form 1099 (Information Return) or the foreign equivalents.    See Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income for more information.

Additionally, if you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, the rules for filing income, estate and gift tax returns and for paying estimated tax are generally the same whether you are living in the U.S. or abroad.

Hiding Income Offshore

Not reporting income from foreign sources may be a crime.  The IRS and its international partners are pursuing those who hide income or assets offshore to evade taxes. Specially trained IRS examiners focus on aggressive international tax planning, including the abusive use of entities and structures established in foreign jurisdictions.  The goal is to ensure U.S. citizens and residents are accurately reporting their income and paying the correct tax. 

Foreign Financial Accounts

In addition to reporting your worldwide income, you must also report on your U.S. tax return whether you have any foreign bank or investment accounts.  The Bank Secrecy Act requires you to file a Form TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), if:

  • You have financial interest in, signature authority, or other authority over one or more accounts in a foreign country, and
  • The aggregate value of all foreign financial accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year.

More information on foreign financial account reporting requirements is in News Release FS-2007-15, Foreign Financial Accounts Reporting Requirements and Publication 4261, Do You have a Foreign Financial Account?

Consequences for Evading Taxes on Foreign Source Income

You will face serious consequences if the IRS finds you have unreported income or undisclosed foreign financial accounts.  These consequences can include not only the additional taxes, but also substantial penalties, interest, fines and even imprisonment.

Reporting Promoters of Off-Shore Tax Avoidance Schemes

The IRS encourages you to report promoters of off-shore tax avoidance schemes.  Whistleblowers who provide allegations of fraud to the IRS may be eligible for a reward by filing Form 211, Application for Award for Original Information, and following the procedures outlined in Notice 2008-4, Claims Submitted to the IRS Whistleblower Office under Section 7623.

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 29-Nov-2013

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File taxes online Download the free IRS2Go app from the iTunes app store or from Google Play. File taxes online Call to locate the nearest volunteer help site, 1-800-906-9887 or you can use the VITA Locator Tool on IRS. File taxes online gov, or download the IRS2Go app. File taxes online Low-to-moderate income, elderly, people with disabilities, and limited English proficient taxpayers can get free help with their tax return from the nationwide Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. File taxes online The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program helps taxpayers age 60 and older with their tax returns. File taxes online Most VITA and TCE sites offer free electronic filing. File taxes online Some VITA and TCE sites provide IRS-certified volunteers who can help prepare your tax return. File taxes online Through the TCE program, AARP offers the Tax-Aide counseling program; call 1-888-227-7669 to find the nearest Tax-Aide location. File taxes online Call the automated Where's My Refund? information hotline to check the status of your 2013 refund 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-829-1954. File taxes online If you e-file, you can start checking on the status of your return within 24 hours after the IRS receives your tax return or 4 weeks after you've mailed a paper return. File taxes online The IRS issues more than 9 out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. File taxes online Where's My Refund? will give you a personalized refund date as soon as the IRS processes your tax return and approves your refund. File taxes online Before you call this automated hotline, have your 2013 tax return handy so you can enter your social security number, your filing status, and the exact whole dollar amount of your refund. File taxes online The IRS updates Where's My Refund? every 24 hours, usually overnight, so you only need to check once a day. File taxes online Note, the above information is for our automated hotline. File taxes online Our live phone and walk-in assistors can research the status of your refund only if it's been 21 days or more since you filed electronically or more than 6 weeks since you mailed your paper return. File taxes online Call the Amended Return Hotline, 1-866-464-2050, to check the status of your amended return. File taxes online You can generally expect your amended return to be processed up to 12 weeks from the date we receive it. File taxes online It can take up to 3 weeks from the date you mailed it to show up in our system. File taxes online Call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676) to order current-year forms, instructions, publications, and prior-year forms and instructions (limited to 5 years). File taxes online You should receive your order within 10 business days. File taxes online Call TeleTax, 1-800-829-4477, to listen to pre-recorded messages covering general and business tax information. File taxes online If, between January and April 15, you still have questions about the Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ (like filing requirements, dependents, credits, Schedule D, pensions and IRAs or self-employment taxes), call 1-800-829-1040. File taxes online Call using TTY/TDD equipment, 1-800-829-4059 to ask tax questions or order forms and publications. File taxes online The TTY/TDD telephone number is for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability. File taxes online These individuals can also contact the IRS through relay services such as the Federal Relay Service. File taxes online Walk-in. File taxes online   You can find a selection of forms, publications and services — in-person. File taxes online Products. File taxes online You can walk in to some post offices, libraries, and IRS offices to pick up certain forms, instructions, and publications. File taxes online Some IRS offices, libraries, and city and county government offices have a collection of products available to photocopy from reproducible proofs. File taxes online Services. File taxes online You can walk in to your local TAC for face-to-face tax help. File taxes online An employee can answer questions about your tax account or help you set up a payment plan. File taxes online Before visiting, use the Office Locator tool on IRS. File taxes online gov, or choose the Contact Us option on the IRS2Go app and search Local Offices for days and hours of operation, and services provided. File taxes online Mail. File taxes online   You can send your order for forms, instructions, and publications to the address below. File taxes online You should receive a response within 10 business days after your request is received. File taxes online Internal Revenue Service 1201 N. File taxes online Mitsubishi Motorway Bloomington, IL 61705-6613    The Taxpayer Advocate Service Is Here to Help You. File taxes online The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is your voice at the IRS. File taxes online Our job is to ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly and that you know and understand your rights. File taxes online   What can TAS do for you? We can offer you free help with IRS problems that you can't resolve on your own. File taxes online We know this process can be confusing, but the worst thing you can do is nothing at all! TAS can help if you can't resolve your tax problem and: Your problem is causing financial difficulties for you, your family, or your business. File taxes online You face (or your business is facing) an immediate threat of adverse action. File taxes online You've tried repeatedly to contact the IRS but no one has responded, or the IRS hasn't responded by the date promised. File taxes online   If you qualify for our help, you'll be assigned to one advocate who'll be with you at every turn and will do everything possible to resolve your problem. File taxes online Here's why we can help: TAS is an independent organization within the IRS. File taxes online Our advocates know how to work with the IRS. File taxes online Our services are free and tailored to meet your needs. File taxes online We have offices in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. File taxes online   How can you reach us? If you think TAS can help you, call your local advocate, whose number is in your local directory and at Taxpayer Advocate, or call us toll-free at 1-877-777-4778. File taxes online   How else does TAS help taxpayers?  TAS also works to resolve large-scale, systemic problems that affect many taxpayers. File taxes online If you know of one of these broad issues, please report it to us through our Systemic Advocacy Management System. File taxes online Low Income Taxpayer Clinics Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) serve individuals whose income is below a certain level and need to resolve tax problems such as audits, appeals and tax collection disputes. File taxes online Some clinics can provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language. File taxes online Visit Taxpayer Advocate or see IRS Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List. File taxes online Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications