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Form 2555 CPA discuses use of Form 2350 to Extend an Expat Tax Return

Form 2555 CPA discusses extending expat tax returns with Form 2350

Gary Bode, CPA: deadlines and extensions are important in expat tax work. For a free initial phone consult, please call (910) 399-2705.

I think most Form 2555 CPAs run into client frustration when there’s a large refund due, but the client can’t file the tax return until the end of the physical presence test period. The IRS looks at the physical presence period test as satisfied, when it is actually satisfied. If that date is after April 17th (in 2012) you must rely on the automatic two month extension, and Form 2350, a special type of type of tax extension used with Form 2555.

When do you file Form 2350?

We file Form 2350 on or before April 17th. But I’ve been criticized by other Form 2555 CPAs for my answer. Why? Because of the two month automatic extension available. Most expats filing Form 2555 have refunds coming. While we understand Form 2555 filers can get an automatic additional two months, we just like to lock it down tight as soon as possible. You’re not punished for filing Form 2350 early.

What about the State extension?

Make sure you or your Form 2555 CPA handle the State extension properly if it’s required. For example, we get Form 2555 clients from across the country. When we don’t know the State requirement, we look it up online, or, call their Depart of Revenue.

Form 2350 doesn’t extend the time to pay any tax due

With any US tax return extension, the tax is due on the return’s filing date. The extension, including Form 2350, only extends the time to provide the return, not pay the tax. So, expats face a potential trap here. Best to do a rough return preparation before the deadline to help determine how much tax to pay with Form 2350.

We’re an expat tax firm a virtual office to accommodate long distance clients. Of course, we handle expat’s domestic tax preparation needs too. We prepare:

  • Form 2555
  • Form 5471
  • FBAR
  • Form 1116
  • OVDI cases.

For a free initial phone consult, please call (910) 399-2705.


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