US citizen can't e-file abroad???

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US citizen can't e-file abroad???


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Old 15th April 2020, 05:09 PM
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Angry US citizen can't e-file abroad???

Hi all

I'm really struggling here. I'm a dual US/UK citizen living and earning in the UK. I've never lived or earnt money in the USA. I didn't need to file my taxes last year but have done so in the past. I've always paper filed and used an amazing online step by step guide (which I can no longer use easily anymore as the format of the form has changed quite a bit!).

As the IRS is currently not processing paper forms, I decided to attempt to file online this year. In order to get the stimulus cheque, you must either file if you need to file, or use the other route for non-filers. As I must file, I'm going down that route.

After 3 days of working on my taxes and yelling at my computer, I've finally succesfully filled in the required forms on TaxAct (forms 1040 and 2555). However, when I get to the end and try to submit, I get an error message telling me I am not eligible for e-filing as (essentially) I don't owe any taxes.

So it seems like you need to file your taxes in order to get the stimulus payment. The IRS is only processing e-filed taxes. As an expat who doesn't owe taxes I can't e-file. So good luck to me in getting the stimulus payment.

That seems like a deeply flawed design. Has anyone else run into this problem?

I've tried adding in a dollar of interest income on another form, but as my standard deduction is $12,500, I would need to earn over $12,500 in the USA before I'm taxed. I'm happy to say I owe a dollar here or there, but saying I earn over $12,500 income in the USA when I don't is a bit more of a step than I'm willing to take - even if the end result is that I only pay tax on the excess dollar.

Any ideas?

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Old 15th April 2020, 05:40 PM
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If you're only filing to receive the stimulus cheque, use this form instead:

https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-...ment-info-here

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Old 15th April 2020, 05:55 PM
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Isn't that one for people who don't need to file? It says on that page:

"Who should use Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info to provide additional information to receive the Economic Impact Payment?

Eligible U.S. citizens or permanent residents who:

Had gross income that did not exceed $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples) for 2019
Were not otherwise required to file a federal income tax return for 2019, and didn't plan to"


My income is over $12,200 and I need to file a 2019 tax return (though won't owe US tax) so I don't think I can use that method unfortunately.

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Old 15th April 2020, 07:02 PM
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Depends entirely on your attitude towards US tax compliance, given that the IRS knows nothing about your income beyond what you tell it.


Last edited by Nononymous; 15th April 2020 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 15th April 2020, 08:12 PM
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There is something wrong with the tax prep software you're using if it won't allow you to e-file just because you don't owe anything. Are you trying to use the Free File version of the program? (Some of the software companies have requirements of their own regarding whether or not you can e-file with them.)

Try again, using the "wizard" function for the Free File site to see which providers you are eligible for. It's usually limited to only a few for overseas residents, and there are additional constraints based on age, income or other factors.

You should be able to use the IRS' Free File Fillable forms (ignore their thing about "for those with over $69,000 in income") but if you do that, you need to have some idea what you're doing and the IRS system is kludgy and very difficult to use.

In general, though, you can't e-file if you are filing "married, filing separately" and refuse to include the name and SSN/ITIN for your spouse, even if s/he is an NRA and none of the IRS' business. There are also a couple other technicalities that may preclude you from being able to e-file from overseas.

The fall back position is, as always, just filing on paper and waiting them out.

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Old 15th April 2020, 09:52 PM
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While I haven't used form 2555 in a decade, I have successfully e-filed using TaxAct owing zero US tax. In fact I have only owed US tax one year ever ... and that was the one year I lived in the US.

I don't know whether you are using their download or online product, but I am going to suggest that you have made a mistake, or you are using a version they do not think you are eligible for based on the info you provided.

The one year I had a problem with their software I found that their support was quite responsive and quickly identified the error that I had made. It was all handled over a back and forth of emails and resolved within a couple of days... May well be that given the current trying times they may not be as responsive.

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Old 24th May 2020, 08:26 PM
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Hi,

I'm having exactly the same issue on TaxAct after filling out 1040 and 2555. It gave me the following error message:
"This return does not qualify for e-filing. To qualify for e-filing, your tax return must have at least one of the following included on the return. Taxable Income, Adjustments to Income, Tax Liability, Credits, Other Taxes, or Tax Payments."

It's my first time filing, so I'm sure I must have made a mistake somehow

So if the OP or anyone reading this managed to solve that, please let me know. Reaching out to TaxAct support in parallel and will update with their answer.

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Old 24th May 2020, 10:46 PM
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[Edit] .. I just checked TaxAct Website for you.... if you are using their Free product... it does not support Form 2555. Find another provider or use Free Fillable Forms..

If you using a paid version that supports Form 2555... then read on...

[/edit]


I used to use the TaxAct downloadable product until they stopped allowing payment via foreign credit cards, and I have not used for 2555 for nearly a decade but some high level trouble shooting tips that may help..

First.. if you can preview the forms...

1040 Line 1 - does it capture your foreign wages in USD?

If the answer is no, then you may not have correctly entered your wages. Make sure you have completed their W2 equivalent template for Foreign Employer Compensation.

1040 Line 8a - is it the same as the FEC amount as a negative (most likely shown in parentheses).
Schedule 2 Line 22 - is it the same as 1040 Line 8a (FEC amount as a negative)

If the answer is No, then you have not completed Form 2555 correctly.

If the answer to both those questions is Yes, then you will need to assistance for TaxAct. It may well be that they aren't supporting these types of returns.. in which case you would probably have to revert to another provider, or free-fillable forms if you want to e-file.

Happy to help further, if the answer to those questions was no.


Last edited by Moulard; 24th May 2020 at 10:50 PM.
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Old 25th May 2020, 12:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moulard View Post
[Edit] .. I just checked TaxAct Website for you.... if you are using their Free product... it does not support Form 2555. Find another provider or use Free Fillable Forms..

If you using a paid version that supports Form 2555... then read on...

[/edit]
Hi there,

Thanks so much for the detailed reply first of all!

I am indeed using the free version, but it let me fill out Form 2555 (maybe because I'm a student?). It's also letting me print the completed two forms and submit by mail, so it seems to be specifically an issue with e-filing. I understand that mail submissions won't be processed right now, so I'd definitely prefer to e-file.

Anyway, based on what you said, there indeed seems to be a problem:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moulard View Post
I used to use the TaxAct downloadable product until they stopped allowing payment via foreign credit cards, and I have not used for 2555 for nearly a decade but some high level trouble shooting tips that may help..

First.. if you can preview the forms...

1040 Line 1 - does it capture your foreign wages in USD?

If the answer is no, then you may not have correctly entered your wages. Make sure you have completed their W2 equivalent template for Foreign Employer Compensation.
Yes, that's fine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moulard View Post
1040 Line 8a - is it the same as the FEC amount as a negative (most likely shown in parentheses).
Schedule 2 Line 22 - is it the same as 1040 Line 8a (FEC amount as a negative)

If the answer is No, then you have not completed Form 2555 correctly.
Okay, this might be the issue. It does appear, but in line 7a. And I don't have a schedule 2, only a schedule 1, and the amount appears in line 8 and 9.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moulard View Post
If the answer to both those questions is Yes, then you will need to assistance for TaxAct. It may well be that they aren't supporting these types of returns.. in which case you would probably have to revert to another provider, or free-fillable forms if you want to e-file.

Happy to help further, if the answer to those questions was no.
I did reach out to their support in the meantime, so I'll update what they say. And thank you again!!! This was already really helpful.

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Old 25th May 2020, 01:44 AM
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Whoops I made a couple mistakes as line numbers and schedules...sorry.. I was doing it from memory (and my memory was of the 2018 forms not 2019)... my bad.. I should have double checked

1040 Line 7a (Other Income) not Line 8a - is the one that should be a negative number that flows through from... Schedule 1 line 8 and 9 which flows through from Form 2555

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