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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

Because I was not in the US during the tax filing deadline, my understanding is that I got an automatic 2 month extension. But how do IRS and California state tax board know that I was not in the US? I am using H&R Block to do my tax, but it doesn't seem like I can include a statement regarding the filing extension. I am a bit concerned...
 

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You get a 2 month extension to file (not to pay), but it's not solely because you were "not in the U.S." Refer to IRS Publication 54. To qualify for the extension both your tax home and your abode must have been outside the United States and Puerto Rico on the regular filing deadline (April 15). You cannot hop on a plane to, say, the Bahamas on April 14 and get an extension -- that doesn't work. Physical absence from the United States is not actually how the requirement is written. (Technically you can be physically present in the United States on April 15 and still qualify for the June 15 filing deadline.)

H&R Block should have no problem attaching a statement as described in IRS Publication 54. Simply refer them to that publication and its instructions, located on page 4 of that publication in the 2014 edition. If the tax preparer you're working with doesn't know how to do this, ask for his/her manager. Per Publication 54 you can further extend your filing deadline to October 15 if:

1. You qualify for the June 15 extension;
2. You file IRS Form 4868 by June 15.

I recommend that since you still seem to be struggling with getting your filing done via H&R Block, and there's only one week left to the June 15th filing deadline (as I write this).

I assume California has similar rules, but you'd have to check those separately since it's a separate tax system.
 

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Just adding to BBC's comments a bit: Be careful because California tax law may or may not recognize the extension of time to file, and may or may not recognize the same accommodations as Federal Tax Law does on income earned while overseas.

When you say you were abroad during the April 15th filing deadline, do you mean traveling or were you actually resident overseas? It used to be that you could get the extension just by being outside the country on the 15th, but I believe they have changed the rule on that.

Safest thing would be to file form 4868 to claim an extension. The details are here: Can’t File By April 15? Use Free File to Get a Six-Month Extension; E-Pay and Payment Agreement Options Available to People Who Owe Tax (and you can file for an extension whether or not you live overseas).
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
"When you say you were abroad during the April 15th filing deadline, do you mean traveling or were you actually resident overseas? It used to be that you could get the extension just by being outside the country on the 15th, but I believe they have changed the rule on that.
"

This is the tricky thing. I had a full time job in the UK, with a UK employer, starting September 2014. The initial plan was that I would be staying in the UK indefinitely. So On April 15th, I was in the UK working full-time. But because of some family circumstance, I decided to move back. I found a new job and moved back a few days ago.

I won't qualify as a non-resident of US whether I use the physical presence test or the bona fide test because I simply wasn't in the UK long enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
.....Simply refer them to that publication and its instructions, located on page 4 of that publication in the 2014 edition. If the tax preparer you're working with doesn't know how to do this, ask for his/her manager. Per Publication 54 you can further extend your filing deadline to October 15 if:

1. You qualify for the June 15 extension;
2. You file IRS Form 4868 by June 15.
Page 4 of Publication 54 says that one qualification is "you are living outside the United states and Puerto Rico and your main place of business or post of duty is outside the United States or Puerto Rico". Since on April 15, I was working full-time in the UK, I would be able to get an automatic filing extension, right?
 

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No, Publication 54 says exactly what it says: your tax home and abode must have been outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico on April 15th to qualify for the two month extension.

Ordinarily holding a full-time job outside the United States and being physically outside the United States means that your tax home and abode were also outside the United States, especially if that job was of indefinite term and not intended to be temporary. I leave it to you to decide whether you qualify since you know your own situation.

So how does the IRS know if you qualify? You tell them using that statement Publication 54 describes...under the same force of law (and associated penalties, if applicable) as every other representation you make in your tax filing.

It seems Bev and I agree you ought to file IRS Form 4868 to attempt to get an extension to file (but not to pay) until October 15. It seems only prudent at this late date. H&R Block certainly should be able to handle 4868 for you.
 

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Put it this way, there's no penalty for filing the extension, even if you do get your return completed and in the mail by June 15th. And that way, you're in the clear as long as you get things sorted out within the next few months. (Just don't put off filing your return too long. It is a major relief to have it out of the way.)
Cheers,
Bev
 
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