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Hello everybody!

My wife is an American citizen who has lived her entire adult life in France. She recently discovered that she had to fill out tax returns and FBARs in the United States. I am her unpaid tax preparer. We plan to file a streamlined foreign offshore procedure before April 15.

I was hoping not to owe the IRS anything, but after doing all the calculations, my wife seems to owe about $10.

The problem is that she only has bank accounts in France and the instructions for the Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedure say that all documents and payments must be sent in paper form (electronic submissions are not accepted).

We don’t know what to do… Any help?

Thanks so much!
Carlos
 

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Check with your bank. In some cases you can just write the check and clearly make it for USD. You will be charged appropriately when the check is cashed. If that is not possible, your bank may have other suggestions.
 

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Just a small caveat here: if you read the fine print on payment with a check, payment must be in US $ on a check drawn on a US bank. For overseas payments, your options really do seem to be only credit card https://www.irs.gov/payments/pay-your-taxes-by-debit-or-credit-card or wire transfer of some sort. Both options are pretty costly, especially for a $10 payment.

Honestly, what I would do is to fiddle the numbers on the forms to get the amount due down to $0. They are NOT going to bother checking for a $10 payment and you can probably adjust it away by juggling the exchange rates a bit.

You may also want to consider carefully just why your wife "needs to" fess up to non-filing in the past. Unless she has financial assets in the US that could potentially be seized, or you are planning on moving to the US in the near future and she has to show prior years' tax returns to sponsor your visa, I'd just let it lie.
 

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Just a small caveat here: if you read the fine print on payment with a check, payment must be in US $ on a check drawn on a US bank. For overseas payments, your options really do seem to be only credit card...
Excellent point about the check. I had never noticed that requirement while in the US and since moving to France, we have been paying through our U.S. bank's on-line bill-pay system -- we still maintain a small US account.

While the CC option is expensive on a percentage basis, the actual fee for a USD10 payment would be less than a (not very good) coffee in Paris. Also, note that at least one vendor on the list you noted sets a maximum fee of USD3.95 on payments over USD1000.

There is also another option, which we switched to this year, Foreign Electronic Payments. While this option will address the problem at hand, it is also the most costly option. Depending on the bank, costs could be as high as 4 or 5 times the USD10 debt.
 
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