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Bev, for the online free fillable, you're saying you did the efile for what you could then send the paper forms in the mail? Anyone else recently use an efile that works for people outside of the US, and using the FEIE?
OK, if I understand you correctly, then no - I e-filed with the IRS Free File Fillable thing for 2019. But now that I am retired, I no longer take the FEIE so had no problem with any need to file additional forms. At the time, however, the Free File Fillable forms were really kudgy and I remember having to re-enter information at least half a dozen times before I could get the system to accept my return (and every time it rejected it, the system deleted some of the lines I had filled in). A very frustrating experience.
 

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Costa55 -- If you e-file, there is no need to also submit a paper return. I suspect "double" filing might not yield the best result. In any event e-filing is supposed to get a faster result (refund.) Cheers, 255
 

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Bev, for the online free fillable, you're saying you did the efile for what you could then send the paper forms in the mail? Anyone else recently use an efile that works for people outside of the US, and using the FEIE?
Two things here. First, you can, but you don't want to file two returns. IRS has a bunch of arcane rules on what they do when they receive two returns. And it depends on when each is recieved in terms of the filing deadline. But what you can do, is to e-file an incomplete return and then paper file a 1040-X to submit anything you could not efile.

Second. the current hurdle for expats for efiling is that a number of the providers have introduced two factor authentication (a good thing) but only support US phone numbers (a bad thing) or require a US credit card for payment (a stupid thing). Free Fillable Forms now falls into the "bad thing" category.

I don't normally shill product, but have a look at OLT. Their account creation form makes it look like a US phone number is mandatory but it is not - later in the process you will be able to set up a different means of 2FA. And if your income is such that you can't file for free, they seem to be the cheapest option and as a bonus they support payments by paypal for those without US credit cards.

Their interface is however, how can I put it, ... less refined and polished, than other larger providers, but if you have been paper filing in the past, that probably won't be an issue.

What I cannot tell you is whether they will cope with the NRA spouse... but if they have thought through things enough to even consider folks living without the US (as it is quaintly referred to the the IRC) then you probably have a better chance with them then anyone else. And, if you want to check with them first, their support desk seems to respond to queries in a reasonable time frame.
 
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