Federal Benefits and Obligations Abroad
Non-U.S. citizens who have taxable income – such as international students and scholars who may be working or receiving scholarship funds – may be required to file a U.S. tax return. See IRS news release.
Withholding agents – such as payroll professionals or universities – can help speed refunds to non-U.S. citizen taxpayers by accurately filing Form 1042. Read this IRS Fact Sheet for more information.
I. Federal Benefits
If you are planning to retire or are already residing abroad and receiving federal benefits from:
- The Social Security Administration
- The Department of Veteran Affairs
- The Office of Personnel Management
- The Department of Labor
- The Railroad Retirement Board,
The following information should be of interest.
U.S. embassies and consulates can assist you in applying for claims, processing name and address changes, applying for Social Security cards and other services. You should also be able to receive many of other services by accessing the appropriate federal agency’s website.
We encourage you to use the direct deposit payment if it is available in your country of residence.
If you are residing overseas and are interested, you can apply for SSA retirement benefits and disability benefits. The IRS website also has the form to apply for a Social Security Card for yourself or your children.
If you are 65 or older, or disabled and get Medicare health insurance, please note that Medicare generally does not cover health services you get outside the United States. The hospital insurance part of Medicare is available to you if you return to the United States.
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)
For general questions about the Act, see the dedicated ACA website operated by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The HHS website includes a link to information about whether U.S. citizens residing abroad are subject to ACA. For tax issues related to ACA, see the ACA page within the IRS website.
If you are a veteran you can apply for benefits from overseas.
Visit the Selective Service website for current brochures and guidance. If you are overseas and need to register for the selective service, you can do so by accessing this online registration. The nearest U.S. embassy or consulate can assist you when the online registration is not available in your country.
If you are a U.S. citizen or a Legal Permanent Resident Alien you are responsible for filing U.S. federal income tax returns while living overseas. You will find useful information on the IRS website like frequently asked questions on taxes or on how to apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). If you are transporting currency or monetary instruments abroad, or back to the United States, you will need to file the appropriate report. If you are a U.S. government employee working overseas, you cannot claim the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. For additional information, visit the IRS website under U.S. government civilian employees stationed abroad.
Preparing for Tax Season
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) provisions of the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act of 2010 (HIRE Act) were enacted on March 18, 2010, in order to address concerns with tax evasion by U.S. citizens using offshore accounts.
FATCA generally requires a foreign financial institution (FFI) to enter into an agreement with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to report information about certain accounts held by U.S. persons or foreign entities owned by U.S. persons.
The IRS website was redesigned in 2013 to help individuals, financial institutions and foreign governments comply with the Foreign Account Tax Compliant Act. The Department of Treasury FATCA website provides more information.
Combating Fraud, Waste, and Abuse in Federal Tax Administration
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is responsible for oversight of IRS activities and for maintaining integrity in the U.S. Federal tax system. Fraud, waste, and abuse in Federal tax administration are unfair to all U.S. taxpayers and can take a variety of forms.
Please report any information that you may have related to potential fraud, waste, and abuse to the TIGTA hotline.