Military Taxes: Doing Taxes Overseas


If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien living abroad the rules for filing income, estate, and gift tax returns and paying estimated tax are generally the same as if you were living in the United States. Your worldwide income is subject to U.S. income tax, regardless of where you reside. Tax help is available for you as well.

When to File

If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien residing overseas, or are in the military on duty outside the U.S., on the regular due date of your return, you are allowed an automatic 2-month extension to file your return and pay any amount due without requesting an extension. For a calendar year return, the automatic 2-month extension is to June 15.

If you are unable to file your return by the automatic 2-month extension date, you can request an additional extension to October 15 by filing Form 4868 before the automatic 2-month extension date. However, any tax due payments made after June 15 will be subject to both interest charges and failure to pay penalties.

Where to File

Most taxpayers can electronically file their tax return for free using freefile from the IRS. You can also purchase commercial software that helps you complete and file your taxes. 

Taxpayer Identification Number

Each taxpayer who files, or is claimed as a dependent on, a U.S. tax return will need a social security number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). To obtain a SSN, use form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. To get form SS-5, or to find out if you are eligible for a social security card, contact a Social Security Office or visit Social Security International Operations. If you, or your spouse, are not eligible for a SSN, you can obtain an ITIN by filing form W-7 along with appropriate documentation.

Exchange Rates

The IRS has no official exchange rate. Generally, it accepts any posted exchange rate that is used consistently.

You must report your earnings in dollars on your return. If you receive all or part of your income or pay some or all of your expenses in foreign currency, you must translate the foreign currency into U.S. dollars.

The IRS has no official exchange rate. Generally, it accepts any posted exchange rate that is used consistently. Taxpayers generally use the yearly average exchange rate to report foreign-earned income that was received regularly throughout the year. However, if you had foreign transactions on specific days, you may also use the exchange rates for those days. More information, including links to exchange rate calculators may be found on the IRS website.

How to Get Tax Help

The IRS Office in Philadelphia provides international tax assistance. This office is open Monday - Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Eastern time and can be contacted at:

  • Phone: 267-941-1000

  • Mail: Internal Revenue Service
    International Accounts
    Philadelphia, Pa 19255-0725

Help with Unresolved Tax Problems

If you are experiencing a tax problem that is causing you economic harm or has not been resolved through normal channels, you can contact the IRS Taxpayer Advocate at

  • 787-522-8601 - English
  • 787-522-8600 - Spanish

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