This guide is for all Unmarried Americans working abroad for less than ~$95,100 / year.
You have two options:
Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service Center
Austin, TX 73301-0215
Fast Way: Use H&R's Free File program which automates 90% of the process by asking you simple questions.
I used the IRS's Free File Fillable Forms because I could type in the numbers myself instead of being asked questions. Caution: If you screw up, amended forms (1040X) must be mailed in. Don't screw up.
How to Do It
Create an account at Free File Fillable Forms.
- Select Form 1040. Not 1040A, not 1040EZ. Fill out what you can, most of it will be blank. None of the deductions will matter in the end.
Technical Problem: Foreign Address- If you get a “zip code” error when you try to e-file, you may need to use a US address instead (I used my parents).
Line 6a: If you claim yourself as a dependent, put 5950 in Line 40. Your form will be rejected if you do not do this. I left both blank. Don't claim yourself as a dependent, idiot.
Line 21: Write “ 2555-EZ ” on the left box, and your annual income on the right box, in USD. My first year, under the 2 million KRW pay level, the # was about $21,985. Calculation was ~$1,650 USD/month times 13 months (remember we get paid 13 months per year of work). If you are not using Free File Fillable Forms, put the # in parentheses. If using Freefile, it will not let you do so.
Click Do The Math at the bottom, save your work.
2. Add Form 2555EZ-T. Most of it will be auto-completed by Freefile when you finish 1040. Fill out the rest, here is a sample.
- If you've been abroad since January 1st check Bona Fide Resident.
- If you left the US before April, use the Physical Presence Test.
- If you left the US after April, apply for an extension until you have lived outside the US for 330 days.
- Line 2B- Do not put a date in the future, or your form will be rejected. If you haven't lived abroad for 330 days yet, either file later or file for an extension using Form 4868 also available on Freefile. Just click the Add Form button.
Important: 2555EZ can only be used with 1040. It can't be used with 1040A or 1040EZ.
3. Click the e-file button in the top right, follow the instructions.
Since this was my first time filing taxes, I just put 0 for Previous year's AGI, as I was claimed as a dependent.
It's better to use Form 1116 instead of 2555 if you're in a very high-tax country and make like $15,000 a year. This is an advanced maneuver like ass-to-mouth and is retarded for anyone living in South Korea (you will lose money if you do this)