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us expat tax guide – france

What is the IRS Streamlined Offshore Filing Procedure?

The IRS Streamlined Offshore Filing Procedure helps Americans living abroad, such as in France, who may not have realized they needed to file US tax returns. This program is especially useful for those who were either born in the US or acquired citizenship through their parents and have spent little to no time living in the US.

How does the Streamlined Procedure work?

The Streamlined Procedure involves filing the last three years of federal tax returns and the last six years of FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Reports). It also requires submitting an offshore certification statement that explains why previous filings were not completed, and affirming that all future tax returns will be filed. 

This program protects individuals from penalties on unpaid taxes and FBAR violations, though a small amount of interest may still be charged on any taxes owed. Read more about the Streamlined Offshore Filing Procedure here: (

Who benefits from the Streamlined Procedure?

This program is beneficial for anyone who needs it, but mainly “accidental Americans,” who may have US citizenship but have lived most of their lives outside the US, like those born to American parents in France or those who left the US at a young age.

What if taxes are owed under the Streamlined Procedure?

If taxes are due when using the Streamlined Procedure, the individual will only need to pay a small amount of interest on the owed taxes. The major benefit is the waiver of penalties, which can be quite impactful. Additionally, many individuals may not owe any taxes due to foreign tax credits, which allow taxes paid in France to offset potential US tax liabilities.

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