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THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE

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1040 Abroad

The IRS’ Taxpayer First Act Report outlines some of the issues facing US taxpayers living abroad

Overseas Taxpayer Issues Highlighted in 2021 IRS Report
Published on January 15, 2021

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The IRS' annual Taxpayer First Act report has been sent to Congress, and this year contains details of challenges faced by overseas taxpayers, including testimony and expert insights from two overseas organizations, ACA and AARO.

In a section titled 'Underserved Communities', the IRS addresses a range of problems faced by Americans living overseas, including technological issues relating to having a non-US address, a non-US telephone number, and non-US bank accounts. This section also contains explanations by the IRS on how they are responding to these difficulties.

Both ACA (American Citizens Abroad) and AARO (The Association of Americans Resident Overseas) submitted evidence to the group charged with creating the report, the Taxpayer First Act Office (TFAO). Evidence submitted to TFAO contained proposals on how to make IRS systems more accessible to overseas Americans, with suggestions including virtual calls with IRS officials, virtual discussion forums for taxpayers and promoting electronic filing.

In their news about the report, AARO's Laura Snyder wrote that "It is important to note that for the time being these are only proposals ... The report stresses that it is an 'aspirational vision' of how the IRS can be re-imagined and makes clear that implementation will require that Congress authorize 'significant, multi-year fundin' ... Now the ball lies in Congress's court to authorize the necessary funding."

Responding to the proposals, ACA commented that "these are just starting points and the IRS is committed to doing more and ACA will continue to advise the IRS on further enhancements and improvements, in particular those related to improved outreach so that international taxpayers can get answers to their filing questions and easily access information."

To see the full report, go to www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p5426.pdf.

The ACA's news item on the report can be found at www.americansabroad.org. AARO's news item can be found at www.aaro.org.

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