American citizens must report their worldwide income on their federal income tax returns. Living abroad or earning income outside the United States does not relieve a U.S. Citizen of the responsibility for filing a tax return. However, U.S. citizens living and/or working abroad may be entitled to various deductions, exclusions and credits.
For more information on U.S. tax issues, technical tax questions and individual IRS forms please consult the Internal Revenue Service web page.
The Internal Revenue Service, Philadelphia Service Center, provides taxpayer assistance for Benin. The Service Center can provide tax forms and publications, can help you with account problems and can assist with the preparation of current and prior year tax returns. You can reach the office at the following address:
Internal Revenue Service
11601 Roosevelt Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19154
Ph: (215) 516-2000
Fax: (215) 516-2555
Hours of operation are from 6am-2am Eastern Standard Time. The Philadelphia Service Center services all overseas filers, including military personnel stationed abroad.
The Consular Section in Cotonou cannot answer tax-related questions. All questions should be addressed directly to the IRS at, http://www.irs.gov/
Information on filing state taxes is available by searching the home page of your respective state.
Frequently Asked Questions
When am I required to file my tax return?
- U.S. Citizens 15 April
- U.S. Citizens living overseas* 15 June - Please attach form 4868 to your tax return explaining your residence outside of the U.S.
- Non-resident Aliens with U.S. wage income 15 April
- Non-resident Aliens with no U.S. wage income 15 June - additional extensions are available by filing form 4868 for extensions
I am a U.S. Citizen living overseas, do I need to file a U.S. tax return?
Yes, most U.S. Citizens must report their worldwide income on their U.S. tax return (minimum income levels apply as determined by filing status). This also applies to those people who are self-employed and earn a net-profit of US$400 or more as they are subject to social security and medical taxes. In many instances, you will qualify to claim an exclusion of up to US$70,000 for your foreign earned income; however, you must file a return to claim the exclusion. You also may be entitled to a credit for taxes paid to a foreign government, but you must file a return to claim this credit.
What if my return is prepared by a third party?
New regulations giving taxpayers greater control over their personal tax return information (Internal Revenue Code Section 7216) became effective January 1, 2009. These regulations limit tax return preparers' use and disclosure of information obtained during the return preparation process to activities directly related to the preparation of the return.
The regulations, along with supplemental Revenue Procedure 2008-35 (http://www.irs.gov/irb/2008-29_IRB/ar13.html), contain the updated rules and requirements relating to disclosure and use of tax return information. These regulations apply to paid and volunteer preparers and the administrative staff that supports them. Failure to comply may result in criminal or civil penalties. See the IRC 7216 http://www.irs.gov/efile/article/0,,id=188390,00.html information page on http://www.irs.gov/ for more details.
What if I haven't filed tax returns recently?
You are required to file a tax return for any year that your income exceeds minimum filing levels. Contact the IRS to bring your accounts up to date. If you owe back taxes and are unable to pay in full, the IRS offers installment payment arrangements and considers offers-in-compromise to satisfy a tax liability. Taxpayers who come forward, make a true voluntary disclosure, and file an accurate return, will not be prosecuted. For more information or filing assistance, please contact the IRS Philadelphia Service Center.
What if I suspect fraud, waste, or abuse in Federal Tax Administration?
Please see the following feature on travel.state.gov on Combating Fraud, Waste and Abuse in Federal Tax Administration.