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American Citizen Services

U.S. Tax Information

Message from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Effective Jan. 1, 2013, the IRS implemented clarifying changes to its temporary procedures for issuing ITINs. These changes apply to noncitizens with tax extensions as well as to many foreign students.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office serving all U.S. taxpayers living or working overseas is located in Austin, Texas. This office provides U.S. Federal tax assistance to Americans in Japan, and is also the destination for all returns filed from abroad.

The IRS Home Page, provides a lot of useful information for taxpayers and should be your first stop for tax questions and forms. In particular, visit the IRS's website for U.S. Citizens and Residents Aliens Abroad

One point that all international taxpayers should keep in mind is that the United States taxes its citizens on their worldwide income. Even if you are eligible to exclude a certain amount (or all) of your earned income in a given year, you must file a U.S. tax return in order to claim that exclusion.

Questions about U.S. state taxes and/or Japanese taxes should be directed to the appropriate agencies. Neither the IRS nor the Embassy can advise you or provide forms for U.S. state or Japanese taxes. More information about Japanese tax issues for foreign residents of Japan is available online.

Please choose a topic:

Contacting the IRS

Unfortunately, neither the Embassy in Tokyo nor any of our Consulates in Japan can answer tax-related questions. Please address questions to the I.R.S. directly. Visit the IRS website for further information.

IRS Forms

Visit the IRS website for a list of topics of interest to overseas residents.

IRS Information for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad:

The IRS website has a lot of information that will prove valuable to the overseas residents.

Where to File

Please visit the IRS website for information on where to file.

Where is my Refund?

The IRS web site enables you to check where your refund is. Visit the IRS website to start.

Treasury Reporting Rates Of Exchange - Annual Average Rates

You must express the amounts you report on your U.S. tax return in U.S. dollars. 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. How you do this depends on your functional currency. Your functional currency generally is the U.S. dollar unless you are required to use the currency of a foreign country. An exchange rate is the rate at which one currency may be converted into another, also called rate of exchange of foreign exchange rate or currency exchange rate.

To read more about exchange rates on the IRS web site, please visit the IRS website. The IRS will not post an exchange rate schedule on its website. Instead, you may use the U.S. Treasury rate from Financial Management Service (FMS) or exchange rates listed on the Federal Reserve website.

Federal Reserve Average $/Yen Exchange Rates  (2010-2013)

YEAR YR2013 YR2012 YR2011 YR2010
$/Yen Rates 97.60 79.82 79.70 87.78

 

 

Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs)

Social Security Numbers are only available to American Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs, or “Green Card” holders) and to noncitizens who have permission to work in the U.S. or require an SSN in order to receive certain U.S. federal benefits.

The Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) was created for use as a tax reporting number for those taxpayers who do not qualify for Social Security Numbers. The ITIN is for tax purposes only. This number is not valid as personal identification, and does not imply or in any way provide legal status in the U.S. or entitle holders to work in the U.S. For more information about the purpose, legitimate uses, and application process for the ITIN, please consult "Understanding Your IRS ITIN." (PDF - 3.2MB)

How to Apply for an ITIN (日本語)

Complete the IRS form W-7 (PDF - 74.73kb). All new ITIN applicants should use the January 2012 revision of Form W-7.

Check the instructions (PDF - 163.54kb) for Form W-7(PDF - 74.73kb) for additional filing requirements, such as the need to include original, completed tax returns. Each applicant will have to show a federal tax purpose for seeking an ITIN, either by attaching a federal tax return to Form W-7 or providing documents that support an exception to the requirement to file a return. Exceptions are listed in the Instructions for Form W-7(PDF - 163.54kb).

Processing time for an ITIN is usually four to six weeks.

Electronic Payment Website

To pay your taxes electronically online, please visit the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System website.

Urgent Tax Needs - Taxpayer Advocate Office

The Taxpayer Advocate Office may also provide answers to your urgent tax needs. Visit the IRS website for contact information.

Tax Scams

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service warn taxpayers of an e-mail-based scheme that attempts to trick taxpayers into revealing personal information such as social security numbers, driver's license information and bank and credit card numbers.

In this ploy, unsuspecting consumers receive an e-mail, claiming they are under investigation for tax fraud and are subject to prosecution. The e-mail informs recipients they can "help" the investigation by providing "real" information and directs them to an official-looking web site, "deptreas.org/irs/7634//", where detailed personal information must be provided to dispute the charge.

Identity thieves can use an individual's personal data to take over their financial accounts, run up charges on their credit cards, apply for loans, credit cards or other services in the victim's name and file fraudulent tax returns.

At the request of the IRS and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the Internet service provider that was hosting the web site has shut the site down. The scheme is being investigated by TIGTA, which addresses threats to federal tax administration. The bogus IRS web page and the e-mail in this instance contained several grammatical errors, rendering them immediately suspect. However, new versions of the scam could surface in the future, including more effectively-written text and a different destination web site.

The IRS does not use e-mail to contact taxpayers about issues related to their accounts. Official taxpayer contact usually includes a letter on IRS stationery in an IRS envelope. IRS letters also contain a contact phone number.

Taxpayers who believe they have received suspect communication are encouraged to contact TIGTA. Additional information on identity theft and other fraud may be found on the TIGTA's website.

Japanese Tax

The Embassy and our Consulates do not provide assistance with Japanese taxes.

You can find information in English, as well as many of the necessary forms, at the Japan's National Tax Agency website.

You can also contact the Foreign Section of the Tokyo Regional Tax Bureau at 03-3216-6811.

New Tax Form

  • New IRS Form for Overseas Taxpayers

    Do you have more than $50,000 in foreign financial assets? If so, you might need file the new Form 8938.

    Under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), U.S. taxpayers with specified foreign financial assets that exceed certain thresholds must report those assets to the IRS using Form 8938.

    You can find Form 8938 online here along with the instructions, regulations, and other information to help you determine if you are required to file this form.

More Information

  • Tax Seminar in Tokyo

    In March 2013, an IRS representative visited the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo to hold individual consultations and conduct a tax information seminar. Slides from the seminar presentation are provided here. (PDF 235KB)

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