1Do I need to file a tax return since my income is only from Switzerland?

Yes, as long as your 2015 income was over $10,300 ($11,850 65 or older) for single tax payers and $20,600 ($21,850 one spouse >65; $23,100 both spouses >65) for married filing jointly. If your tax filing status is married filing separately the income threshold is $4,000. If you are a US citizen or resident alien, the rules for filing income, estate and gift tax returns and paying estimated tax are generally the same whether you are in the United States or abroad.

Your worldwide income is subject to US income tax, regardless of where you reside. However, there are special benefits (foreign earned income exclusion, foreign tax credit) that US citizens and resident aliens abroad can take advantage of as long as certain requirements are met.

2What is the due date of the tax return since I live abroad?

To use the automatic extension, you must attach a statement to your return explaining why you qualified (living and working abroad or in military or naval service) for the extension.

October 15 – If you are unable to file your return by June 15 (or don’t meet certain requirements for the foreign earned income exclusion), you can request an additional extension by filing form 4868 before June 15.

Please note that any tax payments due made after June 15 will be subject to both interest charges and failure to pay penalties.

3Is it true that non-cash employer provided amounts (housing, food, automobiles, etc) are taxable?

  • Lodging – The fair market value should be included unless the employee is required to accept such lodging on the business premises of his employer as a condition of employment Meals – The fair market value should be  included unless the meals are furnished on the business premises and for the convenience of the employer.
  • Automobiles – The fair market value (based on one of the 3 automobile valuation rules as published by the IRS) should be included unless the vehicle is used exclusively for business use and substantiation requirements are met.

If an employer-provided vehicle is used for both business and personal purposes, substantiated business use is not taxable to the employee. Personal use is taxable to the employee as wages.

Personal use includes commuting between residence and work station, vacation use, weekend use and use by spouse or dependents.

4How are moving expenses treated?

If you moved to a new home because of your job or business, you may be able to deduct the expenses of your move. To be deductible, the moving expenses must have been paid or incurred in connection with starting work at a new job location. When your new place of work is in a foreign country, your moving expenses are directly connected with the income earned in that foreign country.

If all or part of the income that you earn at the new location is excluded under the  foreign earned income exclusion or the housing exclusion, the part of your moving expense that is allocable to the excluded income is not deductible.