My 10-year US passport will expire March 09, 2016. I learned from an American friend here in Japan about the IRS this year going after people who have not paid their US federal income taxes. I was unaware of having to pay any taxes.
I arrived in Japan in September 2006 as a graduate student to pursue research for one year. Since 2007, I have been an English teacher. I asked Berlitz, my first company, and American expat coworkers what I should do about US income taxes. They said I would not have to pay any due to our low income. They said nothing about not having to file.
Now I find out I should have been filing all along. I came across the following after researching on Google.
It appears that I am not liable. The most I made in one year is about ￥3.5 million when the exchange rate of ￥133, so arouns $26,000.
According to the first paragraph in the above link, I do not have to file.
"You are not legally required to do so if you don’t owe U.S. taxes, but it’s an important preventative measure as there is a Statute of Limitations on tax disputes."
However, there is a new law and some sites say I have to file even if I do not owe taxes. I may be penalized for not filing since the US government has been filing for me. On top of that, I may owe penalties and interest.
Any help with a clear answer would be appreciated. I do want my passport to be renewed.
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