Consular office provides the following public services:
- Notorization services can be provided for a fee. Make an appointment.
- Distribute federal benefit payments
- Handle personal estates of deceased U.S. citizens
- Assist with absentee voting and selective service registration
Tax in the U.S.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office has full-time permanent staff in only four (4) U.S. embassies and consulates to provide U.S. Federal tax assistance to Americans living abroad. There is no IRS representative at U.S. Embassy, Accra.
The IRS Home Page has a lot of information available to answer many questions. Go to ‘Individuals’ and then ‘Overseas Taxpayers’ you will find a section of FAQ, which will take you to IRS Publication 54. Many questions of overseas taxpayers can be answered from that source.
For immediate assistance from a taxpayer specialist, you can call, fax or email the International Customer Service Site located in Philadelphia. The Service Site is open Monday through Friday, for 20 hours each day, from 6:00 AM to 2:00 AM, Eastern Standard Time. The customer service representatives there can be contacted as follows:
Tel: 1- 215-516-2000
Fax: 1- 215- 516-2555
E-mail inquiries: http://www.irs.gov/uac
Inquiries regarding individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs) should be made at
Tel: 1- 215 -516-4846
Fax: 1- 215- 516-3271
Note: All inquiries must be in the English language.
Contact the IRS
Taxpayers located outside the U.S. may also contact the IRS by mail at:
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 920
Bensalem, PA 19020
Or you may telephone or FAX the Philadelphia Service Center office at:
- Phone: 215-516-2000 (M-F, 6am-2am EST)
- FAX: 215-516-3256 or 215-516-2555
- FAX for Transcripts of Returns: 215-516-2931/1311/1322
- OnLine: www.irs.gov
- EMail Via www.irs.gov/help
NOTE: Unfortunately, no one at the Consulate who can answer tax-related questions.
New IRS Regulation
Disclosure or Use of Tax Information by Preparers of Returns
Please take note of new regulations giving taxpayers greater control over their personal tax return information. New regulations under Internal Revenue Code Section 7216, Disclosure or Use of Tax Information by Preparers of Returns, 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 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 information page for more details.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are available.
Obtain IRS Forms
Tax forms are downloadable and available from the IRS website. Most forms are also available on CD-ROM as “Publication 1796”. You can order a copy of this CD on-line.
Note: Neither the IRS nor the Consulate can advise you or provide forms for U.S. state or local taxes. Most U.S. state tax forms can be downloaded from the Federation of Tax Administrators website.
Most Commonly Requested IRS Tax Forms
- Form W-4 (PDF 100KB) Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate
- Form W-9 (PDF 104KB) Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification
- Form W-7 (PDF 263KB) Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
- Form 1040 (PDF 303KB) U.S. Individual Income Tax Return
- Inst 1040 (PDF 1.5MB) Instructions for Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return and Schedules A, B, C, D, E, F, J, and
- Form 1040 A (PDF 225KB) U.S. Individual Income Tax Return
- Inst 1040 A (PDF 1.4MB) Instructions for Form 1040-A, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return
- Form 1040 EZ (PDF 143KB)Income Tax Return for Single Filers and Joint Filers With
- Inst 1040 EZ (PDF 2.5MB)Instructions for Form 1040-EZ, Income Tax Return for
Single Filers and Joint Filers With No Dependent
- Form 1040 NR (PDF 831KB)U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return
- Inst 1040 NR (PDF 729KB)Instructions for Form 1040 NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return
- Form 1116 (PDF 94KB)Foreign Tax Credit
- Inst 1116 (PDF 254KB)Instructions for Form 1116, Foreign Tax Credit
- Form 2350 (PDF 176KB)Application for Extension of Time to File U.S. Income tax Return
- Form 2441 (PDF 106KB)Child and Dependent Care Expenses
- Inst 2441 (PDF 156KB)Instructions for Form 2441, Child and Dependent Care Expenses
- Form 2555 (PDF 164KB)Foreign Earned Income
- Inst 2555 (PDF 201KB)Instructions for Form 2555, Foreign Earned Income
- Form 2555 EZ (PDF 147KB) Foreign Earned Income Exclusion
- Inst 2555 EZ (PDF 147KB) Instructions for Form 2555-EZ, Foreign Earned Income Exclusion
- Form 3903 (PDF 94KB) Moving Expenses
- Form 4506-T (PDF 90KB) Request for Transcript of Tax Return
- Form 4852 (PDF 90KB) Substitute for W-2, Wage and Tax Statement
- Form 4868 (PDF 172KB) Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return
- Form 8822 (PDF 86KB) Change of Address
- Pub 970 (PDF 119KB) Tax Benefits for Education
- Pub 1 (PDF 33KB) Your Rights as a Taxpayer
- Pub 54 (PDF 1.5MB) Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad
- Pub 514 (PDF 1.5MB) Foreign Tax Credit for Individuals
- Pub 515 (PDF 1.6MB) Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Corporations
- Pub 516 (PDF 1.1MB) U.S. Government Civilian Employees Stationed Abroad
- Pub 521 (PDF 1.2MB) Moving Expenses
- Pub 535 (PDF 1.5MB) Business Expenses
- Pub 915 (PDF 1.1MB) Social Security Benefits and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefit
Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers
Social Security Numbers are only available to American Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs, or “Green Card” holders). They are not issued to spouses of American Citizens who are not LPRs or foreign students going to college in the U.S.
Instead, 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. ITINs are for tax purposes only. The numbers are not valid as personal identification, and do not imply, or in any way, provide legal status in the U.S. or entitle holders to work in the U.S.
How to Apply for an ITIN
- Complete IRS form W-7 (PDF 262K), available at the Internal Revenue Service website. All new ITIN applicants should use the December 2003 revision of Form W-7.
- Obtain a certified copy of your passport at the Consulate as a notarial service. The cost is US$30.
- Check the instructions with form W-7 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 Form W-7 instructions.
- Mail the completed form, certified copy of your passport and other documents to:
IRS, Philadelphia Service Center
PO Box 447
Bensalem, PA 19020
NOTE: Processing time for an ITIN is four to six weeks.
SS Numbers for American Citizen Children
If you have a child born abroad, you can register him/her and get a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) and apply for a first time passport at the US Embassy, Accra. Learn more about a CRBA and a first time passport. You can also get your child a Social Security Number through the Social Security Administration office.
If you otherwise have an American Citizen dependent without a Social Security Number, or have questions about obtaining a Social Security Number, please go to the Social Security official website.
Rates of Exchange - Annual Average Rates
IRS does not post an exchange rate schedule on its web site. Instead, you may use the US Treasury rate from Financial Management Service (FMS).
Other options: www.oanda.com provides exchange rates. People using that site should obtain the average exchange rate using the ‘interbank rate’ for the period required, for example, January 1, 2004 through December 31, 2004. You input that information and the site automatically gives you the average rate for that period for any currency in the world.
If you go to www.newyorkfed.org, you can download the daily rates into an Excel spreadsheet and have the spreadsheet compute the average rate.
Any of these rates could be used and accepted. If the IRS were to examine the return and ask how the exchange rate was computed, the individual would need to be able to show how the rate they used was computed. Since any of these are obtained from legitimate sites, they would be accepted.
Tax Help for Expats
IR-2005-49, April 22, 2005 Washington
Treasury and the IRS announced the release of Notice 2005-36 and revised Form 8854, Initial and Annual Expatriation Information Statement. The notice and the revised form and its instructions address the significant changes made by the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (AJCA) to the tax and information reporting rules affecting individuals who lose their U.S. citizenship or long-term resident status after June 3, 2004.
In addition to imposing new information reporting requirements on former citizens and long-term residents, AJCA provides that former citizens and long-term residents will continue to be taxed as U.S. citizens or residents until they (1) notify the Department of State of loss of citizenship or the Department of Homeland Security of termination of permanent resident status and (2) file an initial expatriation information statement with the IRS.
Form 8854, Initial and Annual Expatriation Information Statement, has been revised to permit individuals to meet the new notification and information reporting requirements imposed by AJCA. In particular, Form 8854 has been expanded so that it functions as both the initial and the annual expatriation information statements required by AJCA. Revised Form 8854 and its instructions also address how individuals should certify (in accordance with the new law) that they have met their federal tax obligations for the five preceding taxable years and what constitutes notification to the Department of State or the Department of Homeland Security.
Notice 2005-36 provides special rules for individuals who file the revised Form 8854 by June 15, 2005. Treasury and the IRS recognize that until the revised Form 8854 was released, individuals who lost U.S. citizenship or terminated long-term resident status after June 3, 2004 did not know how to meet the new notification and information reporting requirements imposed by AJCA. Accordingly, Notice 2005-36 provides that if an individual who loses U.S. citizenship or terminates long-term resident status after June 3, 2004 files the revised Form 8854 by June 15, 2005, the individual will be treated as having met his or her reporting obligations on the date on which the taxpayer provided the requisite notice to the Department of State or the Department of Homeland Security.
Form 8854 and its instructions are available at the agency Web site, IRS.gov, but will no longer be obtainable from U.S. embassies or consulates abroad. Individuals in the United States may contact the IRS toll-free at 1-800-829-1040 for more information (1-800-829-4059 for TTY/TDD). If overseas, individuals may contact the IRS at (215) 516-2000 (English-speaking only and not a toll-free number).
- Notice 2005-36 (PDF 57K)
- Form 8854, Initial and Annual Expatriation Information Statement(PDF 98K)