American tax for US citizens living in Nigeria

3 min
Published on: 01-06-2022 Last modified on: 29-01-2024

There are an estimated 100,000 US citizens living in Nigeria. As a US person living in Nigeria, what exactly do you need to know regarding filing US and Nigerian taxes? 

American citizens living in Nigeria face additional demands from the United States. That’s because, unlike almost every other country on the planet, the US Government taxes its citizens no matter where in the world they live.

All US citizens and green card holders who earn a minimum of $12,000 (or just $400 for self-employed individuals) anywhere in the world are required to file a US federal tax return and pay taxes to the IRS, regardless of where in the world they live, or their income is generated.

Filing tax for American expats in Nigeria

If you earn over US$10,000 (or just $400 of self-employment income), wherever the income originates in the world, you have to file IRS form 1040. While any US taxes are due by April 15th, expats get an automatic filing extension until June 15th, which can be extended further on request until October 15th.

If you had a total of at least US$10,000 in one or more foreign bank and/or investment accounts at any time during the tax year, you also have to file FinCEN form 114, otherwise known as a Foreign Bank Account Report or FBAR.

US and Nigerian governments share taxpayer info

The US and Nigerian governments share taxpayer info because of the FATCA law

Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which was adopted in the US as early as 2010. The idea was that the US would stop tax evasion and money laundering for US citizens abroad. FATCA requires all non-U.S. foreign financial institutions to search their records for U.S. citizens and permanent residents and report them to the IRS.

Nigerian banks pass on US account holders’ account info to the IRS, so it’s not worth not filing or omitting anything on your return. The penalties for incorrect or incomplete filing for expats are steep.

American expats in Nigeria and Nigerians with American citizenship

If you’re a US citizen, green card holder, or have an American Nigerian dual citizenship, and you have been living in Norway, but you didn’t know you had to file a US tax return, it is time to inform yourself about the US tax system and your obligations.

If you are a resident of Nigeria, you’ll have to pay Nigerian income tax. You will also be liable for US taxes on this income, though, unless you claim one of the exemptions with these programs:

  • IRS Streamlined Procedure that allows you to catch up on your filing without paying any penalties
  • Relief Procedures for Certain Former Citizens, procedures for certain persons who have relinquished or intend to relinquish, their United States (U.S.) citizenship and who wish to come into compliance with their U.S. income tax and reporting obligations and avoid being taxed as a “covered expatriate”

More information about Nigerian American dual citizenship tax?

Don’t delay, though, in case the IRS comes to you first.

We, the founders of Americans Overseas, were born in the Netherlands and obtained our American nationality through our (American) mother.

When we heard about the US tax system for the first time around 2013, we were in total disbelief (it can’t be true!), anger (how can they do this?), fear (am I going to get fined or pick up other problems?), and panic (what should I do?). It is (unfortunately) true that there is an additional American tax levy. But there’s no information from the local government, and when approached, the consulate referred us to the IRS, and the IRS was impenetrable.

That’s why we started this initiative to help people from all over the world by providing proper information about the US tax system to avoid unnecessary panic, and offering help free of obligation and free of charge. If needed, we have a network of affordable professionals (accountants) who can help you with your tax obligations.

Americans Overseas can advise you about American expats in Nigeria and their US taxes  If you have any doubts or questions about your tax situation as a US citizen living in Nigeria, you can contact Americans Overseas


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Frequently asked questions

Understanding the US tax system, the obligations, and all the additional terms can be difficult. Especially if one lives outside of America. Is your question not answered? Contact us.

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