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Free File Fillable Forms

Being an expat has its pros, but one of the cons is definately filling taxes. There several extra forms that you need to file and the guidance for 2016 can be found here. There are two pieces of good news in the whole thing: you get an extension to file, and filing on-line is relatively straightforward using Free File Fillable Forms.

I found the filing web-site to be quite straightforward, unfortunately if there is a problem with the automated processing the error messages are not so easy to decipher. There error I encountered is below:

Issue      : Business Rule X0000-005 - The XML data has failed schema validation. cvc-complex-type.2.4.a.  Invalid content was found starting with element 'Amt'. One of '{"http://www.irs.gov/efile":Desc}' is expected.

The following information may help you determine the form at issue:
Field/Xpath: /efile:Return[1]/efile:ReturnData[1]/efile:NoncashOrNonW2IncomeStatement[1]/efile:OthPropOrFcltsMktValueExplnGrp[1]/efile:Amt[1]

THere are two sites that I found to decode this messages: 1. A hand-book for decoding the XML errors 2. A pdf showing the naming of the Forms

Using the above I was able to decode

NoncashOrNonW2IncomeStatement
to Form 2555 which you have to file as an expat. The second unique error message
OthPropOrFcltsMktValueExplnGroup
was not in either document, but decoding the string I was able to find the field by searching the form for ‘Market’. My error was including a values of 0 in fields 21a-d when those fields could have been left blank.

Hope this helps someone out in the future!