Ask Tax Question

Hi, If a married couple (US citizens) living abroad and only one is earning $150,000 (the other spouse is not working)...can they exclude on a joint tax return, maximum of $92,900 or a maximum of $185,800 (for 2011)? Thanks

Foreign Income foreign tax credit
TaxConnections Members... Answer This Question Want To be One of Our Tax Experts? Register Here

Tax Professional Answers

User Photo
Gary Carter, PhD, MT, CPA
The foreign earned income exclusion of $92,900 for 2011 ($95,100 for 2012) is for one earner, so in your case only $92,900 can be excluded. For any earned income in excess of the exclusion, you can claim the foreign tax credit for foreign taxes allocable to the excess income. You can use the most advantageous combination of the exemption and the credit to lower your US tax liability. Since the foreign income in excess of the exclusion is taxed at your top marginal rate, you should check the result using only the credit and skipping the exclusion.
Leave a Comment 198 weeks ago

User Photo
Chuck Heyde, CPA, CGMA
No, you can not take your spouse's exclusion. The exclusion is per person per year.

You should evaluate the benefits of the foreign tax credits as Gary suggest but I also recommend you research the other half of the Foreign Exclusion - the Foreign Housing. This too will could help reduce the double tax effect of your international trip.

Chuck Heyde
Leave a Comment 197 weeks ago

Meet Leading Tax Advisors

User Photo Kathryn Morgan

Bossier City, Louisiana, USA

Enrolled Agent, Master Tax Advisor

User Photo Peter J. Scalise

New York, New York, USA

Federal Tax Credits & Incentives Practice Leader

User Photo John Stancil

Lakeland, Florida, USA

Tax Advisor/CEO

User Photo John Dundon, II EA

Denver, Colorado, USA

Tax Director

User Photo Steven Potts JD EA IAR

Fullerton, California, USA


User Photo Devon McCarthy FCCA, EA

Sanford, Florida, USA


User Photo Caran Ebert, CPA

Topanga, California, USA

Tax Advisor

User Photo Lisa Nason CPA, MST

Greenville, South Carolina, USA

Managing Shareholder

User Photo Gary Carter, PhD, MT, CPA

Edina, Minnesota, USA



Santa Clara, California, USA

Tax Principal - President

User Photo Bill Robinson, CPA

Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA


User Photo Hugo Van Zyl

Stellenbosch, South Africa

Exchange Control & Master Tax Practitioner (SA)

User Photo Douglas Stransky

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Tax Partner, International Tax

User Photo Larry Stolberg, CPA, CA

Toronto Mississauga Oakville Burlington Hamilton, Canada

Tax Specialist

User Photo Gerald Nordland

Phoenix, Arizona, USA


View/Select our Current List of Tax Topics

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Previous PageNext Page

Contact Us Today