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Tag Archive for Physical Presence Test

How To Qualify For The Physical Presence Test To Use Foreign Earned Income Exclusion

Olivier Wagner, Tax Expatriate Tax Preparer

U.S. expats can use the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion to reduce taxable income. And if you did you research on this topic, then you probably heard about tests to pass. American abroad has to qualify for one of the two tests. Today we explain what you need to pass the Physical Presence Test.

Let’s take another look at few general requirements to use FEIE:

  • You should have foreign earned income
  • Your tax home must be in a foreign country
  • and one must qualify for one of the two tests, either Bona Fide Residence or the Physical Presence Test.

The IRS states that a U.S. citizen or a U.S. resident alien who is physically present in a foreign country or countries for at least 330 full days during any period of 12 consecutive months qualifies for the Physical Presence Test, but is it really that simple?

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How To Qualify For Foreign Earned Income Exclusion

To claim the foreign earned income exclusion, you must meet all three of the following requirements:

  1. Your tax home must be in a foreign country
  2. You must have foreign earned income
  3. You must be one of the following:
  • A U.S. citizen who is a bona fide resident of a foreign country or countries for an uninterrupted period that includes an entire tax year.
  • A U.S. resident alien who is a citizen or national of a country with which the United States has an income tax treaty in effect, and who is a bona fide resident of a foreign country or countries for an uninterrupted period that includes an entire tax year.
  • A U.S. citizen or a U.S. resident alien who is physically present in a foreign country or countries for at least 330 full days during any period of 12 consecutive months.

There are only two of the factors to be considered in determining whether you pass the bona fide residence test: the length of your stay and the nature of your job. You need to remember that you do not automatically acquire bona fide resident status just by living in a foreign country or countries for one year and your bona fide residence is not necessarily the same as your domicile. If you made a statement to local authorities in your residence country that you are not a resident of that country, and they determine you are not subject to their income tax laws as a resident, you can’t be considered a bona fide resident.

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Foreign Earned Income For U.S. Overseas Taxpayers

John Dundon

The following was prepared by IRS Employees Bethany Barclay, Technical Specialist LB&I Division & Tracy McFee, CPA Technical Specialist LB&I Division regarding Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE).

Tracy and I met as guest panelists on the hit TV Show Tax Talk Today: Aliens, Immigration, and Taxes—Navigating the Shoals and I’ve grown to truly appreciate her knowledge base and skill set. She is a respectable public servant who I thank for allowing me to share her efforts in this venue.

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FEIE—Drill Down Into IRS Form 2555

John Dundon

We get all sorts of fascinating questions from established US taxpayers in addition to those experiencing internationalism for the first time. It seems, regardless of the degree of sophistication in US income tax filing obligations, most people are out to lunch when it comes to arcane acronyms and filing requirements.

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