In today’s age of “digital nomads,” the idea of working remotely overseas continues to grow in popularity. New programs, such as Remote Year, have further facilitated overseas commuting by organizing year-long trips for employees and freelancers to live in multiple cities abroad. Participants, for example, travel in groups to live in multiple cities throughout Europe, Asia and South America, for one month each over a year period.
Working abroad presents a number of unique U.S. income tax issues and opportunities for the digital nomad. One main issue is qualification for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (“FEIE”), which allows U.S. citizens living abroad to exclude their foreign earned income from U.S. federal taxation. Another important issue is a digital nomad’s potential liability for state and local taxation even during their time living and working abroad. Read More
For a unique group of foreign individuals (i.e., non-US citizens referred to in the tax world as “aliens”), living in the U.S. does not trigger “resident” status for tax purposes. These so-called “exempt” individuals include foreign students, foreign scholars, and alien employees of foreign governments and of international organizations in the United States. U.S. tax law considers this lucky bunch to be exempt from counting days of presence in the United States for the purposes of determining whether they are resident aliens of the United States. Read More
Following the trend of the past several years, the Tax Court continues to review foreign earned income exclusion cases at a relatively high rate. In most of the recent cases, the Tax Court has denied the FEIE claims on a number of different grounds.
In today’s age of “digital nomads,” working remotely overseas has become increasingly popular. More companies are adding remote working options in order to benefit from a broader talent pool and give employees more lifestyle choices.
United States taxpayers living overseas are usually somewhat familiar with the benefits of the foreign earned income exclusion, the foreign housing exclusion, or the foreign housing deduction. Often I see many misconceptions with regard to the rules. Here is one of the most common. Not understanding the concept can mean losing the benefits that might otherwise be possible.
In order to qualify for any of the benefits, the taxpayer is required to have (among other things) a “tax home” in a foreign country. In defining what is meant by a “tax home” the law provides that the taxpayer shall not be treated as having a “tax home” in a foreign country “for any period for which his abode is within the United States.” What is the difference between one’s “tax home” and one’s “abode”?
What is a “Tax Home?”
Under the tax rules, one’s tax home” is defined generally as the main place of business, employment, or post of duty, regardless of where the individual maintains his family home. The tax home test focuses on the place of one’s vocation or employment. It is the place where you are permanently or indefinitely engaged to work as an employee or self-employed individual. If you do not have a regular or main place of business because of the nature of your work, your tax home may be the place where you regularly live. If you do not have either a regular or main place of business or a place where you regularly live, you are considered an “itinerant”. In that case, your tax home is wherever you work.
What is an “Abode”?
As mentioned, you are not considered to have a tax home in a foreign country for any period in which your abode is Read More