The Foreign Earned Income Exclusion

If you meet certain requirements, you may qualify for the foreign earned income and foreign housing exclusions and the foreign housing deduction.

You can use the IRS’s Interactive Tax Assistant tool to help determine whether income earned in a foreign country is eligible to be excluded from income reported on your U.S. federal income tax return.

If you are a U.S. citizen or a resident alien of the United States and you live abroad, you are taxed on your worldwide income. However, you may qualify to exclude from income up to an amount of your foreign earnings that is adjusted annually for inflation ($92,900 for 2011, $95,100 for 2012, $97,600 for 2013, $99,200 for 2014 and $100,800 for 2015). In addition, you can exclude or deduct certain foreign housing amounts.

You may also be entitled to exclude from income the value of meals and lodging provided to you by your employer. 

In order to benefit from the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, the taxpayer must meet one of the following two criteria:

  • 1) Work full time inside a foreign country for an entire calendar year- known as the Bona Fide Residence Test
  • 2) Work outside of the United States for at least 330 of any 365 day period - known as the Physical Presence Test

While the two criteria may appear to be similar, they are actually quite different in terms of how they apply to your US expat taxes. US Expats automatically become eligible for the exclusion if they have worked overseas throughout an entire calendar year (January 1st-December 31st). They are then considered a bona fide resident. The second clause can be more confusing when applying to Expatriate tax return.

The second clause essentially means that a person left the United States for business and has not returned for more than 35 days throughout the past twelve months. This clause is not based on a calendar year; it simply refers to any twelve month period (ie April to April or September to September). Also note that it makes no reference to consecutive days; so a US Expat would be considered ineligible if he made several 2-7 day trips back to the US that totaled more than 35 days during the twelve month period in question. The key to meeting the "physical presence test" is to have spent less than 35 days in the US during a 12 month period.

The Deductions

 Additionally, you would qualify for the Foreign Housing Deduction as well.

As the name implies, the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion relies solely on foreign income for calculation purposes and the income must be earned. Foreign income from sources such as dividends, interest and rental income are not included since this income is not "earned" in the IRS's view. Additionally, US based income from things such as pensions will not qualify for this exclusion because it was not earned inside a foreign country.

Common Pitfalls

Not foreign earned income: Foreign earned income does not include the following amounts:

  • Pay received as a military or civilian employee of the U.S. Government or any of its agencies
  • Pay for services conducted in international waters (not a foreign country)
  • Pay in specific combat zones, as designated by an Executive Order from the President, that is excludable from income
  • Payments received after the end of the tax year following the year in which the services that earned the income were performed
  • The value of meals and lodging that are excluded from income because it was furnished for the convenience of the employer
  • Pension or annuity payments, including social security benefits

Self-employment income: A qualifying individual may claim the foreign earned income exclusion on foreign earned self-employment income.  The excluded amount will reduce the individual’s regular income tax, but will not reduce the individual’s self-employment tax.  Also, the foreign housing deduction – instead of a foreign housing exclusion – may be claimed.

Figuring the tax: Beginning with tax year 2006, a qualifying individual claiming the foreign earned income exclusion, the housing exclusion, or both, must figure the tax on the remaining non-excluded income using the tax rates that would have applied had the individual not claimed the exclusions.

Requirements

There are some catches to the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, so it is almost always advisable to consult a US Expat tax expert about your specific situation. For example, business owners may be forced to pay the Self-Employment tax inside the US and this is not considered part of the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. However you may still be able to exclude your earnings after you have paid the self employment tax. Another common scenario for the self employed is when US Expats move to countries where there is a Social Security treaty in place with the United States, like the UK. The US / UK treaty allows you to opt out of Social Security and enroll in the UK National Insurance Plan. By opting out of US social security, you could save about 15.3% annually on your US expat taxes

The last thing worth mentioning is that not all US expats are able to take advantage of the foreign earned income exclusion. If you are a US Government Employee and are paid by the US government then you will not be able to use the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion to minimize your US expat taxes. This includes individuals in the Armed Forces Exchange, Commissioned and non-commissioned Officers' messes, Armed Forces motion pictures services and employees of kindergartens on Armed Forces installations.

Other considerations and opportunities that American expatriates should be aware of include the following:

Need to File State Returns: Certain taxpayers must maintain a state of domicile in the United States, and there will be tax obligations to that state - https://www.mooresrowland.tax/2019/11/us-state-tax-residency-vs-domicile.html

Detailed Explanation of Foreign Earned Income Exclusion

Following are excerpts from IRS Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad. Click here to download the complete publication [1.5 MB]. Below we present the key elements of qualifying for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, but you should consult the full publication for a complete explanation.

Who Qualifies for the Exclusions and the Deduction?

If you meet certain requirements, you may qualify for the foreign earned income and foreign housing exclusions and the foreign housing deduction.

If you are a U.S. citizen or a resident alien of the United States and you live abroad, you are taxed on your worldwide income. However, you may qualify to exclude from income up to $97,600 (for 2013) of your foreign earnings. In addition, you can exclude or deduct certain foreign housing amounts.

Requirements

To claim the foreign earned income exclusion, the foreign housing exclusion, or the foreign housing deduction, you must meet all three of the following requirements.

  • Your tax home must be in a foreign country.
  • You must have foreign earned income.
  • You must be either:
  •  A U.S. citizen who is a bona fide resident of a foreign country of 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, or
  • 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.

Tax Home in Foreign Country

To qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion, the foreign housing exclusion, or the foreign housing deduction, your tax home must be in a foreign country throughout your period of bona fide residence or physical presence abroad.

Tax Home

Your tax home is Tothe general area of your main place of business, employment, or post of duty, regardless of where you maintain your family home. Your tax home is the place where you are permanently or indefinitely engaged to work as an employee of self-employed individual. Having a "tax home" in a given location does not necessarily mean that the given location in your residence or domicile for tax purposes.

Temporary or Indefinite Assignment

The location of your tax home often depends on whether your assignment is temporary or indefinite. If you are temporarily absent from your tax home in the United States on business, you may be able to deduct your away-from-home expenses (for travel, meals, and lodging), but you would not qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion. If your new work assignment is for an indefinite period, your your new place of employment becomes your tax home and you would not be able to deduct any of the related expenses that you have in the general area of this new work assignment. If your new tax home is in a foreign country and you meet the other requirements, you earnings may qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion.

Read more on this on an article we did here -  https://www.mooresrowland.tax/2018/01/lets-talk-about-foreign-earned-income.html

Bona Fide Residence Test

You meet the bona fide residence test if you are a bona fide resident of a foreign country or countries for an uninterrupted period that includes an entire tax year. You can use the bona fide residence test to qualify for the exclusions and the deduction only if you are either:

  • A U.S. citizen, or
  • 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.

You do not automatically acquire bona fide resident status merely by living in a foreign country or countries for 1 year. If you go to a foreign country to work on a particular job for a specified period of time, you ordinarily will not be regarded as a bona fide resident of that country even though you work there for 1 tax year or longer. The length of your stay and the nature of your job are only some of the factors to be considered in determining whether you meet the bona fide residence test.

Bona fide residence. To meet the bona fide residence test, you must have established a bona fide residence in a foreign country.

Your bona fide residence is not necessarily the same as your domicile. Your domicile is your permanent home, the place to which you always return or intend to return.

Example. You could have your domicile in Cleveland, Ohio and a bona fide residence in Edinburgh, Scotland, if you intend to return eventually to Cleveland.

The fact that you go to Scotland does not automatically make Scotland your bona fide residence. If you go there as a tourist, or on a short business trip, and return to the United States, you have not established bona fide residence in Scotland. But if you go to Scotland to work for an indefinite or extended period and you set up permanent quarters there for yourself and your family, you probably have established a bona fide residence in a foreign country, even though you intend to return eventually to the United States.

You are clearly not a resident of Scotland in the first instance. However, in the second, you are a resident because your stay in Scotland appears to be permanent. If your residency is not as clearly defined as either of these illustrations, it may be more difficult to decide whether you have established a bona fide residence.

Determination. Questions of bona fide residence are determined according to each individual case, taking into account factors such as your intention, the purpose of your trip, and the nature and length of your stay abroad.

Statement to foreign authorities. You are not considered a bona fide resident of a foreign country if you make a statement to the authorities of that country that you are not a resident of that country, and the authorities:

  • Hold that you are not subject to their income tax laws as a resident, or
  • Have not made a final decision on your status.

Special agreements and treaties. An income tax exemption provided in a treaty or other international agreement will not in itself prevent you from being a bona fide resident of a foreign country. Whether a treaty prevents you from becoming a bona fide resident of a foreign country is determined under all provisions of the treaty, including specific provisions relating to residence or privileges and immunities.

Uninterrupted period including entire tax year. To meet the bona fide residence test, you must reside in a foreign country or countries for an uninterrupted period that includes an entire tax year. An entire tax year is from January 1 through December 31 for taxpayers who file their income tax returns on a calendar year basis. During the period of bona fide residence in a foreign country, you can leave the country for brief or temporary trips back to the United States or elsewhere for vacation or business. To keep you status as a bona fide resident of a foreign country, you must have a clear intention of returning from such trips, without unreasonable delay, to your foreign residence or to a new bona fide residence in another foreign country.

Example1. You arrived with your family in Lisbon, Portugal, on November 1, 2006. Your assignment is indefinite, and you intend to live there with your family until your company sends you to a new post. You immediately established residence there. You spent April of 2007 at a business conference in the United States. Your family stayed in Lisbon. Immediately following the conference, you returned to Lisbon and continued living there. On January 1, 2008, you completed an uninterrupted period of residence for a full tax year (2007), and you meet the bona fide residence test.

Example 2. Assume the same facts as in Example 1, except that you transferred back to the United States on December 13, 2007. You would not meet the bona fide residence test because your bona fide residence in the foreign country, although it lasted more than a year, did not include a full tax year. You may, however, qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion or the housing exclusion or deduction under the physical presence test (discussed later).

Bona fide resident for part of a year. Once you have established bona fide residence in a foreign country for an uninterrupted period that includes an entire tax year, you are a bona fide resident of that country for the period starting with the date you actually began the residence and ending with the date you abandon the foreign residence. Your period of bona fide residence can include an entire tax year plus parts of 2 other tax years.

Example. You were a bona fide resident of Singapore from March 1, 2006, through September 14, 2008. On September 15, 2008, you returned to the United States. Since you were a bona fide resident of a foreign country for all of 2007, you were also a bona fide resident of a foreign country from March 1, 2006, through the end of 2006 and from January 1, 2008 through September 14, 2008.

Reassignment. If you are assigned from one foreign post to another, you may or may not have a break in foreign residence between your assignments, depending on the circumstances.

Example 1. You were a resident of Pakistan from October 1, 2007, through November 30, 2008. On December 1, 2008, you and your family returned to the United States to wait for an assignment to another foreign country. Your household goods also were returned to the United States. Your foreign residence ended on November 30, 2008, and did not begin again until after you were assigned to another foreign country and physically entered that country. Since you were not a bona fide resident of a foreign country for the entire tax year of 2007 or 2008, you do not meet the bona fide residence test in either year. You may, however, qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion or the housing exclusion or deduction under the physical presence test, discussed later.

Example 2. Assume the same facts as in Example 1, except that upon completion of your assignment in Pakistan you were given a new assignment to Turkey. On December 1, 2008, you and your family returned to the United States for a month's vacation. On January 2, 2009, you arrived in Turkey for your new assignment. Because you did not interrupt your bona fide residence abroad, you meet the bona fide residence test.

Physical Presence Test

You meet the physical presence test if you are physically present in a foreign country or countries 330 full days during a period of 12 consecutive months. The 330 days do not have to be consecutive. Any U.S. citizen or resident alien can use the physical presence to qualify for the exclusions and the deduction.

The physical presence test is based only on how long you stay in a foreign country or countries. This test does not depend on the kind of residence you establish, your intentions about returning, or the nature and purpose of your stay abroad.

330 full days. Generally, to meet the physical presence test, you must be physically present in a foreign country or countries for at least 330 full days during a 12-month period. You can count days you spent abroad for any reason. You do not have to be in a foreign country only for employment purposes. You can be on vacation.

You do not meet the physical presence test if illness, family problems, a vacation, or your employer's orders cause you to be present for less than the required amount of time.

Exception. You can be physically present in a foreign country or countries for less than 330 full days and still meet the physical presence test if you are required to leave a country because of war or civil unrest.

Full day. A full day is a period of 24 consecutive hours, beginning at midnight.

Travel. When you leave the United States to go directly to a foreign country or when you return directly to the United States from a foreign country, the time you spend on or over international waters does not count toward the 330-day total.

Example. You leave the United States for France by air on June 10. You arrive in France at 9:00 a.m. on June 11. Your first full day of physical presence in France is June 12.

Passing over a foreign country. If, in traveling from the United States to a foreign country, you pass over a foreign country before midnight of the day you leave, the first day you can count toward the 330-day total is the day following the day you leave the United States.

Example. You leave the United States by air at 9:30 a.m. on June 10 to travel to Kenya. You pass over western Africa at 11:00p.m. on June 10 and arrive in Kenya at 12:30 a.m. on June 11. Your first full day in a foreign country is June 11.

Change of location. You can move about from one place to another in a foreign country or to another foreign country without losing full days. If any part of your travel is not within any foreign country and takes less than 24 hours, you are considered to be in a foreign country during that part of travel.

Example 1. You leave Ireland by air at 11:00 p.m. on July 6 and arrive in Sweden at 5:00 a.m. on July 7. Your trip takes less than 24 hours and you lose no full days.

Example 2. You leave Norway by ship at 10:00 p.m. on July 6 and arrive in Portugal at 6:00 a.m. on July 8. Since your travel is not within a foreign country or countries and the trip takes more than 24 hours, you lose as full days July 6, 7, and 8. If you remain in Portugal, your next full day in a foreign country is July 9.

In United States while in transit. If you are in transit between two points outside the United States and are physically present in the United States for less than 24 hours, you are not treated as present in the United States during the transit. You are treated as traveling over areas not within any foreign country.

How to figure the 12-month period. There are four rules you should know when figuring the 12-month period.

  • Your 12-month period can begin with any day of the month. It ends the day before the same calendar day, 12 months later.
  • Your 12-month period must be made up of consecutive months. Any 12-month period can be used if the 330 days in a foreign country fall within that period.
  • You do not have to begin your 12-month period with your first full day in a foreign country or end it with the day you leave. You can choose the 12-month period that gives you the greatest exclusion.
  • In determining whether the 12-month period falls within a longer stay in the foreign country, 12-month periods can overlap one another.

Example 1. You are a construction worker who works on and off in a foreign country over a 20-month period. You might pick up the 330 full days in a 12-month period only during the middle months of the time you work in the foreign country because the first fiew and last few months of the 20-month period are broken up by long visits to the United States.

Example 2. You work in New Zealand for a 20-month period from January 1, 2007, though August 31, 2008, except that you spend 28 days in February 2007 and 28 days in February 2008 on vacation in the United States. You are present in New Zealand 330 full days during each of the following two 12-month periods: January 1, 2007 - December 31, 2007 and September 1, 2007 - August 31, 2008. By overlapping the 12-month periods in this way, you meet the physical presence test for the whole 20-month period.

Foreign Earned Income Exclusion

If your tax home is in a foreign country and you meet the bona fide residence test or the physical presence test, you can choose to exclude from your income a limited amount of your foreign earned income. You can also choose to exclude from your income a foreign housing amount. If you choose to exclude foreign earned income, you cannot deduct, exclude, or claim a credit for any item that can be allocated to or charged against the excluded amounts. This includes any expenses, losses, or other normally deductible items allocable to the excluded income.

Limit on Excludable Amount

You may be able to exclude up to $97,600 of your foreign earned income in 2013. You cannot exclude more than the smaller of:

  • $97,600, or Your foreign earned income for the tax year minus your foreign housing exclusion.

If both you and your spouse work abroad and each of you meets either the bona fide residence test or the physical presence test, you can each choose the foreign earned income exclusion. You do not both need to meet the same test. Together, you and your spouse can exclude as much as $183,000.

Part-year exclusion. If the period for which you qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion includes only part of the year, you must adjust the maximum limit based on the number of qualifying days in the year. The number of qualifying days is the number of days in the year within the period on which you both:

  • Have your tax home in a foreign country, and
  • Meet either the bona fide residence test or the physical presence test.

For this purpose, you can count as qualifying days all days within a period of 12 consecutive months once you are physically present and have your tax home in a foreign country for 330 full days. To figure your maximum exclusion, multiply the maximum excludable amount for the year by the number of your qualifying days in the year, and then divide the result by the number of days in the year.

Foreign Housing Exclusion and Deduction

In addition to the foreign earned income exclusion, you can also claim an exclusion or a deduction from gross income for your housing amount if your tax home is in a foreign country and you qualify for the exclusions and deduction under either the bona fide residence test or the physical presence test.

The housing exclusion applies only to amounts considered paid for with employer-provided amounts. The housing deduction applies only to amounts paid for with self-employment earnings. 

But the reality is sometimes a situation is not that clear cut and as a result, the FEIE may be denied. 

Here are 2 cases - 

https://www.mooresrowland.tax/2013/12/us-employee-working-in-iraq-and.html

https://www.mooresrowland.tax/2018/01/lets-talk-about-foreign-earned-income.html

How do you avoid issues? To answer this we need to talk about "tax home" vs "abode".

Your “Tax Home” and Your “Abode”

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”?

Explanation of “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.

Explanation of One’s “Abode”

A taxpayer is not considered to have a tax home in a foreign country for any period in which the taxpayer’s abode is in the United States. Here is where things can get confusing. One’s “abode” is generally defined to mean one’s home, habitation, residence, domicile, or place of dwelling. According to Pub 54, it is based on where you maintain your family, economic, and personal ties. Your abode is not necessarily in the United States merely because you maintain a dwelling in the United States, whether or not your spouse or dependents use the dwelling. Your abode is also not necessarily in the United States while you are temporarily in the United States; however, these factors can contribute to your having an abode in the United States.

Example 1. You are employed on an offshore oil rig in the territorial waters of a foreign country and work a 28-day on/28-day off schedule. You return to your family residence in the United States during your off periods. You are considered to have an abode in the United States and don’t satisfy the tax home test in the foreign country. You can’t claim either of the exclusions or the housing deduction.

Example 2. For several years, you were a marketing executive with a producer of machine tools in Toledo, Ohio. In November of last year, your employer transferred you to London, England, for a minimum of 18 months to set up a sales operation for Europe. Before you left, you distributed business cards showing your business and home addresses in London. You kept ownership of your home in Toledo but rented it to another family. You placed your car in storage. In November of last year, you moved your spouse, children, furniture, and family pets to a home your employer rented for you in London. Shortly after moving, you leased a car and you and your spouse got British driver’s licenses. Your entire family got library cards for the local public library. You and your spouse opened bank accounts with a London bank and secured consumer credit. You joined a local business league and both you and your spouse became active in the neighborhood civic association and worked with a local charity. Your abode is in London for the time you live there. You satisfy the tax home test in the foreign country.

Unlike the term “tax home”, it does not mean the principal place of business. The location of a taxpayer’s abode often depends on where there is a "closer connection" and where he maintains his economic, family, and personal ties. “Home is where the heart is”, might be a good way for a layman to understand this tax concept of “abode”.

Recent Tax Court Cases

Two recent cases show where the IRS disallowed the Section 911 exclusion because each of the taxpayers maintained an “abode” in the US during the relevant periods.

Joseph S. Bellwood And Jacqueline E. Bellwood v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2019-135 (October 7, 2019)

For tax years 2013, 2014 and 2015 the Bellwoods sought to exclude from gross income amounts Mr. Bellwood earned from working in Saudi Arabia for a company that provided air ambulance services. The Tax Court opinion provided that during each of those years Mr. Bellwood “was a full-time employee, based out of Saudi Arabia”. Mr. Bellwood’s employer provided him with housing, initially in a hotel, and later in an apartment. During his employment, Mr. Bellwood was on-duty for 28 days and then off-duty for 28 days. While he was “on duty”, Mr. Bellwood lived in Saudi Arabia, but once the 28 days elapsed he immediately returned to his home in Georgia for 28 days off duty. With little variation, for the three years at issue, this was Mr. Bellwood’s habit with regard to his time in Saudi and time in Georgia. The Tax Court noted that Mr. Bellwood retained his US citizenship, driver’s license, voter registration, bank account, and healthcare in the United States. Furthermore, he generally conducted his affairs indirectly through his Georgia address while he was in Saudi Arabia or directly while in Georgia during his days off duty. Mr. Bellwood was unable to receive mail or make phone calls while he was in Saudi Arabia, and he continually used his Georgia address as his mailing address. It was clear to the court that Mr. Bellwood’s stronger domestic connection was with the Georgia house and not the Saudi Arabian hotel and apartment. During the time Mr. Bellwood spent in Saudi Arabia, his regular activities were primarily vocational. Mr. Bellwood testified that his non-work-related activities in Saudi Arabia were limited because of the demanding nature of his work–he went to the barber or grocery store as needed and visited the occasional restaurant, but most of his time in Saudi Arabia was spent either working or resting and preparing for his next shift. The court stated that all of this was true “only because when Mr. Bellwood had spare time, he did not wish to spend it in Saudi Arabia.” Rather he returned as soon as possible to Georgia and spent his time there on his hobbies, friends and personal matters. In other words, if in determining the location of Mr. Bellwood’s “abode” we look to the adage “home is where the heart is”, all factors point to Georgia. On these facts, the court ruled that Mr. Bellwood maintained his “abode” in the US and the FEIE was denied.

James M. Cambria v. Commissioner, T. C. Summary Opinion 2019-28 (September 30, 2019)

Mr. Cambria’s case involved a single tax year, 2014. Commencing August 5, 2014, Mr. Cambria was employed by a private company to provide security services in Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan. At that time, the entire country of Afghanistan was designated as a combat zone pursuant to an Executive Order. Mr. Cambria went to Camp Dwyer and stayed there for one year, until August 11, 2015. During that year, the Tax Court noted that Mr. Cambria “was not permitted to leave the base for safety reasons. He did not leave Camp Dwyer during his contract except for one trip to the United States from December 12, 2014, through January 1, 2015, for the birth of his child.” Throughout the tax year at issue, Mr. Cambria maintained a Colorado residence where his wife and child lived. He had a Colorado driver’s license, registered and maintained a vehicle in Colorado, had bank and credit card accounts in Colorado and New York, and was registered to vote in New York, where he had resided before moving to Colorado. After his contract ended in August 2015, Mr. Cambria returned to Colorado and began taking college classes, and was eventually employed by a Police Department in Colorado. The Tax Court noted that he had not shown any connection with Afghanistan other than the location of his employment. He “did not own land or vehicles in Afghanistan, he did not maintain a bank account there, and he did not want to bring his family with him……[he] had ties to Afghanistan that were severely limited and transitory during the year at issue.” Based on the facts, Mr. Cambria maintained his “abode” in the US and the FEIE was denied.

 

Purpose of Form

If you qualify, you can use Form 2555 to figure your foreign earned income exclusion and your housing exclusion or deduction. You cannot exclude or deduct more than the amount of your foreign earned income for the year.

General Information

If you are a U.S. citizen or a resident alien living in a foreign country, you are subject to the same U.S. income tax laws that apply to U.S. citizens and resident aliens living in the United States.

Note
Specific rules apply to determine if you are a resident or nonresident alien of the United States. See Pub. 519.

Foreign country
A foreign country is any territory under the sovereignty of a government other than that of the United States.

The term "foreign country" includes the country's territorial waters and airspace, but not international waters and the airspace above them. It also includes the seabed and subsoil of those submarine areas adjacent to the country's territorial waters over which it has exclusive rights under international law to explore and exploit the natural resources.

The term "foreign country" doesn't include U.S. possessions or territories. It doesn't include the Antarctic region.

Who Qualifies

You qualify to exclude your foreign earned income from gross income if both of the following apply.

  • You meet the tax home test (discussed later).
  • You meet either the bona fide residence test or the physical presence test (discussed later). However, see COVID-19 Emergency Relief, later.

 

Note
Income from working abroad as an employee of the U.S. Government does not qualify for either of the exclusions or the housing deduction. Don't file Form 2555.

 

Tax home test
To meet this test, your tax home must be in a foreign country, or countries (see Foreign country, earlier), throughout your period of bona fide residence or physical presence, whichever applies. For this purpose, your period of physical presence is the 330 full days during which you were present in a foreign country, or countries, not the 12 consecutive months during which those days occurred.

 

Note
If you did not live 330 full days in a foreign country, or countries, during a 12-month period, you are not entitled to claim the foreign earned income exclusion. The 330 qualifying days do not have to be consecutive.

Your tax home is your regular or principal place of business, employment, or post of duty, regardless of where you maintain your family residence. If you don't have a regular or principal place of business because of the nature of your trade or business, your tax home is your regular place of abode (the place where you regularly live).

You aren't considered to have a tax home in a foreign country for any period during which your abode is in the United States, unless you are serving in support of the U.S. Armed Forces in an area designated as a combat zone. See Service in a combat zone, later. Otherwise, if your abode is in the United States, you will not meet the tax home test and cannot claim the foreign earned income exclusion.

The location of your abode is based on where you maintain your family, economic, and personal ties. Your abode is not necessarily in the United States merely because you maintain a dwelling in the United States, whether or not your spouse and dependents use the dwelling. Your abode is not necessarily in the United States while you are temporarily in the United States. However, these factors can contribute to your having an abode in the United States.

Example
You are employed on an offshore oil rig in the territorial waters of a foreign country and work a 28-day on/28-day off schedule. You return to your family residence in the United States during your off periods. You are considered to have an abode in the United States and don't meet the tax home test. You can't claim either of the exclusions or the housing deduction.

Service in a combat zone
Citizens or residents of the United States serving in an area designated by the President of the United States by Executive order as a combat zone for purposes of section 112 in support of the U.S. Armed Forces can qualify as having a tax home in a foreign country, even if they have an abode within the United States. For a list of IRS recognized combat zones, go to IRS.gov/Newsroom/Combat-Zones.

Travel to Cuba

Generally, if you were in Cuba in violation of U.S. travel restrictions, the following rules apply.

  • Any time spent in Cuba can't be counted in determining if you qualify under the bona fide residence or physical presence test.
  • Any income earned in Cuba isn't considered foreign earned income.
  • Any housing expenses in Cuba (or housing expenses for your spouse or dependents in another country while you were in Cuba) aren't considered qualified housing expenses.

Note
If you performed services at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, you were not in violation of U.S. travel restrictions.

Waiver of Time Requirements

If your tax home was in a foreign country and you were a bona fide resident of, or physically present in, a foreign country and had to leave because of war, civil unrest, or similar adverse conditions, the minimum time requirements specified under the bona fide residence and physical presence tests may be waived. You must be able to show that you reasonably could have expected to meet the minimum time requirements if you hadn't been required to leave. Each year, the IRS will publish in the Internal Revenue Bulletin a list of the only countries that qualify for the waiver for the previous year and the dates they qualify. If you left one of the countries during the period indicated, you can claim the tax benefits on Form 2555, but only for the number of days you were a bona fide resident of, or physically present in, the foreign country.

If you can claim either of the exclusions or the housing deduction because of the waiver of time requirements, attach a statement to your return explaining that you expected to meet the applicable time requirement, but the conditions in the foreign country prevented you from the normal conduct of business. Also, enter "Claiming Waiver" in the top margin on page 1 of Form 2555.

COVID-19 Emergency Relief

Due to the global health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic (the COVID-19 emergency), the IRS is providing a waiver of the time requirements that allow a qualified individual to exclude foreign earned income and the housing cost amount from income. If your tax home was in a foreign country, and you reasonably expected to meet either the bona fide residence test or physical presence test (see the instructions for Parts II and III under the Specific Instructions, later) during 2019 or 2020, but failed to do so, you may be entitled to the waiver.

If due to the COVID-19 emergency, you left:

  • The People's Republic of China, excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau (China), on or after December 1, 2019, but on or before July 15, 2020; or
  • Any other foreign country on or after February 1, 2020, but on or before July 15, 2020;

you will be treated as having met the physical presence or bona fide residence test if you could establish a reasonable expectation that you would have met either test if it had not been for the COVID-19 emergency.

Note

To request this waiver for 2020, write "Revenue Procedure 2020-27" across the top margin of your Form 2555.

 

Example
You arrived in China on September 1, 2019, and reasonably expected to work in China until September 1, 2020. You left China on January 10, 2020, due to the COVID-19 emergency. You are eligible for the waiver with respect to the period September 1 through December 31, 2019, and for the period January 1 to January 9, 2020, and thus a qualified individual, if you meet the other requirements of the foreign earned income exclusion.

Example
You were in the United Kingdom from January 1 through March 1, 2020. You reasonably expected to work in the United Kingdom for the entire calendar year 2020. You were required to leave the United Kingdom on March 2, 2020, due to the COVID-19 emergency. You returned on August 25, 2020, and remained in the United Kingdom through December 31, 2020. You are eligible for the waiver for calendar year 2020, with respect to the period between January 1 through March 1, 2020, and from August 25 to December 31, 2020, and thus a qualified individual, if you meet the other requirements of the foreign earned income exclusion.

Additional Information

Pub. 54 has more information about the bona fide residence test, the physical presence test, the foreign earned income exclusion, and the housing exclusion and deduction. You can download this publication (as well as other forms and publications) at IRS.gov/OrderForms.

When To File

A 2020 calendar year Form 1040 or 1040-SR is generally due April 15, 2021.

However, you are automatically granted a 2-month extension of time to file (to June 15, 2021, for a 2020 calendar year return) if, on the due date of your return, you live outside the United States and Puerto Rico and your tax home (defined earlier) is outside the United States and Puerto Rico. If you take this extension, you must attach a statement to your return explaining that you meet these two conditions.

The automatic 2-month extension also applies to paying the tax. However, you will owe interest on any tax not paid by the regular due date of your return.

When to claim the exclusion(s)
The first year you plan to take the foreign earned income exclusion and/or the housing exclusion or deduction, you may not yet have met either the physical presence test or the bona fide residence test by the due date of your return (including the automatic 2-month extension, discussed earlier). If this occurs, you can either:

  • Apply for a special extension to a date after you expect to qualify, or
  • File your return timely without claiming the exclusion and then file an amended return after you qualify.

Special extension of time
To apply for this extension, complete and file Form 2350 with the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service Center, Austin, TX 73301-0045, before the due date of your return. Interest is charged on the tax not paid by the regular due date as explained earlier.

Amended return
File Form 1040-X to change a return you already filed. Generally, Form 1040-X must be filed within 3 years after the date the original return was filed or within 2 years after the date the tax was paid, whichever is later.

Where To File

Attach Form 2555 to Form 1040 or 1040-SR when filed. Mail your Form 1040 or 1040-SR to one of the special addresses designated for those filing Form 2555. Do not mail your Form 1040 or 1040-SR to the addresses associated with your state of residence if Form 2555 is attached. See the Instructions for Forms 1040 and 1040-SR. The filing addresses are also available at IRS.gov/Filing/International-Where-To-File-Form-1040-Addresses-for-Taxpayers-and-Tax-Professionals.

Choosing the Exclusion(s)

To choose either of the exclusions, complete the appropriate parts of Form 2555 and file it with your Form 1040, 1040-SR, or 1040-X. Your initial choice to claim the exclusion must usually be made on a timely filed return (including extensions) or on a return amending a timely filed return. However, there are exceptions. See Pub. 54 for details.

Once you choose to claim the exclusion(s), that choice remains in effect for that year and all future years unless it is revoked. To revoke your choice, you must attach a statement to your return for the first year you don't wish to claim the exclusion(s). If you revoke your choice, you can't claim the exclusion(s) for your next 5 tax years without the approval of the IRS. See Pub. 54 for more information.

Note
It is not necessary to affirmatively revoke your choice if you don’t have any foreign earned income.

Additional child tax credit
You can't take the additional child tax credit if you claim either of the exclusions or the housing deduction.

Earned income credit
You can't take the earned income credit if you claim either of the exclusions or the housing deduction.

Foreign tax credit or deduction
You can't take a credit or deduction for foreign income taxes paid or accrued on income that is excluded under either of the exclusions. If all of your foreign earned income is excluded, you can't claim a credit or deduction for the foreign taxes paid or accrued on that income. If only part of your income is excluded, you can't claim a credit or deduction for the foreign taxes allocable to the excluded income. See Pub. 514 for details on how to figure the amount allocable to the excluded income.

IRA deduction
If you claim either of the exclusions, special rules apply in figuring the amount of your IRA deduction. For details, see Pub. 590-A.

Figuring Tax on Income Not Excluded

If you claim either of the exclusions or the housing deduction, you must figure the tax on your non-excluded income using the tax rates that would have applied had you not claimed the exclusions. See the Instructions for Forms 1040 and 1040-SR and complete the Foreign Earned Income Tax Worksheet to figure the amount of tax to enter on Form 1040 or 1040-SR, line 16. When figuring your alternative minimum tax on Form 6251, you must use the Foreign Earned Income Tax Worksheet in the Instructions for Form 6251.

Specific Instructions

 

Part I

Line 1
Enter your entire address including city or town, state or province, country, and ZIP or foreign postal code. If using a military or diplomatic address, include the country in which you are living or stationed.

Line 9
Enter your tax home(s) and date(s) established. See Tax home test under Who Qualifies, earlier.

.This is an Image: caution.gifYou must complete either Part II or Part III of Form 2555, but not both parts..

Part II

Bona Fide Residence Test

.This is an Image: caution.gifSee COVID-19 Emergency Relief, earlier, before determining whether you meet the bona fide residence test..

To meet this test, 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 (January 1–December 31, if you file a calendar year return).
  • 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 (January 1–December 31, if you file a calendar year return). See Table 3 at IRS.gov/pub/irs-utl/Tax_Treaty_Table%203.pdf for a list of countries with which the United States has an income tax treaty in effect.

Whether you are a bona fide resident of a foreign country depends on your intention about the length and nature of your stay. Evidence of your intention may be your words and acts. If these conflict, your acts carry more weight than your words. Generally, if you go to a foreign country for a definite, temporary purpose and return to the United States after you accomplish it, you aren't a bona fide resident of the foreign country. If accomplishing the purpose requires an extended, indefinite stay, and you make your home in the foreign country, you may be a bona fide resident. See Pub. 54 for more information and examples.

Line 10
Enter the dates your bona fide residence began and ended. If you are still a bona fide resident, enter "Continues" in the space for the date your bona fide residence ended.

Lines 12a and 12b
If you check "Yes" on line 12a, enter the type(s) of family member(s) and the date(s) they lived with you on line 12b. Acceptable entries for family members on line 12b include child, foster child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece, son, daughter, spouse, or other. If you check "No" on line 12a, leave line 12b blank or enter "None."

Lines 13a and 13b
If you submitted a statement of nonresidence to the authorities of a foreign country in which you earned income and the authorities hold that you aren't subject to their income tax laws by reason of nonresidency in the foreign country, you aren't considered a bona fide resident of that country.

If you submitted such a statement and the authorities haven't made an adverse determination of your nonresident status, you aren't considered a bona fide resident of that country.

Part III

Physical Presence Test

.This is an Image: caution.gifSee COVID-19 Emergency Relief, earlier, before determining whether you meet the physical presence test..

To meet this test, you must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien who is physically present in a foreign country, or countries, for at least 330 full days during any period of 12 months in a row. A full day means the 24-hour period that starts at midnight.

To figure 330 full days, add all separate periods you were present in a foreign country during the 12-month period shown on line 16. The 330 full days can be interrupted by periods when you are traveling over international waters or are otherwise not in a foreign country. See Pub. 54 for more information and examples.

Note
A nonresident alien who, with a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident alien spouse, chooses to be taxed as a resident of the United States can qualify under this test if the time requirements are met. See Pub. 54 for details on how to make this choice.

Line 16

The 12-month period on which the physical presence test is based must include 366 days, part of which must be in 2020. The dates may begin or end in a calendar year other than 2020.

.This is an Image: taxtip.gifYou must enter dates in both spaces provided on line 16. Don't enter "Continues" in the space for the ending date..

Part IV

Foreign Earned Income

Enter in this part the total foreign earned income you earned and received (including income constructively received) during the tax year. If you are a cash basis taxpayer, include in income on Form 1040 or 1040-SR the foreign earned income you received during the tax year regardless of when you earned it. (For example, include wages from Form 1040 or 1040-SR, line 1.)

Income is earned in the tax year you perform the services for which you receive the pay. But if you are a cash basis taxpayer and, because of your employer's payroll periods, you received your last salary payment for 2019 in 2020, that income may be treated as earned in 2020. If you cannot treat that salary payment as income earned in 2020, the rules explained under Income earned in prior year, discussed later, apply. See Pub. 54 for more details.

Foreign earned income for this purpose means wages, salaries, professional fees, and other compensation received for personal services you performed in a foreign country during the period for which you meet the tax home test and either the bona fide residence test or the physical presence test. It also includes noncash income (such as a home or car) and allowances or reimbursements.

Foreign earned income doesn't include amounts that are actually a distribution of corporate earnings or profits rather than a reasonable allowance as compensation for your personal services.

Foreign earned income also doesn't include the following types of income

  • Pension and annuity income (including social security benefits and railroad retirement benefits treated as social security).
  • Interest, ordinary dividends, capital gains, alimony, etc.
  • Amounts paid to you by the U.S. Government or any of its agencies if you were an employee of the U.S. Government or any of its agencies.
  • Amounts received after the end of the tax year following the tax year in which you performed the services.
  • Amounts you must include in gross income because of your employer’s contributions to a nonexempt employees’ trust or to a nonqualified annuity contract.

Income received in prior year
Foreign earned income received in 2019 for services you performed in 2020 can be excluded from your 2019 gross income if, and to the extent, the income would have been excludable if you had received it in 2020. To claim the additional exclusion, you must amend your 2019 tax return. To do this, file Form 1040-X.

Income earned in prior year
Foreign earned income received in 2020 for services you performed in 2019 can be excluded from your 2020 gross income if, and to the extent, the income would have been excludable if you had received it in 2019.

If you are excluding income under this rule, do not include this income in Part IV. Instead, attach a statement to Form 2555 showing how you figured the exclusion. Enter the amount that would have been excludable in 2019 on Form 2555 to the left of line 45. Next to the amount, enter "Exclusion of Income Earned in 2019." Include it in the total reported on line 45.

Note
If you claimed any deduction, credit, or exclusion on your 2019 return that is definitely related to the 2019 foreign earned income you are excluding under this rule, you may have to amend your 2019 income tax return to adjust the amount you claimed. To do this, file Form 1040-X.

Line 20
If you engaged in an unincorporated trade or business in which both personal services and capital were material income-producing factors, a reasonable amount of compensation for your personal services will be considered earned income. The amount treated as earned income, however, can't be more than 30% of your share of the net profits from the trade or business after subtracting the deduction for the employer-equivalent portion of self-employment tax.

If capital is not an income-producing factor and personal services produced the business income, the 30% rule does not apply. Your entire gross income is earned income.

Line 23
List other foreign earned income not included on lines 19 through 22. You can write "Various" on the dotted lines to the left of the entry space if you have other foreign earned income from multiple sources.

Line 25
Enter the value of meals and/or lodging provided by, or on behalf of, your employer that is excludable from your income under section 119. To be excludable, the meals and lodging must have been provided for your employer's convenience and on your employer's business premises. In addition, you must have been required to accept the lodging as a condition of your employment. If you lived in a camp provided by, or on behalf of, your employer, the camp may be considered part of your employer's business premises. See Exclusion of Meals and Lodging in Pub. 54 for details.

Part VI

Line 28
Enter the total reasonable expenses paid or incurred during the tax year by you, or on your behalf, for your foreign housing and the housing of your spouse and dependents if they lived with you. You can also include the reasonable expenses of a second foreign household (defined later). Housing expenses are considered reasonable to the extent they aren't lavish or extravagant under the circumstances.

Housing expenses include rent, utilities (other than telephone charges), real and personal property insurance, nonrefundable fees paid to obtain a lease, rental of furniture and accessories, residential parking, and household repairs. You can also include the fair rental value of housing provided by, or on behalf of, your employer if you haven't excluded it on line 25.

Don't include deductible interest and taxes, any amount deductible by a tenant-stockholder in connection with cooperative housing, the cost of buying or improving a house, principal payments on a mortgage, or depreciation on the house. Also, don't include the cost of domestic labor, pay television or the cost of buying furniture or accessories.

Include expenses for housing only during periods for which:

  • The value of your housing isn't excluded from gross income under section 119 (unless you maintained a second foreign household as defined later), and
  • You meet the tax home test and either the bona fide residence or physical presence test.

Second foreign household
If you maintained a separate foreign household for your spouse and dependents at a place other than your tax home because the living conditions at your tax home were dangerous, unhealthful, or otherwise adverse, you can include the expenses of the second household on line 28.

Married couples
The following rules apply if both you and your spouse qualify for the tax benefits of Form 2555.

Same foreign household

If you and your spouse lived in the same foreign household and file a joint return, you must figure your housing amounts (line 33) jointly. If you file separate returns, only one spouse can claim the housing exclusion or deduction.In figuring your housing amount jointly, either spouse (but not both) can claim the housing exclusion or housing deduction. However, if you and your spouse have different periods of residence or presence, and the one with the shorter period of residence or presence claims the exclusion or deduction, you can claim as housing expenses only the expenses for that shorter period. The spouse claiming the exclusion or deduction can aggregate the housing expenses of both spouses, subject to the limit on housing expenses (line 29b), and subtract his or her base housing amount.

Separate foreign households

If you and your spouse lived in separate foreign households, you each can claim qualified expenses for your own household only if:

  • Your tax homes weren't within a reasonable commuting distance of each other, and
  • Each spouse's household wasn't within a reasonable commuting distance of the other spouse's tax home.

Otherwise, only one spouse can claim his or her housing exclusion or deduction. This is true even if you and your spouse file separate returns.

See Pub. 54 for additional information.

Line 29a
Enter the city or other location (if applicable) and the country where you incurred foreign housing expenses during the tax year only if your location is listed in the table at the end of the instructions; otherwise, leave this line blank.

Line 29b
Your housing expenses may not exceed a certain limit. The limit on housing expenses varies depending upon the location in which you incur housing expenses. In 2020, for most locations, this limit is $32,280 (30% of $107,600) if your qualifying period includes all of 2020 (or $88.20 per day if the number of days in your qualifying period that fall within your 2020 tax year is less than 366).

The table at the end of the instructions lists the housing expense limits based on geographic differences in foreign housing costs relative to housing costs in the United States. If the location in which you incurred housing expenses is listed in the table, or the number of days in your qualifying period that fall within the 2020 tax year is less than 366, use the Limit on Housing Expenses Worksheet, earlier, to figure the amount to enter on line 29b. If the location in which you incurred housing expenses is not listed in the table, and the number of days in your qualifying period is 366, enter $32,280 on line 29b.

Limit on Housing Expenses Worksheet—Line 29b

 

Note. If the location in which you incurred housing expenses isn't listed in the table at the end of the instructions, and the number of days in your qualifying period that fall within the 2020 tax year is 366, DO NOT complete this worksheet. Instead, enter $32,280 on line 29b.
1. Enter the number of days in your qualifying period that fall within the 2020 tax year. (See the instructions for line 31) 1. _____
2. Did you enter 366 on line 1?
This is an Image: box.gifNo. If the amount on line 1 is less than 366, skip line 2 and go to line 3.
This is an Image: box.gifYes. Locate the amount under the column Limit on Housing Expenses (full year) from the table at the end of the instructions for the location in which you incurred housing expenses. This is your limit on housing expenses. Enter the amount here and on line 29b. Also, see Election to apply higher limit on housing expenses, later.
This is an Image: stop.gifDo not complete the rest of this worksheet
2. _____
3. Enter the amount under the column Limit on Housing Expenses (daily) from the table at the end of the instructions for the location in which you incurred housing expenses. If the location isn't listed in the table, enter $88.20. Also, see Election to apply higher limit on housing expenses, later 3. _____
4. Multiply line 1 by line 3. This is your limit on housing expenses. Enter the result here and on line 29b 4. _____

Example 

For 2020, because your location is not listed in the table at the end of the instructions, your limit on housing expenses is $88.20 per day. If you file a calendar year return and your qualifying period is January 1, 2020, to October 3, 2020 (277 days), you would enter $24,431 on line 29b ($88.20 multiplied by 277 days).

Election to apply higher limit on housing expenses
For 2019, you could elect to apply the 2020 limits on housing expenses as discussed in section 4 of Notice 2020-13, available at IRS.gov/IRB/2020-11_IRB#NOT-2020-13.

The IRS and the Treasury Department anticipate that you will also be allowed to make an election to apply the 2021 limits to figure your 2020 limit on housing expenses. The authorization to make the election will be provided in a future annual notice published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin.

More than one foreign location
If you moved during the 2020 tax year and incurred housing expenses in more than one foreign location as a result, complete the Limit on Housing Expenses Worksheet above for each location in which you incurred housing expenses, entering the number of qualifying days during which you lived in the applicable location on line 1. Add the results shown on line 4 of each worksheet, and enter the total on line 29b.

.This is an Image: caution.gifIf you moved during the 2020 tax year and are completing more than one Limit on Housing Expenses Worksheet, the total number of days entered on line 1 of your worksheets may not exceed the total number of days in your qualifying period that fall within the 2020 tax year (that is, the number of days entered on Form 2555, line 31)..

Line 31
Enter the number of days in your qualifying period that fall within your 2020 tax year. Your qualifying period is the period during which you meet the tax home test and either the bona fide residence or the physical presence test.

Example
You establish a tax home and bona fide residence in a foreign country on August 14, 2020. You maintain the tax home and residence until January 31, 2022. You are a calendar year taxpayer. The number of days in your qualifying period that fall within your 2020 tax year is 140 (August 14 through December 31, 2020).

Nontaxable U.S. Government allowances
If you or your spouse received a nontaxable housing allowance as a military or civilian employee of the U.S. Government, see Pub. 54 for information on how that allowance may affect your housing exclusion or deduction.

Line 34
Enter any amount your employer paid or incurred on your behalf that is foreign earned income included in your gross income for the tax year (without regard to section 911).

Examples of employer-provided amounts are the following

  • Wages and salaries received from your employer.
  • The fair market value of compensation provided in kind (such as the fair rental value of lodging provided by your employer as long as it isn't excluded on line 25).
  • Rent paid by your employer directly to your landlord.
  • Amounts paid by your employer to reimburse you for housing expenses, educational expenses of your dependents, or as part of a tax equalization plan.

Self-employed individuals
If all of your foreign earned income (Part IV) is self-employment income, skip lines 34 and 35 and enter -0- on line 36. If you qualify for the housing deduction, be sure to complete Part IX.

Part VII

Married couples
If both you and your spouse qualify for, and choose to claim, the foreign earned income exclusion, figure the amount of the exclusion separately for each of you. You each must complete Part VII of your separate Forms 2555.

Community income
The amount of the exclusion is not affected by the income-splitting provisions of community property laws. The sum of the amounts figured separately for each of you is the total amount excluded on a joint return.

Part VIII

If you claim either of the exclusions, you can't claim any deduction, credit, or exclusion that is definitely related to the excluded income. If only part of your foreign earned income is excluded, you must prorate such items based on the ratio that your excludable earned income bears to your total foreign earned income. See Pub. 54 for details on how to figure the amount allocable to the excluded income.

The exclusion under section 119 and the housing deduction are not considered definitely related to the excluded income.

Line 44
Report in full on Schedule 1 (Form 1040) and related forms and schedules all deductions allowed in figuring your adjusted gross income (Form 1040, line 11). Enter on line 44 the total amount of those deductions (such as the deductible part of self-employment tax, and the expenses claimed on Schedule C (Form 1040)) that aren't allowed because they are allocable to the excluded income. This applies only to deductions definitely related to the excluded earned income. See Pub. 54 for details on how to report your itemized deductions that are allocable to the excluded income.

Line 45
Enter the amount from line 45 in parentheses as a negative number on Schedule 1 (Form 1040), line 8, Other income. In the blank space next to line 8, enter "Form 2555." Reduce the other items of additional income by the negative amount on line 8 and enter the total on Schedule 1 (Form 1040), line 9.

Enter the amount from line 9 of Schedule 1 (Form 1040) on line 8 of Form 1040 or 1040-SR. If line 9 of Schedule 1 (Form 1040) is a negative number, enter it on line 8 of Form 1040 or 1040-SR in parentheses. Reduce the total of lines 1 through 7 of Form 1040 or 1040-SR by this amount before reporting total income on line 9 of Form 1040 or 1040-SR.

Part IX

If line 33 is more than line 36 and line 27 is more than line 43, complete this part to figure your housing deduction.

Line 49
Use the Housing Deduction Carryover Worksheet above to figure your carryover from 2019.

One-year carryover
If the amount on line 46 is more than the amount on line 47, you can carry the difference over to your 2021 tax year. If you cannot deduct the excess in 2021 because of the 2021 limit, you cannot carry it over to any future tax year.

Housing Deduction Carryover Worksheet—Line 49

1. Enter the amount from your 2019 Form 2555, line 46 1. _____
2. Enter the amount from your 2019 Form 2555, line 48 2. _____
3. Subtract line 2 from line 1. If the result is zero, stop; enter -0- on line 49 of your 2020 Form 2555. You do not have any housing deduction carryover from 2019 3. _____
4. Enter the amount from your 2020 Form 2555, line 47 4. _____
5. Enter the amount from your 2020 Form 2555, line 48 5. _____
6. Subtract line 5 from line 4 6. _____
7. Enter the smaller of line 3 or line 6 here and on line 49 of your 2020 Form 2555. If line 3 is more than line 6, you cannot carry the difference over to any future tax year 7. _____

 

2020 LIMITS ON HOUSING EXPENSES
Country City or Other Location Limit on Housing
Expenses (daily)
Limit on Housing
Expenses (full year)
Angola Luanda 229.51 84,000
Argentina Buenos Aires 154.37 56,500
Australia Canberra 96.45 35,300
Sydney 185.52 67,900
Austria Vienna 96.72 35,400
Bahamas, The Nassau 135.79 49,700
Bahrain Bahrain 131.97 48,300
Barbados Barbados 103.01 37,700
Bridgetown 103.01 37,700
Belgium Brussels 110.66 40,500
Gosselies 98.63 36,100
Belgium (continued) Mons 98.63 36,100
SHAPE/Chievres 98.63 36,100
Bermuda Bermuda 245.90 90,000
Brazil Rio de Janeiro 95.90 35,100
Sao Paulo 154.64 56,600
Canada Calgary 104.37 38,200
Montreal 142.35 52,100
Ottawa 120.22 44,000
Quebec 94.54 34,600
Toronto 136.61 50,000
Vancouver 123.77 45,300
Victoria 107.92 39,500
Cayman Islands Grand Cayman 131.15 48,000
Chile Santiago 93.99 34,400
China Beijing 188.52 69,000
Hong Kong 312.30 114,300
Shanghai 155.74 57,001
Colombia Bogota 160.38 58,700
All cities other than Bogota 134.97 49,400
Costa Rica San Jose 103.28 37,800
Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa 114.75 42,000
Denmark Copenhagen 119.41 43,704
Dominican Republic Santo Domingo 124.32 45,500
Ecuador Quito 104.37 38,200
Estonia Tallinn 127.32 46,600
France Garches 189.62 69,400
Lyon 104.92 38,400
Marseille 102.19 37,400
Paris 189.62 69,400
Sevres 189.62 69,400
Suresnes 189.62 69,400
Versailles 189.62 69,400
Germany Babenhausen 92.90 34,000
Baumholder 92.35 33,800
Berlin 113.66 41,600
Birkenfeld 92.35 33,800
Boeblingen 110.11 40,300
Bonn 114.75 42,000
Cologne 153.55 56,200
Darmstadt 92.90 34,000
Frankfurt am Main 96.99 35,500
Gelnhausen 117.21 42,900
Giessen 98.36 36,000
Grafenwoehr 93.99 34,400
Hanau 117.21 42,900
Idar-Oberstein 92.35 33,800
Ingolstadt 132.79 48,600
Kaiserslautern, Landkreis 115.30 42,200
Karlsruhe 89.62 32,800
Koblenz 91.26 33,400
Ludwigsburg 110.11 40,300
Mainz 127.05 46,500
Munich 132.79 48,600
Nellingen 110.11 40,300
Neubruecke 92.35 33,800
Germany (continued) Ober Ramstadt 92.90 34,000
Pfullendorf 91.26 33,400
Pirmasens 115.30 42,200
Sembach 115.30 42,200
Stuttgart 110.11 40,300
Vilseck 93.99 34,400
Wahn 114.75 42,000
Wiesbaden 127.05 46,500
Zweibrueken 115.30 42,200
All cities other than Augsburg, Babenhausen, Bad Aibling, Bad Kreuznach, Bad Nauheim, Baumholder, Berchtesgaden, Berlin, Birkenfeld, Boeblingen, Bonn, Bremen, Bremerhaven, Butzbach, Cologne, Darmstadt, Delmenhorst, Duesseldorf, Erlangen, Flensburg, Frankfurt am Main, Friedberg, Fuerth, Garlstedt, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Geilenkirchen, Gelnhausen, Germersheim, Giebelstadt, Giessen, Grafenwoehr, Grefrath, Greven, Gruenstadt, Hamburg, Hanau, Handorf, Hannover, Heidelberg, Heilbronn, Herongen, Idar-Oberstein, Ingolstadt, Kaiserslautern, Landkreis, Kalkar, Karlsruhe, Kerpen, Kitzingen, Koblenz, Leimen, Leipzig, Ludwigsburg, Mainz, Mannheim, Mayen, Moenchen-Gladbach, Muenster, Munich, Nellingen, Neubruecke, Noervenich, Nuernberg, Ober Ramstadt, Oberammergau, Osterholz-Scharmbeck, Pfullendorf, Pirmasens, Rheinau, Rheinberg, Schwabach, Schwetzingen, Seckenheim, Sembach, Stuttgart, Twisteden, Vilseck, Wahn, Wertheim, Wiesbaden, Worms, Wuerzburg, Zirndorf, and Zweibrueken 91.26 33,400
Ghana Accra 98.36 36,000
Greece Athens 92.90 34,000
Elefsis 92.90 34,000
Ellinikon 92.90 34,000
Mt. Parnis 92.90 34,000
Mt. Pateras 92.90 34,000
Nea Makri 92.90 34,000
Piraeus 92.90 34,000
Tanagra 92.90 34,000
Guatemala Guatemala City 114.75 42,000
Guinea Conakry 140.16 51,300
Guyana Georgetown 95.63 35,000
Holy See, The Holy See, The 126.23 46,200
Hungary Budapest 88.80 32,500
India Mumbai 185.57 67,920
New Delhi 153.34 56,124
Indonesia Jakarta 103.21 37,776
Ireland Dublin 109.84 40,200
Israel Beer Sheva 156.83 57,400
Tel Aviv 138.80 50,800
Italy Genoa 114.21 41,800
La Spezia 110.38 40,400
Milan 188.52 69,000
Naples 129.51 47,400
Parma 95.90 35,100
Pordenone-Aviano 100.55 36,800
Rome 126.23 46,200
Italy (continued) Turin 94.54 34,600
Vicenza 105.46 38,600
Jamaica Kingston 112.57 41,200
Japan Atsugi 113.66 41,600
Camp Zama 113.66 41,600
Chiba-Ken 113.66 41,600
Fussa 113.66 41,600
Gifu 203.01 74,300
Haneda 113.66 41,600
Iwakuni 89.62 32,800
Kanagawa-Ken 113.66 41,600
Komaki 203.01 74,300
Machida-Shi 113.66 41,600
Misawa 90.71 33,200
Nagoya 203.01 74,300
Okinawa Prefecture 157.10 57,500
Osaka-Kobe 247.72 90,664
Sagamihara 113.66 41,600
Saitama-Ken 113.66 41,600
Sasebo 93.17 34,100
Tachikawa 113.66 41,600
Tokyo 254.64 93,200
Tokyo-to 113.66 41,600
Yokohama 135.52 49,600
Yokosuka 139.89 51,200
Yokota 107.10 39,200
Jerusalem Jerusalem 133.88 49,000
West Bank 133.88 49,000
Kazakhstan Almaty 131.15 48,000
Korea Camp Colbern 148.09 54,200
Camp Market 146.99 53,800
Camp Mercer 148.09 54,200
K-16 146.99 53,800
Kimpo Airfield 146.99 53,800
Osan AB 96.45 35,300
Pyongtaek 105.46 38,600
Seoul 146.99 53,800
Suwon 146.99 53,800
Taegu 89.89 32,900
Tongduchon 96.17 35,200
Kuwait Kuwait City 175.96 64,400
All cities other than Kuwait City 157.65 57,700
Luxembourg Luxembourg 103.55 37,900
Macedonia Skopje 96.72 35,400
Malaysia Kuala Lumpur 126.23 46,200
All cities other than Kuala Lumpur 92.08 33,700
Malta Malta 150.55 55,100
Mexico Merida 103.55 37,900
Mexico City 130.87 47,900
Monterrey 90.71 33,200
All cities other than Ciudad Juarez, Cuernavaca, Guadalajara, Hermosillo, Matamoros, Mazatlan, Merida, Metapa, Mexico City, Monterrey, Nogales, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa, Tapachula, Tijuana, Tuxtla Gutierrez, and Veracruz 107.65 39,400
Mozambique Maputo 107.92 39,500
Netherlands Amsterdam 144.54 52,900
Aruba 106.83 39,100
Brunssum 94.54 34,600
Eygelshoven 94.54 34,600
Hague, The 150.55 55,100
Heerlen 94.54 34,600
Hoensbroek 94.54 34,600
Hulsberg 94.54 34,600
Kerkrade 94.54 34,600
Landgraaf 94.54 34,600
Maastricht 94.54 34,600
Papendrecht 90.71 33,200
Rotterdam 90.71 33,200
Schaesburg 94.54 34,600
Schinnen 94.54 34,600
Schiphol 144.54 52,900
Ypenburg 150.55 55,100
All cities other than Amsterdam, Aruba, Brunssum, Coevorden, Eygelshoven, The Hague, Heerlen, Hoensbroek, Hulsberg, Kerkrade, Landgraaf, Maastricht, Margraten, Papendrecht, Rotterdam, Schaesburg, Schinnen, Schiphol, and Ypenburg 89.62 32,800
Netherlands Antilles Curacao 125.14 45,800
New Zealand Auckland 97.54 35,700
Wellington 92.35 33,800
Nigeria Abuja 98.36 36,000
Norway Oslo 89.62 32,800
Oman Muscat 112.84 41,300
Panama Panama City 107.92 39,500
Peru Lima 106.83 39,100
Philippines Cavite 107.38 39,300
Manila 107.38 39,300
Poland Warsaw 111.75 40,900
Portugal Alverca 115.57 42,300
Lisbon 115.57 42,300
Qatar Doha 125.38 45,888
All cities other than Doha 88.52 32,400
Romania Bucharest 112.57 41,200
Russia Moscow 295.08 108,000
Saint Petersburg 163.93 60,000
Sakhalin Island 211.75 77,500
Vladivostok 211.75 77,500
Yekaterinburg 129.51 47,400
Saudi Arabia Jeddah 83.79 30,667
Riyadh 109.29 40,000
Singapore Singapore 226.50 82,900
Slovenia Ljubljana 132.51 48,500
South Africa Pretoria 107.38 39,300
Spain Barcelona 110.93 40,600
Madrid 153.83 56,300
Rota 93.99 34,400
Valencia 88.52 32,400
Suriname Paramaribo 90.16 33,000
Switzerland Bern 179.23 65,600
Switzerland (continued) Geneva 254.92 93,300
Zurich 107.16 39,219
All cities other than Bern, Geneva, and Zurich 89.89 32,900
Taiwan Taipei 126.20 46,188
Tanzania Dar Es Salaam 120.22 44,000
Thailand Bangkok 161.20 59,000
Trinidad and Tobago Port of Spain 148.91 54,500
Ukraine Kiev 196.72 72,000
United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi 135.76 49,687
Dubai 156.21 57,174
United Kingdom Basingstoke 112.29 41,099
Bath 112.02 41,000
Bracknell 169.67 62,100
Bristol 89.07 32,600
Brookwood 89.07 32,600
Cambridge 96.99 35,500
Caversham 201.64 73,800
Cheltenham 118.31 43,300
Croughton 102.19 37,400
Fairford 96.45 35,300
Farnborough 149.45 54,700
Felixstowe 93.72 34,300
Gibraltar 121.90 44,616
Harrogate 105.46 38,600
High Wycombe 169.67 62,100
Huntingdon 100.27 36,700
Kemble 96.45 35,300
Lakenheath 130.60 47,800
London 195.36 71,500
Loudwater 154.10 56,400
Menwith Hill 105.46 38,600
Mildenhall 130.60 47,800
Oxfordshire 98.09 35,900
Plymouth 98.09 35,900
Portsmouth 98.09 35,900
Reading 169.67 62,100
Rochester 100.82 36,900
Samlesbury 100.27 36,700
Southampton 120.77 44,200
Surrey 132.25 48,402
Waterbeach 100.27 36,700
Wiltshire 94.81 34,700
All cities other than Basingstoke, Bath, Belfast, Birmingham, Bracknell, Bristol, Brookwood, Brough, Cambridge, Caversham, Chelmsford, Cheltenham, Chicksands, Croughton, Dunstable, Edinburgh, Edzell, Fairford, Farnborough, Felixstowe, Ft. Halstead, Gibraltar, Glenrothes, Greenham Common, Harrogate, High Wycombe, Huntingdon, Hythe, Kemble, Lakenheath, Liverpool, London, Loudwater, Menwith Hill, Mildenhall, Nottingham, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Reading, Rochester, Samlesbury, Southampton, Surrey, Waterbeach, Welford, West Byfleet, and Wiltshire 100.27 36,700
Venezuela Caracas 155.74 57,000
Vietnam Hanoi 127.87 46,800
Ho Chi Minh City 114.75 42,000

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