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Foreign Earned Income Exclusion

International Tax Gap Series

United States citizens and resident aliens are taxed on their worldwide income, whether the person lives inside or outside of the United States. However, qualifying U.S. citizens and resident aliens who live and work abroad may be able to exclude from their income all or part of their foreign salary or wages, or amounts received as compensation for their personal services. In addition, they may also qualify to exclude or deduct certain foreign housing costs.

A common misconception that contributes to the international tax gap is that this potentially excludable foreign earned income is exempt income not reportable on a US tax return. In fact, only a qualifying individual with qualifying income may elect to exclude foreign earned income and this exclusion applies only if a tax return is filed and the income is reported.

Refer to the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion page for more details.


References and Links

International Customer Service: 267-941-1000 (Not a toll-free number)

International Taxpayer

Publication 54, Tax Guide for US Citizens and Residents

Publication 519, US Tax Guide for Aliens

Form 2555, Foreign Earned Income

Form 2555-EZ, Foreign Earned Income Exclusion


Return to:  
The International Tax Gap Series

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 25-Nov-2015