IRS Tax Help for Expats

Adverse conditions may allow certain U.S. citizens to claim foreign earned income and housing cost exclusions [Rev Proc 2009-22]:

Individuals who were forced to leave certain foreign countries in 2008 because of adverse conditions may still qualify as bona fide residents of that country for purposes of the IRC §911 foreign income tax exclusion. Under IRC §911(a), qualified individuals may exclude foreign earned income and housing expenses from their gross income for tax purposes.

To qualify for the exclusion, an individual must prove that he has lived in a foreign country for at least 330 full days during any period of 12 consecutive months. However, if instances of war, civil unrest, or other adverse conditions force an individual to leave a country before the 330-day requirement is met, that individual can still qualify for the exclusion if he can prove that he would have otherwise stayed in the country.

For 2008, the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, has determined that war, civil unrest, or similar adverse conditions precluded the normal conduct of business in the following countries, beginning on the date noted below:

    • Chad – Feb. 3, 2008;
    • Serbia – Feb. 22, 2008; and
    • Yemen – April 7, 2008.

For purposes of IRC §911, an individual who left one of the above-listed countries on or after the specified departure date will be treated as a qualified individual with respect to the period during which that individual was present in, or was a bona fide resident of, such foreign country, if the individual establishes a reasonable expectation of meeting the requirements in IRC §911(d).

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