Section 911

Section 911

Section 911 And The Timing Of A Foreign Earned Income Exclusion Election

Section 911(a) of the Code allows qualified citizens and residents of the United
States living abroad to elect to exclude from gross income the foreign earned income
and housing cost amounts of such individuals. This is more commonly known as the foreign earned income exclusion and housing exclusion. Treas. Reg. 1.911-7(a) sets forth the procedural rules for making a valid section 911 election. The election must be made on Form 2555 or on a comparable form, and must be filed with the income tax return or with an amended return. With respect to the timing of the election, Treas. Reg. 1.911-7(a)(2)(i) provides that a valid section 911 election must be made:

  1. With an income tax return that is timely filed (including any extensions of time
    to file);
  2. With a later return filed within the period prescribed in section 6511(a)
    amending a timely filed income tax return;
  3. With an original return filed within one year after the due date of the return
    (determined without regard to any extension of time to file); or
  4. With an income tax return filed after the period described in the above paragraphs provided
    • The taxpayer owes no federal income tax after taking into account the
      exclusion and files Form 1040 with Form 2555 or a comparable form
      attached either before or after the Internal Revenue Service discovers that
      the taxpayer failed to elect the exclusion; or
    • The taxpayer owes federal income tax after taking into account the
      exclusion and files Form 1040 with Form 2555 or a comparable form
      attached before the Internal Revenue Service discovers that the taxpayer
      failed to elect the exclusion.

Thus, it is of great importance that if you have unfiled returns or late returns that you file your past due tax returns and claim the foreign earned income exclusion (Section 911 election) on Form 2555 before the IRS discovers that you have failed to elect the exclusion.

Tax Samaritan is a team of Enrolled Agents with over 25 years of experience focusing on the taxation of US taxpayers. Our services include the Section 911 election for the foreign earned income exclusion in order to preserve your rights to this means to significant tax savings. We maintain this tax blog where all articles are written by Enrolled Agents. Our main objective is to educate Americans abroad on their tax responsibilities, so that they can look for planning alternatives on time. They are also designed to help taxpayers looking to self prepare, providing specific tips and pitfalls to avoid. If you found this article helpful, you’ll likely benefit from our future ones as well – so we encourage you to avoid pitfalls and join our mailing list:

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Randall Brody is an enrolled agent, licensed by the US Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before the IRS for audits, collections and appeals. To attain the enrolled agent designation, candidates must demonstrate expertise in taxation, fulfill continuing education credits and adhere to a stringent code of ethics.

Every effort has been taken to provide the most accurate and honest analysis of the tax information provided in this blog. Please use your discretion before making any decisions based on the information provided. This blog is not intended to be a substitute for seeking professional tax advice based on

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About Randall Brody

Randall Brody is a tax expert with a vast knowledge of the intricacies and nuances of the tax code to benefit US taxpayers. 

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