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.

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All About Randall Brody
Randall is the Founder of Tax Samaritan, a boutique firm specializing in the preparation of taxes and the resolution of tax problems for Americans living abroad, as well as the other unique tax issues that apply to taxpayers. Here, they help taxpayers save money on their tax returns.

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