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Can US expatriates leverage the bona fide residence test for tax advantages?

Absolutely. For US citizens, dual nationals, or green card holders residing in Qatar, the Bona Fide Residence Test (BFR) is a valuable tool to qualify for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE). It offers a flexible approach for those who may spend more time in the US than the Physical Presence Test allows.

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Can spending over 35 days in the US still qualify you for the FEIE?

Yes, spending more than 35 days in the US doesn’t automatically disqualify you from FEIE eligibility through the BFR. The key is to establish and maintain genuine ties to a foreign country as your primary residence, rather than just focusing on the number of days spent outside the US. However, extensive time in the US, such as nine months, might weaken your claim to the BFR.

What establishes you as a bona fide resident?

To qualify for the BFR, you must demonstrate a genuine residency in a foreign country, like Qatar, for an entire calendar year. 

This involves showing a long-term commitment to residing abroad, which can include limiting trips back to the US within that year. The BFR criteria evaluate your connections and intentions regarding your stay in the foreign country.

When should I seek expert advice to learn more about the BFR?

Assessing eligibility for the BFR can be complex since it looks at your personal circumstances.

If your time in the US and abroad is somewhat balanced or if you’re uncertain about your qualification for the FEIE under the BFR, consulting a tax professional is crucial. A tax expert can evaluate your specific situation, help you understand your ties to Qatar, and guide you on optimizing your tax benefits as an expatriate.

Why partner with a specialist Expat accountant?

Living outside of the US can make your tax filing requirements complicated. To ensure you pay the minimum amount of taxes, it’s critical to work with an accountant who understands every aspect and avenue for reducing your tax liability. We have a dedicated team of tax accountants who work exclusively with US expats earning and investing in Germany. Partnering with a specialist expat accountant can help you navigate complex tax regulations and optimize your tax situation.


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