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Merlo, Accountant
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 9783
Experience:  25+ years tax consulting. Specializing in returns for US citizens living abroad
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HELLO, MY name is Evelyn. In January 2009 I took a position

Customer Question

HELLO, MY name is Evelyn. In January 2009 I took a position as a contractor to work in Germany providing mental health services to US Military personal (ARMY AND AIR FORCE). In May 2009, my only son passed away suddently. I went back to work after two weeks. However, due to the emotion pain and the idea of facing the holidays alone and the type of work I was doing, I returned home to New Jersey to be with family as I continue to grieve. I just learned that I now will have to pay income taxes because, I did not stay abroad for 365 days. Do you see any recourse for me? I went over there to work with US Military personal who were suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Now, I am devastated and cannot imagine how I will pay. Please advise. Thank you.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Merlo replied 7 years ago.

Hello Evelyn,


First of all, I am terribly sorry to hear of the loss of your son. I cannot even begin to imagine the emotional stress and grief of such a loss.


Unfortunately, even under those terrible circumstances, this does not qualify as far as an exception to meeting the 330 day physical presence test. There are some exceptions to meeting that test, but this is not one of them. The regulations state the following:


330 Full Days

Generally, to meet the physical presence test, you must be physically present in a foreign country or countries for at least 330 full days during the 12-month period. You can count days you spent abroad for any reason. You do not have to be in a foreign country only for employment purposes. You can be on vacation time.

You do not meet the physical presence test if illness, family problems, a vacation, or your employer's orders cause you to be present for less than the required amount of time.


Generally the only time that an exception is allowed to the physical presence test is when there is civil unrest or war in the country where you are working which forces you to leave the country for your own safety.


I truly wish I could have given you better news.


If this was helpful please press the Accept button.


Thank you Evelyn



Edited by Merlo on 4/2/2010 at 2:32 AM EST