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I have been in Afghanistan 4 years as a US contractor. In 2012 I filed my taxes from Jan 1 to Dec 31. If I stay in Afghanistan for the first 6 months of 2013, am I still exempt or must I pay full tax on that 6 months, even though I have been here for 4 years because of the 330 day rule?
The rule for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (Form 2555) is based on one of two rules. 1. Bona fide residence test = the individual must be a resident for an uninterrupted period that includes an entire tax year OR 2. Physical presence test = the individual must be physically present in a foreign country or countries 330 full days during a period of 12 consecutive months.
You will meet the second test, the 330 days do not need to take place during a calendar year. However you must reduce the exclusion based on the number of days to account for only the days during a calendar year that you were present in the foreign country. Basically you get half 1/2 the exclusion for 2013. Annual exclusion for 2013 is $97,600, 6 months or 1/2 you would qualify for = $48,800
Source: IRS Pub 54, Form 255 instructions and IRC &911