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Robin D.
Robin D., Senior Tax Advisor 4
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 13119
Experience:  15years with H & R Block. Divisional leader, Instructor
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As an expat, the first $90K (approximately) is not taxed.

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As an expat, the first $90K (approximately) is not taxed. How much money does my wife have to earn to raise our combined non-taxed income to $180K?

Robin D :

Hello and thank you for using Just Answer,
Each spouse is allowed to use the Form 2555 to exclude earned Income form a foreign country. So, if one spouse has earned $90k the other may have same and they are each allowed to exclude.

Robin D :

For 2013 the foreign earned income exclusion rises to $97,600, up from $95,100 in 2012.

Robin D :

Foreign-source earned income doesn't include:

  • Compensation from the U.S. government or its agencies paid to members of the military or civilians working abroad

  • Value of meals and lodging excluded from income since it was furnished for the convenience of the employer

  • Pension and annuity income, including Social Security benefits

  • Wages paid by the U.S. government or 1 of its agencies

  • Amounts included in income due to employer contributions to a nonexempt employee trust or nonqualified annuity contract

Robin D :

Please let me know if the above does not address your concern.

Robin D :

Customer Last Viewed Today at 9:18 Did you have any other questions about this subject when you viewed it?

Robin D :

Customer Last Viewed Today at 12:27

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Is there a minimum she has to earn to be allowed to increase our joint allowance from $90k to $180k?

To increase your combined income that is excluded she would need to make the $90,000 if you also earned $90,000 and you each claimed the Earned Income Exclusion.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So if I earned $170k and she earned $10k, it would not qualify for our two $90k allowances?

You each would need to file your own 2555 forms. You could not use her amount that she was not using. In other words, her exclusion is hers only and you cannot use any left over amount of her exclusion against your income that is more than your own exclusion.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So for the $170k/$10k example, I would get $90k tax free and she would get $10k tax free. Correct?


If you had Earned iNcome of $170,000 you would be allowed to exclude the $90,000 (plus) and if she had $10,000 she would exclude the full $10,000.
BUT, you could not use her unused maximum amount to exclude anymore of your income.
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