Physical-Presence Test

DEFINITION of 'Physical-Presence Test'

Similar to the bona fide foreign residence test, the physical-presence test allows taxpayers to claim the foreign earned income exclusion. The test mandates that a taxpayer must be physically present in a foreign country for at least 330 full days out of the year in order to claim the exclusion. The days do not have to be consecutive and the test applies both to U.S. citizens and resident aliens.

BREAKING DOWN 'Physical-Presence Test'

The reason for being abroad is irrelevant to this test. However, a family emergency, illness or employer directive is not a sufficient reason to allow for the exclusion if it causes the taxpayer to be present in a foreign country for less than the required 330 days. Furthermore, a "day" is considered a full 24-hour period, so days of arrival and departure in a foreign country do not count toward the required time.

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