If you do not meet the Bona Fide Residency test and also do not meet the Physical Presence Test, you should file an extension (Form 2350, Application for Extension of Time to File a US Income Tax Return).
You should request an extension of time to file if all three of the following apply:
- You are a U.S. citizen or resident alien,
- You expect to meet either the bona fide residence test or the physical presence test, but not until after your tax return is due, and
- Your tax home is in a foreign country (or countries) throughout your period of bona fide residence or physical presence, whichever applies.
You may also want to check if you meet one of the two exceptions to meeting the requirements of the bona fide residence and physical residence tests.
To see if you qualify for this waiver, you can visit the IRS website here.
What is the Physical and Bona Fide Residency Test?
The physical presence test is met if you are physically present in a foreign country for 330 full days during any period of 12 consecutive months including some part of the year at issue. The Bona Fide Residence Test is met when you are in a foreign country for a consecutive period of no less than 1 tax year. The main difference between the two is the Physical Presence test focuses on the time spent out of the U.S. while the Bona Fide Residence Test looks at what your intentions and activities are while you are out of the country.
If you would like help with how to figure the 12-month period or more information on the Physical Presence Test, please see our KB article here. You can find more information on qualifications of the Bona Fide Residency Test, in our KB article here.
Keep in mind that any monies owed will still need to be paid by the April deadline.
You can find additional information at the IRS websites below
Choosing the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion
Foreign Earned Income Exclusion - Bona Fide Residence Test