What is the Physical Presence 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 330 qualifying days do not have to be consecutive.
How to figure the 12-month period
There are four rules you should know when figuring the 12-month period:
- A 12-month period can begin with any day of the month. It ends the day before the same calendar day, 12 months later.
- A 12-month period must be made up of consecutive months. Any 12-month period can be used if the 330 days in a foreign country fall within that period.
- You do not have to begin a 12-month period with your first full day in a foreign country or to end it with the day you leave. You can choose the 12-month period that gives you the greatest exclusion.
- In determining whether the 12-month period falls within a longer stay in the foreign country, 12-month periods can overlap one another.
What if I don't meet the 330 day rule?
If you have not met the 330 day minimum using 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.
Keep in mind that any monies owed will still need to be paid by the April deadline.