Foreign Housing Exclusion: A Guide for US Expats Overseas | Castro & Co. [2024]

For US citizens living and working abroad, understanding the intricacies of the tax code can be a daunting task. One particular provision that can significantly impact the tax liability of expatriates is the Foreign Housing Exclusion. In this article, we will dive deep into the topic of the Foreign Housing Exclusion, explaining what it is, how to qualify for it, and how it can benefit you as a US expat overseas. We will also discuss the updated numbers for the exclusion in 2022 and 2023 and highlight the advantages of seeking assistance from experienced tax attorneys like Castro & Co.

What is the Foreign Housing Exclusion?

The Foreign Housing Exclusion is a provision in the US tax code that allows qualified US expatriates to exclude a portion of their foreign housing expenses from their taxable income. This exclusion is designed to mitigate the financial burden of maintaining a home abroad while ensuring that US citizens living overseas are not subject to double taxation. By excluding a portion of their housing expenses, expatriates can reduce their overall tax liability.

Do I Qualify for the Foreign Housing Exclusion?

Qualifying for the Foreign Housing Exclusion involves meeting certain criteria set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). To be eligible, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Foreign Tax Home: You must have a foreign tax home, which means that you have a closer connection to a foreign country than to the United States. This typically involves residing in a foreign country for an extended period.
  • Income from Abroad: You must have foreign-earned income, such as wages, salary, or self-employment income, earned while living abroad.
  • Qualifying Expenses: You must incur eligible housing expenses related to your foreign residence.

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How Much is the Foreign Housing Exclusion?

When residing overseas, you may become eligible for both the Foreign Housing deduction and the Foreign Housing exclusion. The Foreign Housing deduction hinges on your real housing expenditures abroad, capped at 30% of the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE), minus a fundamental housing amount equivalent to 16% of the FEIE. This computation establishes the highest sum that you can exclude from your taxable income through the Foreign Housing Exclusion, which equates to 14% of the FEIE.

For the tax year 2022 (to be reported in 2023), the highest standard housing exclusion stands at $15,680. However, for the tax year 2023 (to be reported in 2024), this maximum standard exclusion climbs to $16,800. These figures can significantly reduce your tax obligations and enable you to retain a more substantial portion of your foreign income.

What are Qualified Housing Expenses?

Qualified housing expenses are the costs associated with maintaining a residence in a foreign country. These expenses can include:

  • Rent or mortgage payments
  • Utilities (water, electricity, gas)
  • Property insurance
  • Real estate taxes
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Security expenses
  • Parking fees or garage rent

It's important to note that the IRS places limitations on the types of housing expenses that can be included in the Foreign Housing Exclusion calculation. Extravagant or excessive expenses may not qualify.

Benefits of Using a Tax Attorney to Help You Claim the Foreign Housing Exclusion

Navigating the intricacies of the Foreign Housing Exclusion can be a complex and challenging task. That's where the expertise of experienced tax attorneys like those at Castro & Co. can prove invaluable. Here are some compelling reasons to consider seeking professional assistance:

Expertise and Knowledge: Tax attorneys are well-versed in tax law, including the Foreign Housing Exclusion provisions. They can provide you with accurate guidance on eligibility criteria, qualified expenses, and tax-saving strategies.

Maximizing Benefits: Tax attorneys can help you maximize the benefits of the Foreign Housing Exclusion by ensuring that you claim all eligible expenses and take advantage of the standard housing amount when applicable.

Compliance and Documentation: Filing for the Foreign Housing Exclusion requires meticulous documentation and compliance with IRS regulations. A tax attorney can help you gather the necessary documents and ensure that your tax return is in full compliance with tax laws.

Avoiding Errors and Audits: Filing incorrectly or making errors on your tax return can lead to audits and legal complications. Tax attorneys can help you avoid these pitfalls and provide peace of mind.

Strategic Planning: A tax attorney can work with you to develop a strategic tax plan that aligns with your financial goals and minimizes your tax liability while fully utilizing the Foreign Housing Exclusion.


As a US expatriate living overseas, understanding the Foreign Housing Exclusion is essential to managing your tax liability effectively. By claiming this exclusion, you can reduce your taxable income and keep more of your hard-earned money. Keep in mind that the maximum standard housing exclusion for 2023 is $16,800, offering a substantial opportunity for tax savings.

To navigate the complexities of the Foreign Housing Exclusion with confidence, consider enlisting the assistance of experienced tax attorneys like those at Castro & Co. Their expertise can help you make the most of this tax benefit while ensuring compliance with IRS regulations. Don't miss out on the potential tax savings available to you as a US expat overseas; explore the Foreign Housing Exclusion and take advantage of the benefits it offers.

Contact Our Firm

Contact our firm today to schedule a free consultation by clicking here to submit your information online and be contacted by our firm.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute financial or tax advice. Readers are advised to consult with qualified tax professionals before making any financial decisions.

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