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Publication 54

Tax Guide for 
U.S. Citizens 
Resident Aliens 


Future Developments(p1)

For the latest information about developments related to Pub. 54, such as legislation enacted after it was published, go to

What's New(p2)

Disaster tax relief.(p2)
Disaster tax relief was enacted for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey, Irma, or Maria. See Pub. 976, Disaster Relief, for details.
Exclusion amount.(p2)
The maximum foreign earned income exclusion is adjusted annually for inflation. For 2017, the maximum exclusion has increased to $102,100. See Limit on Excludable Amount under Foreign Earned Income Exclusion in chapter 4.
Housing expenses—base amount.(p2)
The computation of the base housing amount (line 32 of Form 2555) is tied to the maximum foreign earned income exclusion. The amount is 16 percent of the exclusion amount (computed on a daily basis), multiplied by the number of days in your qualifying period that fall within your 2017 tax year. For 2017, this amount is $44.76 per day ($16,336 per year). See Housing Amount under Foreign Housing Exclusion and Deduction in chapter 4.
Housing expenses—maximum amount.(p2)
The amount of qualified housing expenses eligible for the housing exclusion and housing deduction has changed for some locations. See Limit on housing expenses under Foreign Housing Exclusion and Deduction in chapter 4.
Filing requirements.(p2)
Generally, the amount of income you can receive before you must file an income tax return has increased. These amounts are shown in chapter 1 under Filing Requirements.
Self-employment tax rate.(p2)
For 2017, the maximum amount of net earnings from self-employment that is subject to the social security part of the self-employment tax increases to $127,200. All net earnings are subject to the Medicare part of the tax. For more information, see chapter 3.
IRA limitations for 2017. (p2)
You may be able to take an IRA deduction if you were covered by a retirement plan and your 2017 modified adjusted gross income (AGI) is less than $72,000 ($119,000 if married filing jointly or a qualifying widow(er)). These limits are increased from 2016. If your spouse was covered by a retirement plan, but you were not, you may be able to take an IRA deduction if your 2017 modified AGI is less than $196,000. See the Instructions for Form 1040 or the Instructions for Form 1040A for details and exceptions.


Denial or revocation of United States passport.(p2)
The Internal Revenue Service is required to notify the State Department of taxpayers certified as owing a seriously delinquent tax debt. The State Department is generally prohibited from issuing or renewing a passport to a taxpayer with seriously delinquent tax debt.
If you currently have a valid passport, the State Department may revoke your passport or limit your ability to travel outside the United States. Additional information on passport certification is available at
Individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) renewal.(p2)
An ITIN for a nonresident alien spouse or dependent used on a prior year income tax return may require renewal. For more information go to
Figuring tax on income not excluded.(p2)
If you claim the foreign earned income exclusion, the housing exclusion, or both, you must figure the tax on your nonexcluded income using the tax rates that would have applied had you not claimed the exclusions. See the Instructions for Form 1040 and complete the Foreign Earned Income Tax Worksheet to figure the amount of tax to enter on Form 1040, line 44. If you must attach Form 6251 to your return, use the Foreign Earned Income Tax Worksheet provided in the Instructions for Form 6251.
Form 8938.(p2)
If you had foreign financial assets in 2017, you may have to file Form 8938 with your return. See Form 8938 in chapter 1.
Photographs of missing children.(p2)
The IRS is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC). Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child.


This publication discusses special tax rules for U.S. citizens and resident aliens who work abroad or who have income earned in foreign countries.
If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, your worldwide income generally is subject to U.S. income tax, regardless of where you are living. Also, you are subject to the same income tax filing requirements that apply to U.S. citizens or resident aliens living in the United States. Expatriation tax provisions apply to U.S. citizens who have renounced their citizenship and long-term residents who have ended their residency. These provisions are discussed in chapter 4 of Pub. 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.

Resident alien.(p2)

A resident alien is an individual who is not a citizen or national of the United States and who meets either the green card test or the substantial presence test for the calendar year.
  1. Green card test. You are a U.S. resident if you were a lawful permanent resident of the United States at any time during the calendar year. This is known as the green card test because resident aliens hold immigrant visas (also known as green cards).
  2. Substantial presence test. You are considered a U.S. resident if you meet the substantial presence test for the calendar year. To meet this test, you must be physically present in the United States on at least:
    1. 31 days during the current calendar year, and
    2. A total of 183 days during the current year and the 2 preceding years, counting all the days of physical presence in the current year, but only 1/3 the number of days of presence in the first preceding year, and only 1/6 the number of days in the second preceding year.


You were physically present in the United States on 120 days in each of the years 2015, 2016, and 2017. To determine if you meet the substantial presence test for 2017, count the full 120 days of presence in 2017, 40 days in 2016 (1/3 of 120), and 20 days in 2015 (1/6 of 120). Because the total for the 3-year period is 180 days, you are not considered a resident under the substantial presence test for 2017.
For more information on resident and nonresident status, the tests for residence, and the exceptions to them, see Pub. 519.

Filing information.(p2)

Chapter 1 contains general filing information, such as:

Withholding tax.(p2)

Chapter 2 discusses the withholding of income, social security, and Medicare taxes from the pay of U.S. citizens and resident aliens.

Self-employment tax.(p2)

Chapter 3 discusses who must pay self-employment tax.

Foreign earned income exclusion and housing exclusion and deduction.(p2)

Chapter 4 discusses income tax benefits that apply if you meet certain requirements while living abroad. You may qualify to treat up to $102,100 of your income as not taxable by the United States. You also may be able to either deduct part of your housing expenses from your income or treat a limited amount of income used for housing expenses as not taxable by the United States. These benefits are called the foreign earned income exclusion and the foreign housing deduction and exclusion.
To qualify for either of the exclusions or the deduction, you must have a tax home in a foreign country and earn income from personal services performed in a foreign country. These rules are explained in chapter 4.
If you are going to exclude or deduct your income as discussed above, you must file Form 2555 or Form 2555-EZ.

Exemptions, deductions, and credits.(p2)

Chapter 5 discusses exemptions, deductions, and credits you may be able to claim on your return. These are generally the same as if you were living in the United States. However, if you choose to exclude foreign earned income or housing amounts, you can’t deduct or exclude any item or take a credit for any item that is related to the amounts you exclude. Among the topics discussed in chapter 5 are:

Tax treaty benefits.(p3)

Chapter 6 discusses some benefits that are common to most tax treaties and explains how to get help if you think you are not receiving a treaty benefit to which you are entitled. It also explains how to get copies of tax treaties.

How to get tax help.(p3)

Chapter 7 is an explanation of how to get information and assistance from the IRS.

Questions and answers.(p3)

Frequently asked questions and answers to those questions are presented in the back of the publication.

Comments and suggestions.(p3)

We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.
You can send us comments from Or you can write to:

Internal Revenue Service
Tax Forms and Publications
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526
Washington, DC 20224

Although we can’t respond individually to each comment received, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax forms, instructions, and publications.
Ordering forms and publications.(p3)
Visit to download forms and publications. Otherwise, you can go to to order current and prior-year forms and instructions. Your order should arrive within 10 business days.
Tax questions.(p3)
If you have a tax question not answered by this publication, check and Chapter 7 at the end of this publication.