The Foreign Earned Income Exclusion 2015 has finally hit six figures. The FEIE for 2015 is $100,800, up from $99,200 for 2014. The FEIE is the best way to minimize your US taxes as an Expat and the most important tool in your tax kit.
This means that each American living and working abroad, who qualifies for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion in 2015, can earn up to $100,800 in salary without paying personal income tax. If that salary comes from a US employer, then you still pay social and employment taxes (7% deducted from your check and 7% paid by your employer). If you are self employed and don’t have a corporation, then you pay self employment tax at 15%.
Basically, if you have a US structure, or are self employed without a foreign corporation, you pay 15% tax + Obamacare and other charges on your 2015 salary. The FEIE only cuts out your personal income taxes.
If you work for a foreign employer, or you operate your business through an offshore corporation, then you can avoid this 15%+ tax. It is possible to use the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion 2015 with an offshore corporation and pay zero to Uncle Sam on income of $100,800. If a husband and wife both operate the business and qualify for the FEIE, you can take out $201,600 in salaries tax free!
Next, if your profit exceeds $100,000 or $200,000, you can retain earnings in the offshore company and defer US taxes on that income. This tax deferal is a major benefit of living and working abroad for high net worth business owners.
Let’s say your net profit is $300,000 in 2015. You and your wife take out $200,000 in salary using the FEIE. This leaves $100,000 in untaxed profits. If you hold this money in the offshore corporation, you can defer US tax until you take a distribution. If you draw it out as salary, commissions, dividends, or in any other form in 2015, you will pay US taxes at about 32% (Federal).
For a 100+ page book on expat tax issues and how to maximize the FEIE 2015, please join my mailing list.
My posts on the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion for entrepreneurs include:
- Foreign Earned Income Exclusion Basics
- Benefits of an Offshore Corporation
- How to Prorate the FEIE
- Tax Benefits of Going Offshore
- Eliminate U.S. Tax in 5 Steps with an Offshore Corporation
Finally, if you’re a glutton for punishment, I recorded a 3 hour dissertation on the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion for the Overseas Radio Network. See my ORN page.
I hope this post has been helpful. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about forming an offshore corporation or maximizing the FEIE as an entrepreneur.