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What is the Bona Fide Residence Test (BFR)?

The Bona Fide Residence Test allows US citizenship holders, dual nationals, or green card holders living in Qatar, to qualify for the FEIE, even if they spend more time in the US than the Physical Presence Test allows.

Unlike the Physical Presence Test, which strictly limits US presence to 35 days in a qualifying period, the BFR offers more flexibility.

For those working in Qatar and generating an income, the BFR can be very helpful in reducing their taxable income that would flow onto their 1040 US tax return, especially when more than 35 days have been spent in the United States during the tax year.

Can I qualify for the FEIE through BFR after spending more than 35 days in the US?

Yes, it’s possible to qualify for the FEIE through the BFR even if you’ve spent more than 35 days in the US within a tax year. The BFR focuses on your intent and ties to a foreign country rather than the strict count of days outside the US.

However, spending a significant portion of the year, such as nine months, in the US may disqualify you from claiming BFR.

What are the criteria for claiming BFR?

To claim BFR, you must demonstrate that you have established residency in a foreign country, such as Qatar, for an entire calendar year. This means you should not have visited the US at all during one calendar year to strengthen your claim for BFR.

This test is more subjective and considers your ties and intent to reside in a foreign country as your primary home.

How do I determine eligibility for BFR?

Determining eligibility for BFR can be complex, as it involves subjective criteria and individual circumstances. If you’re unsure whether you qualify for the FEIE under BFR after spending time in the US, the best course of action is to consult with a tax professional. They can assess your situation, consider your ties to the foreign country, and help you understand your tax obligations and benefits.


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