You are not required to use consecutive qualifying periods: " In determining whether the 12-month period falls within a longer stay in the foreign country, 12-month periods can overlap one another." Example: You live, work, and have a tax home in New Zealand from January 1, 2019, through August 31, 2020, except that you spend 28 days in February 2019 and 28 days in February 2020 on vacation in the United States. You are present in New Zealand for at least 330 full days during each of the following two 12-month periods: January 1, 2019 - December 31, 2019, and September 1, 2019 - August 31, 2020. Your qualifying 12-month period for 2019 is January 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019. For 2020, you may choose September 1, 2019 – August 31, 2020 as your qualifying period. Refer to Chapter 4, Figure 4-B in Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad. See Foreign Earned Income Exclusion - Physical Presence Test @afors
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If you qualify for the physical presence test, you can use the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion for 2020 by using different qualification dates (you must be outside the U.S> for 330 days in a 365 day period, but it does not have to be a calendar year). By using an October 2019 to October 2020 qualifying period, you will be able to exclude the income prorata, and not disqualify you for the five year period.
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