We Prepare Tax Returns!

We prepare most type of tax returns:


S Corporation.

C Corporation.




Gary Bode, CPA is a Master's Degreed, nation wide accountant offering tax and business services. Member of AICPA and NCACPA. Our virtual office provides excellent service to long distance and international clients. Call (910) 399-2705 for a free phone consult.

Client Video Testimonials

Click here to watch some of our clients in their video testimonials!

Client Testimonials

I used Gary’s services to file my 2012 income tax return. This was my first year having an accountant do my return, as I have always done it myself using TurboTax. However, this year I had cancelled debt from my old primary residence which I was forced to convert to a rental property after relocating out of state.

While it didn’t cost me anything to do the short sale, the income tax consequence from the cancelled debt, roughly $50,000 in my case, was enough to move me from the 15% tax bracket to the 25% tax bracket.  Needless to say, I was concerned about that.

Finances were already tight and my husband and I are expecting our first child this fall. So the possibility of owing income tax was stressing me out. However, Gary was great at relieving my fears.

He is extremely knowledgeable, answered all my questions and was very thorough. I knew I was in good hands. He kept in constant contact with me throughout the process, keeping me updated on the progress of my return and letting me know what paperwork he needed to complete my filing.

In my mind, best case scenario would have been to not owe any taxes. Second best would be to only owe a little. Well, you can imagine my surprise and delight when Gary told me I was actually due a refund of a little over $2,700.00!

To top it all off, I found Gary’s fee for service to be fair, competitive and affordable; especially given the complexity of this type of return. I am so glad I did not try and go it alone this year. I am extremely pleased with Gary’s service and would recommend him highly to anyone, in fact I already have. If you have cancelled debt from a short sale or foreclosure, don’t freak out. Take a deep breath and call or email Gary. I am grateful I did.

Angie Falke of Holiday, FL

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Even though Gary enjoys helping colleagues, we no longer provide free consults to other tax preparers. He's happy to consult on an hourly billing basis if our schedule allows.

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IRS Tax Form 2555 | CPA accountant augments the IRS instructions for Form 2555 | tax exclusion

IRS tax Form 2555 CPA accountant explains the tax exclusion beyond the instructions for Form 2555

Here’s some concepts and tips to help expat Folks understand the instructions to Form 2555. I offer a free phone consult on Form 2555 and the tax exclusion. (910) 399-2705.

Full exploitation of the IRS Form 2555 tax exclusion takes planning. I’ll review components of Form 2555 and offer tips to both avoid common pitfalls and maximize the tax exclusion. I hope this post provides expat Folks a framework to help understand the instructions for Form 2555. But this post isn’t a guide to help you self-prepare Form 2555. Calculating the tax exclusion isn’t rocket science, but first time self-preparation of Form 2555 is tricky and the tax savings, high (potentially around $34). Due diligence is prudent.

Hi, I’m Gary Bode, a CPA accountant with a special interest in IRS tax Form 2555 preparation. Our virtual office makes it easy to deal with us from outside the United States. I offer a free phone consult on Form 2555 expat issues (910) 399-2705. We’re on Eastern Time but extend business hours for scheduled international consults.

Form 673 and its Relationship to Form 2555

Form 2555 allows you to exclude up to $97,600 (2013) of Gross Income, that you earn outside the US, from taxable income on your Form 1040. There are three ways to receive the tax savings:

  • Allow your employer to withhold payroll taxes from your paycheck as though you were in the US.  Then get a large refund when you file Form 1040. Some expat Clients worry about under payment penalties and this technique is safest for that concern.
  • Use IRS tax Form 673 to keep your employer from withholding an appropriate amount of federal tax, and then receiving more of your Gross pay on each paycheck. Prediction and estimates are just predictions and estimates. So this technique is the most likely to incur IRS penalties. This is a big deal if you inadvertently violate the 330 day rule, for example, and inadvertently lose all the tax exclusion on Form 2555. But you don’t want the IRS holding your refund up to 14 moths or so either.
  • A combination of the above.

So, as a CPA accountant who deals with Form 2555, I suggest planning to factor in your risk sensitivity. Here’s an earlier post on Form 673 and Form 2555.

On Form 2555, Timing is Crucial

Read up on the physical presence and bona fide resident tests for tax Form 2555. Be careful to observe the 330 day rule. I’m not aware of any way to circumvent it. Both tests for Form 2555 starts the day you leave the US. So, if you start your foreign assignment on July 31st 2013, the tests use June 30, 2014 as the end date. So you can’t file your Form 1040 until June 30th, 2014. There’s actually a special IRS tax extension form to cover this contingency. Here’s prior post on Form 2350 and extending your expat return. No extension means no tax exclusion – ouch!

“Want to broaden the tax exclusion beyond tax Form 2555? Establish a residence in a non-income tax State before going overseas.”
– Gary Bode, CPA accountant with a special interest if Form 2555 issues

Logistics of Form 2555 and Form 1040

You generally include the foreign wages you earn as Gross Income on line seven, page one of Form 1040. Then it  percolates through Form 2555, both for the tax exclusion and foreign housing allowance. The tax exclusion on Form 2555 is a negative number on Form 1040, line 21, excluding it from taxable income.

Understand the Foreign Housing Exclusion Component of Form 2555

Potential Form 2555 tax exclusion doesn’t stop at just your wages earned on a foreign assignment. $13,644 (after all the IRS wrinkles) of potential tax exclusion for Qualified Housing Expenses exist in a special section of Form 2555. Read up on qualifying foreign housing expenses. The IRS is surprisingly broad-minded here. Note IRS Notice 2012-19 lists cities where that $13,644 cap could increase.

Non Form 2555 Expat Tax Compliance Issues

Some expats set up foreign bank accounts. Naturally the IRS wants information on your foreign assets. Here are two posts on this issue:

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