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Old 04.05.2012, 04:23
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Newbie US Tax question

Hi All,

I see reference by people in certain threads on this site (can't seem to find them at the moment) of a combined exclusion of USD 120,000 for US citizens filing taxes to Uncle Sam. Can someone explain to me how they arrive at that figure? I get the USD 92,900 from the FEIE but then, for the housing exclusion, I see that the limitation for Swiss towns that are not Geneva, Bern and Zürich is USD 32,900 but that the actual exclusion deducts a base amount from that of USD 14,864 so, by my calculations, that only brings us up a bit over 110,000. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

On a side note, I live right outside of Geneva in Nyon so I still have the high rental expense but I can't deduct anywhere near the amounts that I could if I had a Geneva postal address - where the limit is nearly triple! Perhaps someone here could make my day and tell me that it would be possible to include all of my actual housing expenses for the limit but that doesn't seem likely.

Thanks for any answers you may have, B.
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Old 04.05.2012, 06:55
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Re: Newbie US Tax question

well, as you say, it varies by location depending whether IRS considers it a high cost area. So, perhaps the 120k figure is just an off-hand rounded figure thrown out there.

That said, you can also throw in your personal exemption and a standard deduction and will be close to 120k.

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Hi All,

I see reference by people in certain threads on this site (can't seem to find them at the moment) of a combined exclusion of USD 120,000 for US citizens filing taxes to Uncle Sam. Can someone explain to me how they arrive at that figure? I get the USD 92,900 from the FEIE but then, for the housing exclusion, I see that the limitation for Swiss towns that are not Geneva, Bern and Zürich is USD 32,900 but that the actual exclusion deducts a base amount from that of USD 14,864 so, by my calculations, that only brings us up a bit over 110,000. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

On a side note, I live right outside of Geneva in Nyon so I still have the high rental expense but I can't deduct anywhere near the amounts that I could if I had a Geneva postal address - where the limit is nearly triple! Perhaps someone here could make my day and tell me that it would be possible to include all of my actual housing expenses for the limit but that doesn't seem likely.

Thanks for any answers you may have, B.
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Old 04.05.2012, 10:08
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Re: Newbie US Tax question

I think the 120,000 you refer to is the swiss side of things, ie. cut-off for filing swiss form or the minimum salary acceptable to live in CH for an expat.

I am not aware of any cut-off of 120,000 on the US/IRS side of things, it is indeed 92,000 for 2011, FEIE.

As for housing, Nyon vs. Geneve, there was an article in the paper this a.m. saying that the cooperation between GVA, Vaud and neighboring France should have a name, and "Greater Geneve" was proposed, but not all were happy with it. Anyhow, I don't think it is anything official, at least not yet anyhow. So, probably not able to help you much.
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Old 04.05.2012, 10:30
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Re: Newbie US Tax question

Circa 110k with housing is the average amount as mentioned above. Some may have got closer to 120k being in higher limitation areas.

It's odd Geneva is so high, when prices no different to Zurich and other areas. But hey, got to give those UN people some additional perks.

My knowledge of Geneva is not great, despite working there a few months, but I am somewhat aware of the Geneva / greater Geneva net. Vaguely recall those still with Geneva addresses despite not living in true Geneva. Is there like Geneva 1, 2 etc?? Not sure if helps you or not but we'd still take Geneva limitation in these instances. Apologies this may not be too clear or relevant in your situation.
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Old 04.05.2012, 12:14
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Re: Newbie US Tax question

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well, as you say, it varies by location depending whether IRS considers it a high cost area. So, perhaps the 120k figure is just an off-hand rounded figure thrown out there.

That said, you can also throw in your personal exemption and a standard deduction and will be close to 120k.
Thanks myeung, that was probably what I was missing. I was that I could add the personal exemption/standard deduction on top of 120K but I guess 110K is going to have to do.
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Old 04.05.2012, 12:16
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Re: Newbie US Tax question

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I think the 120,000 you refer to is the swiss side of things, ie. cut-off for filing swiss form or the minimum salary acceptable to live in CH for an expat.

I am not aware of any cut-off of 120,000 on the US/IRS side of things, it is indeed 92,000 for 2011, FEIE.

As for housing, Nyon vs. Geneve, there was an article in the paper this a.m. saying that the cooperation between GVA, Vaud and neighboring France should have a name, and "Greater Geneve" was proposed, but not all were happy with it. Anyhow, I don't think it is anything official, at least not yet anyhow. So, probably not able to help you much.
Thank you runningdeer, it seems like the entire deck is stacked against me these days - town of residency, exchange rate, etc. - with the end result being I'm going to owe a small fortune in taxes this year. Cripes.
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Old 04.05.2012, 13:25
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Re: Newbie US Tax question

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Circa 110k with housing is the average amount as mentioned above. Some may have got closer to 120k being in higher limitation areas.

It's odd Geneva is so high, when prices no different to Zurich and other areas. But hey, got to give those UN people some additional perks.

My knowledge of Geneva is not great, despite working there a few months, but I am somewhat aware of the Geneva / greater Geneva net. Vaguely recall those still with Geneva addresses despite not living in true Geneva. Is there like Geneva 1, 2 etc?? Not sure if helps you or not but we'd still take Geneva limitation in these instances. Apologies this may not be too clear or relevant in your situation.
"we'd still take Geneva limitation in these instances"

Are you saying that I should just go ahead and place the Geneva limit in my 2555 form? Again, I live 15km from downtown Geneva, have all of the disadvantage in terms of cost without any of the upside from being able to write a good portion of it off.
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Old 04.05.2012, 14:00
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Re: Newbie US Tax question

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"we'd still take Geneva limitation in these instances"

Are you saying that I should just go ahead and place the Geneva limit in my 2555 form? Again, I live 15km from downtown Geneva, have all of the disadvantage in terms of cost without any of the upside from being able to write a good portion of it off.
I can not advise that.

However, I have done some reading to see where I was getting my confusing ramblings from the past experience I was alluding too:

Look at this link:

http://www.geonames.org/postal-codes/CH/GE/geneva.html

It kind of explains what I was getting at with surround area and postal codes still in the Canton of Geneva, but not necessarily what would be regarded as true Geneva by many. In these instances you would of course be able to use Geneva limitation no issues.

I am not so sure with Nyon.
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Old 04.05.2012, 16:20
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Re: Newbie US Tax question

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I can not advise that.

However, I have done some reading to see where I was getting my confusing ramblings from the past experience I was alluding too:

Look at this link:

http://www.geonames.org/postal-codes/CH/GE/geneva.html

It kind of explains what I was getting at with surround area and postal codes still in the Canton of Geneva, but not necessarily what would be regarded as true Geneva by many. In these instances you would of course be able to use Geneva limitation no issues.

I am not so sure with Nyon.
Thanks anyhow Jordan but those are the Geneva communes and Nyon is in Vaud. Close to Geneva but in another canton - guess I'm out of luck.
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