Do employer-provided housing benefits in Qatar count as taxable income?

Absolutely. When your Qatari employer provides you with housing, whether it’s for the initial months of your stay or an extended period, the IRS considers this a non-cash benefit.

This means the value of the provided housing is seen as part of your overall compensation and, as such, must be included on your US tax return. Despite not increasing your bank balance directly, these benefits are valued and taxed by the IRS as income.

Are annual return flights for expats and their families taxable?

Indeed, they are. Should your employer offer the perk of annual return flights to the US for you and your family, this too falls under the category of non-cash benefits.

Similar to housing allowances, the monetary value of these flights is taxable and needs to be reported on your US tax return. These benefits elevate your taxable income, potentially affecting your liability under the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE).

What’s the impact of non-cash benefits on the FEIE threshold?

If your total income, when combined with the value of non-cash benefits like housing and annual flights, surpasses the FEIE cap ($126,500 for 2024), you’ll find yourself responsible for US taxes on the surplus. 

This scenario highlights a critical consideration for US citizens abroad: non-cash benefits, although not directly liquid, are counted towards your taxable income.

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