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I live in Singapore, and from my company's newsletter comes this:

Foreign earned income exclusion increased

In a victory for Americans and U.S. companies doing business overseas, Section 911, the foreign earned income tax exclusion, has been increased. The new plan calls for an increase of $2,000 per year beginning in 1998 to an $80,000 maximum per year in 2002. In addition, the income exclusion will be indexed for inflation beginning in year 2008.

Because the Section 911 exclusion had not been adjusted for inflation over the years, its real value dropped by 43 percent since 1982, according to Price Waterhouse LLP. If the exclusion had not been indexed for inflation once again, its value would have continued to decline ­ resulting in more American jobs lost and further deterioration of U.S. competitiveness overseas. The U.S. is the only major industrial nation that taxes its citizens on the income they earn while working abroad. This makes U.S. companies and Americans working overseas more expensive and puts them at a significant cost disadvantage when competing against other nations.

Small and medium-sized enterprises and non-profit groups are considerably more dependent on the Section 911 exclusion than are large companies ­ for hiring Americans, for "buying American," and for living abroad. The increased and indexed foreign earned income exclusion is a very important gain which promises to generate more jobs for American workers and make U.S. companies more competitive in foreign markets.

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