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If you are paying Korean tax on your earnings you could take the foreign tax credit rather than electing the foreign earned income exclusion. This would leave your wages available as "taxable compensation" for IRA purposes. You'd have to run the numbers to see if it would be worthwhile.

good idea! except i rather suspect that the korean rate structure is more favorable than US rates, so there's likely to be a cost to that. but OP said he's only got $30K income, so it might be OK. indeed, have to run the numbers on that one.

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