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My experience with expat-related compensation (housing compensation, utilities, etc that are usually subsidized) is that it does count towards the limits for IRAs, 401(k)'s, and all other things that have limits for benefits to highly compensated folks.

When I was abroad, I argued to my company that assignment related bonuses and payments should not affect my 401(k) contribution limits, ie being considered highly compensated. They agreed and allowed me to contribute the max. However, during a plan audit last year, they ruled that I had over-contributed and returned the money (to be taxed).

There are no special tax provisions that I know of to provide credit for assignment related payments. It's all viewed as income to the employee.

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