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Thanks for another quick response...

So, getting a little less hypothetical, with Mr. USA and his lovely wife Miss GBR:

If Mr. USA makes $120k and Miss GBR makes £15k (or about $25k), their world income reported to the IRS is $145k. But Mr. USA gets the 911 (wiping out the first $80k of his income). Miss GBR has already paid taxes in England - as I understand it, she cannot apply the 911 to her income (maybe I'm wrong on this?). So Mr. USA still has $40k in earned income after application of the 911 exclusion, so he can contribute to his IRA. And Miss GBR (who of course has a TIN because they've been filing jointly) could also contribute to an IRA because she hasn't used the 911 and has $25k in earnings?

I thought I had a pretty good handle on this stuff until some of the discussions popped up this morning. Thanks for helping to clarify it.

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