Tax Law (Questions About Taxes)/Per diem working abroad


I work in the Oil and Gas Sector, Maritime oilfield construction. I am employed through an office in Houston. I have worked almost exclusively in Angolan national waters for most of the past 3 years. I do not enter international waters. I was told by a contractor (owns his own one-man company) that he claims some kind of "per diem" on his taxes due to working abroad (anothe rUS citizen) that gets him large sums of money back on his taxes every year. He is claiming that there is some sort of schedule online for how much each foriegn country is "worth". He's also claiming that the amount he gets back is three digits/day; and we work a lot of days in our industry. Is there any way this is actually possible, or another "mermaid story"? Thank you for your time.

Dear Rob,

You can find per diem schedule for Angola here:

Please note that per diem rates is just another option if you do not qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion (up to $95,100) of your gross salary (see If you qualify based on the Physical Presence requirement, you can benefit by using this option.

Hoe this helps
I.J.Zemelman, EA  

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IJ Zemelman, EA MBA


I am an IRS-authorized EA and principal of a Tax Preparation firm focusing on U.S. Expatriates. We specialize in all tax issues faced by American citizens living abroad - such as foreign earned income, tax treaties, foreign spouse, etc. Visit our website - - for more information.


18 years professional tax experience, 12 with expatriate taxes.

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MBA from Zicklin School Of Business, IRS Enrolled Agent

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