Taxes in Antarctica?

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    I heard originally that there weren’t taxes in a foreign country, and was like, awesome! Then I heard that the IRS was like, “hahaha. NO.” and started charging people penalties and past taxes and all sorts of insanity. They were supposed to go to court to settle something, defining if Antarctica was considered a foreign country or not.

    Has this gotten settled? The dates I had seen said there was a court date in 2004, but I haven’t really seen any, “This is what happened.” endings. Does anyone know if this is just getting dragged on indefinately by the IRS in hopes that the Antarcticans will give up? Or was there some secret, “lets sweep this under the rug” business.

    Also, if the IRS rules that Antarctica is not a foreign country, does that mean people will then turn around and have a little chat with Raytheon about how they should be paid over time since their reasoning that they don’t fall under the Fair Labor Standards Act is that Antarctica isn’t a foreign country?

    Or are they both going to win because they have a mild case of the ‘bullies’?

    I just keep coming across a lot of interesting info on the net, but no real permanent answers that I can find, any help is much appreciated!


    Short answer is that Americans working for RPSC (or whoever) in Antarctica are subject to income tax.

    Yes, it’s been to court – the ruling was that Antarctica doesn’t meet the IRS test for “foreign country”.

    I’d rather not pay taxes either, but let’s face it – the foreign exclusion rule was enacted so that Americans working overseas wouldn’t be taxed doubly (by the country they are working in and by the U.S.) so we really don’t have it so bad

    As for overtime – in my mind it goes like this: I have agreed to work 54 hours/week for my employer, my employer has in turn agreed to pay me $X for those 54 hours. If that isn’t an acceptable situation to me, I have the choice to not go to Antarctica. It’s not like anyone shows up there not knowing how many hours per week are expected for how much money. Take it or don’t.


    Yep, It was settled years ago. The US tax code has exclusions for several overseas locations. Antarctic being one of them. As m0loch said. The courts ruled on the matter that Antarctic is not a foreign country. In fact it’s not a country at all and that is the real crux of the matter. Portions of the continent are claimed by many countries, but the Antarctic treaty basically states that for the duration of the treaty, the boundries aren’t recognized. Hence countries have antarctic science stations all over the place.

    As to pay, you sign a contract for x number of dollars. It’s only a portion of your compensation. The rest isn’t talked about too much, but you get free housing, free food, free airplane tickets all over the world etc. Not only do you make your salary, but there is little to spend money on. What you pay for food, rent, electicity, gas, internet, and a host of other costly items back home, basically become extra money in your pocket here. I make less per hour than I did 10 years ago, but save far more than I ever have before.


    Remember too that the tax exclusion requires you be gone 330 (or there abouts) days in a year. So unless you are doing a year contract it would not do much good anyway.


    well, shucks, you guys are full of all sorts of information. Thank you!

    I guess that just shows my google skills have gone down the tube 😛


    do not try and not pay taxes if worked on the ice. i tried. was on the ice for over 1 year. they cought up with me and a bunch of others that didn’t pay. had to pay all back with penaltys. they say that antarctica is not a foreign country as no one owns it. good luck if you try.


    (for some reason this got lost in my “drafts” folder instead of geting sent. Found it while looking for another lost draft that wasn’t here. Anyway…)
    Good answer, m…

    Once upon a time when tax laws were a bit different it worked in Greenland, which WAS considered a foreign country with an income tax exclusion. So the contractor did not withhold taxes. But if you quit before your contract was up you didn’t qualify for the tax exclusion, which at the time required you to work outside the US for 510 days. There were other bonuses keyed to your longevity, plus an R&R trip at mid contract.

    But if you were a GA (well, the term wasn’t GA but it was basically the same thing) you were making less than minimum wage working 7 12’s straight time–this was considered a foreign country, remember–and if you were sending your $$ home to your wife, you couldn’t afford to quit and pay your taxes, plus they made you pay for your C-141 flight from Thule to McGuire AFB.

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