Non-Resident Tax Return
If you are not a US citizen or GC holder, live outside the US but earned money in the United States, you are likely required to file the annual tax form 1040NR (U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return). You may also be required to file a state tax return for your U.S. source income. IRS Publication 519 explains the complex rules governing nonresident taxation. But because few people enjoy reading IRS publications, we wrote this simple guide below.
|IF YOU||YOU’LL NEED TO|
| Have income from the US |
But do not meet the substantial presence test which would require a U.S. resident tax return.
| Are a Non-Resident Alien engaged in a trade or business in the United States during the calendar year || |
If you earned income in the US, are a non-resident alien, and fail to file form 1040NR, you may be leaving money on the table. Many non-residents fail to file because they assume they do not owe tax due. This is backward thinking. You may actually be due a refund from the IRS due to overpayment (as taxes were already automatically withheld). The amount withheld from the average non-resident's paycheck is normally over the amount that would be due at the end of the year. Failing to file means the loss of a refund.
Aside from the financial incentive, NRA’s have an immigration incentive to file form 1040NR. Visa terms require their holders to fully comply with U.S. laws. This includes the obligation of filing a tax return. If you leave the US and seek re-entry, you may very well be required to show proof that you filed a US return. Not filing a return could put their U.S. residency status at risk.
Your tax obligations will be different depending on your status, whether you are a Resident Alien, Non-resident Alien or Dual Status Alien. Your tax obligations will even depend on the country you moved in or out of, and even on your occupation. It really is a rather complicated process - but that is what we are here for. By asking the right questions, we determine your status and file the right tax return for you.
NOTE: If you were a Non-resident alien student, teacher, or trainee who was temporarily present in the United States on an "F,""J,""M," or "Q" visa, you are considered engaged in a trade or business in the United States. You must file Form 1040NR (or Form 1040NR-EZ) only if you have income that is subject to tax, such as wages, tips, scholarship and fellowship grants, dividends, etc.