Dual-Status Alien

In some situations, certain foreign nationals in the U.S. may be considered dual-status aliens for U.S. tax purposes. This usually happens to foreign nationals who received a Green Card midway through the year or only spent part of a tax year in the U.S.

As a result, these individuals may end up qualifying as a resident alien for part of the year and a nonresident alien for the other part. If you fit this situation and qualify as a dual-status alien, you have some unique challenges when it comes to filing U.S. taxes and reporting foreign financial accounts.

Don’t worry, though — the experts here at H&R Block are here to help. We’ll sum up the basics of what it means to be a dual-status alien and what your tax and reporting requirements are so you can stay in the U.S. government’s good graces. Ready to file your U.S. taxes? Let us help.

What is a dual-status alien?

A U.S. dual status alien in Mexico researching H&R Block expat tax services

An example of a dual-status alien is a foreign national who is a resident as of the beginning of the year but a nonresident by the end of the year, or vice versa. This usually happens in the year someone enters or leaves the U.S.

For instance, let’s say you were a Mexican citizen who arrived in the U.S. on an H visa on June 1, 2019, and then you left on December 31, 2019. Because you were in the U.S. for more than 183 days of the year you would meet the substantial presence test. In this case, you would have qualified as a nonresident alien from January 1 to May 31, and a resident alien from June 1 to December 31. Put it all together and you’ve got yourself a dual-status alien.

(Note that Green Card holders in their first year may be dual-status aliens. Also, a Green Card holder or U.S. citizen who expatriates is a dual-status alien in their final year)

U.S. taxes for dual-status aliens

Dual-status aliens still pay U.S. taxes. They are taxed on a dual-status tax year, meaning a tax year that’s split into two parts. During the non-resident alien part of the year they’d be taxed only on U.S.-sourced income. During the resident alien part of the year they’d be taxed on worldwide income.

There are a few restrictions when it comes to filing as a dual-status alien. When you choose to file with an H&R Block Expat Advisor, they can walk you through the specifics.

How to file a dual-status tax return with H&R Block Expat Tax Services

If you’re a dual-status alien, how you file your U.S. tax forms matters — Form 1040-NR will only report U.S.-sourced income for the nonresident period while Form 1040 will report worldwide income for the resident period.

If you’re a dual-status alien and were a U.S. resident at the end of the tax year, then you must file a 1040 with a 1040-NR attachment.

If you’re a dual-status alien and were a nonresident at the end of the tax year, then you must file a 1040-NR with a 1040 attachment.

You can do all this and more by using either our online tax service or by filing with one of our Expat Tax Advisors. Here’s how to file your U.S. expat taxes online:

  1. Head on over to our Ways to File page
  2. Pick your journey—in the driver’s seat with our online DIY tool or letting a Tax Advisor take the wheel.
  3. Once you’re through your chosen journey, you review your return and pay
  4. We file your return with the IRS
  5. You sit back knowing your taxes were done right

Need help filing U.S. taxes as a dual-status alien? Trust the experts at H&R Block Expat Tax Services

If you’re dual-status alien, navigating U.S. taxes can be complicated. Luckily for you, our expat tax services are designed to make the process simple and your tax season stress-free.

Start your U.S. expat taxes for free today!