How Do I Know If I Have Nonresident Alien Tax Status?

If you’re not a citizen of the United States, but you’ve spent time living or working here, you might be wondering if you have resident alien or nonresident alien tax status. 

To determine which status applies to you, you should see if you meet the qualifications to be considered a resident alien. If none of these criteria apply to you, then you’re considered a nonresident alien (NRA) on your taxes: 

  • You held a green card from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in the current year.
  • You spent at least 183 days in the United States in the current year.
  • You spent at least 31 days in the United States in the current year, and the total of these days adds up to at least 183 days:
    • All the days you were present in the United States in the current year.
    • ⅓ of the days you were present in the United States in the previous year.
    • ⅙ of the days you were present in the United States in the year before the previous year. 
  • You didn’t elect to be a resident alien.  

Note that tax treaties between the U.S. and foreign governments might affect your residency status. Certain types of visas also might affect your residency status. To learn more, review IRS Publication 519: U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.

Understanding the Taxation of Nonresident Aliens

The taxation of nonresident aliens is different than those of other statuses. As an NRA, your non-wage income is taxed at a flat 30% rate, unless a tax treaty specifies a lower rate. Your wages are taxed at the U.S. graduated rates.  Nonresident aliens must file and pay any tax due using Form 1040NR: U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return or Form 1040NR-EZ: U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Nonresident Aliens with No Dependents.

Still not sure if you have nonresident alien tax status? Our tax pros are here to help. Visit your local H&R Block tax office to make an appointment.

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