Tax Resident or Nonresident?

Residency for tax purposes is not always the same as your visa residency status

Residency for tax purposes is determined by 1) the length of time you have lived in the U.S. and 2) your visa status. You may be considered a resident for tax purposes even though you have a temporary visa status.

See the specific rules by visa type to determine your residency status:

  • F-1 and J-1 Students

    • If you arrived in the U.S. in 2011 or before, you are considered a resident for tax purposes and should complete the U.S. resident tax forms, such as the 1040, 1040A, or 1040-EZ.

    • If you came in 2012 or later and it was your first entry to the U.S., you are considered a nonresident for tax purposes. Your next question is whether you earned any income (including fellowships or scholarships) in the U.S. in 2016. If the answer is no — you only need to fill out the form 8843 for yourself and all the members of your family. You can obtain it from our office or this website.

  • J-1 Scholars

    • If you arrived in 2014 or before, you are considered a resident for tax purposes and should complete the U.S. resident tax forms.

    • If you came in 2015 or later and it was your first entry, you are considered a nonresident for tax purposes. Your next question is whether you earned any income (including fellowships or scholarships) in the U.S. in 2016. If the answer is no — you only need to fill out the form 8843 for yourself and all the members of your family. You can obtain it from our office or this website.

  • H-1Bs, O-1s, and TNs

    • If you were in the U.S. for the entire year of 2016, you are considered a resident for tax purposes and should complete one of the resident tax forms (1040, 1040A, or 1040-EZ).

    • If you entered the U.S. between January 1, and July 2, 2016, you may be considered a Dual Status resident*. In this case, you may need to file both as a resident and non-resident. You will need to use paper forms for the non-resident return.

    • If you entered the U.S. after July 2, 2016 and are in the U.S. for the first time since 2014, you are considered a nonresident for tax purposes. (Please note you will not be a non-resident if you changed status and fulfill the substantial presence test.)

    • If you entered the U.S. after July 2, 2016 but this was not the first time for you in the U.S. since 2013 (you were in the U.S in either 2014 or 2015), you will have to take the substantial presence test to determine your tax residency. The best source for information about Dual Status residency is from the IRS publication 519 "U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens." It can be downloaded from the IRS website. Also consider utilizing the tax resources on the Windstar Foreign National Tax Resources portal.

If you are a nonresident, you can use the Windstar Foreign National Tax Resource software to complete your taxes.

If you determine that you are a resident for tax purposes, you will need to complete the tax forms for U.S. residents—either the IRS form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ. You may also take advantage of tax software for residents, such as TurboTax or H&R Block basic tax software. Online tax programs are being offered free of charge through the IRS website to encourage electronic filing.

If you need additional help, you can hire a tax preparer or obtain assistance at a local library. Resident tax forms are available from the IRS website or at local libraries and post offices.