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. 
  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

    Generally for F-1 and J-1 students, you are a nonresident for tax purposes for 5 calendar years.  Note that the year that you enter the U.S. in this visa status counts as your first year even if you were here only a portion of that year.  After your 5th calendar year in the United States you become a resident for tax purposes. We recommend you work through the initial steps of the Sprintax process to confirm your tax residency so you can correctly file your taxes.

  • J-1 Scholars

    Generally J-1 scholars are nonresidents for tax purposes for their first two calendar years.  The year that you enter the U.S. in J-1 status is your first year even if you were here only a portion of that year.  After your second calendar year in the United States you become a resident for tax purposes.  We recommend you work through the initial steps of the Sprintax process to confirm your tax residency so you can correctly file your taxes.  Note that if your country of tax residency has a 365-day tax treaty, you may be able to claim those exemptions even once you are a resident for tax purposes.

  • H-1Bs, O-1s, and TNs

    Generally if you were here for more than 183 days of the tax year in H-1B, O-1, or TN status you will be a resident for tax purposes. You will need to take the IRS’ substantial presence test to determine your tax residency. It is possible that you will be considered a “dual status resident.” 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 Sprintax portal.

If you are a nonresident, you can use the Sprintax 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. 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 or your dependents did not receive any income, you only need to submit form 8843 for yourself and all the members of your family. Instructions to fill the form are available here.

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.