Land of the free… enterprise, that is, home of the Whopper, and place of the taxed? Alright, that last part might not be too appealing; nonetheless, taxes are a part of good, old-fashioned American living. And that fact applies to everyone… *sternly* Everyone. From the home-bred citizen to the nonresident foreigner and everything in between, we all have to pay those taxes.
For nonresident foreigners, there is the Form 1040NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return, or the Form 1040NR-EZ, U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Nonresident Aliens With No Dependents, that must be filed.
Who must file?
Well, according to the IRS, a foreigner is any individual who is not a U.S. citizen or a U.S. national. A nonresident foreigner is one who has not passed the green card test or the substantial presence test.
You must file with this form if you fall into any of the following categories:
- A nonresident foreigner working or being considered to work in a trade or business in the United States during the year.
- A nonresident foreigner who is not working in a trade or business in the United States, but has U.S. income on which the tax liability was not satisfied by the withholding of tax at the source.
- A representative or agent responsible for filing the return of a nonresident foreign described in the first and second categories.
- A guardian for a nonresident foreigner estate or trust.
- A resident or domestic guardian, or other person, charged with the care of the person or property of a nonresident foreigner (if applicable).
A significant category would be if you were a nonresident, foreign student, teacher, or trainee who is temporarily present in the U.S. with the appropriate visa and you have taxable income like wages, tips, scholarship and fellowship grants, dividends, etc.
Claiming a refund or benefit
In addition, you must also file an income tax return if you want to:
- Claim a refund of overpaid tax or overwithheld tax
- Claim the benefit of any deductions or credits
An example would be if you don’t have a job, but have income from real property that you want to treat as connected income. You’ll have to file a return to take any allowable deductions against that income.
Extending your return
Your Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ must be filed by April 15 each year. If you find yourself not able to file on time, you can file an extension, Form 4868 Personal Tax Extension, which would also be due on April 15.
By filing an extension, your deadline will be pushed back six months to October 15. The extension only extends your deadline to file, not your deadline to pay any taxes you may owe. You’ll have to properly estimate your tax liability and pay it by the original deadline of your return.
For more information on paying your estimated taxes, check out these other blogs:
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