Non Resident Alien Tax Returns

Who needs to file?

If one of the following applies to you, you must file a Form 1040NR:

  • You are a nonresident alien who had a business or trade in the US during the tax
  • You are a nonresident alien who did not have a business or trade in the US during year. This requirement exists whether or not income was earned by the business,

whether or not the business had income sourced in the USA, and even if the

income that it did earn is nontaxable by the US due to a tax treaty or provision

the tax year, but:

  • You have income from sources in the US that must be reported on Schedule NEC and some US taxes owed on that income were not withheld OR
  • You are a representative for a deceased individual who would have been required to file Form 1040NR OR
  • You are a representative for an estate or trust that is required to file Form 1040NR
  • You owe the following special taxes:
  • Alternative minimum tax
  • Additional tax on a qualified plan (including IRS’s)
  • Household employment taxes
  • Social security and Medicare tax that was not withheld by employer
  • and on tips that you failed to report to your employer
  • Recapture of first-time homebuyer credit
  • Write-in or recapture taxes
  • You received HAS, Archer MSA, or Medicare Advantage MSA distributions
  • You had self-employment net earnings of $400 or more and you reside in a country that has an international social security agreement with the US (i.e. you need to file to claim the income exempt from tax)

Exceptions to the filing requirement:

  • Your sole trade or business in the US was providing personal services, you received
  • You were a nonresident alien teacher, student or trainee, you were in the US only
  • The partnership in which you are a partner did not conduct business in the US at all
  • For qualified dependent children that have income comprised of only dividends and wages of less than $3900, and none of the other reasons to file apply to you temporarily on a F, M, Q, or J visa, and you had zero taxable income during the tax year, and your Schedule K-1 reports only income from sources within the US (which are reported on a Schedule NEC) interest that are associated with business or trade conducted in the US, if the income is less than $10,000 total, an election can be made by the parent to report the child’s income on the parent’s return by using Form 8814. This exempts the child from filing his/her own 1040NR.

What is the deadline for filing the 1040NR?

For those who were employees and earned US wages from which income tax can be withheld, the deadline is April 15 following the tax year end. For all others, the deadline is June 15 following the tax year end. A 1040NR filed for an estate or trust that holds an office in the US must be filed by April 15 following the tax year end. A 1040NR filed for an estate or trust that does not hold an office in the US must be filed by June 15 following the tax year end.

Can I get an extension to file?

Yes; you must file the form 4868 by the deadline of your tax return. This affords you another six months to file your 1040NR, but the taxes are still due on the original due date of the return.

What kinds of penalties are involved if I miss my deadlines or fail to file?

If you file your return late without an extension you may face a penalty of up to 25% of the tax due if failure to file was non-fraudulent, and up to 75% of tax due if failure to file was fraudulent. Penalties for paying your taxes late also apply – up to 25% of the taxes due. These penalties are in addition to interest charges on the late payment of taxes due. If I am a nonresident alien, is there any way I can be treated as a resident alien for tax purposes? If you fill the following three requirements, you may elect to be treated as a US resident alien for tax purposes:

  • You were married during the tax year
  • Your spouse was a resident alien or US citizen as of the tax year end
  • You file a joint income tax return with your spouse for the year for which you make the election You can make this election by attaching a special statement to your income tax return. Bymaking this election, you eliminate the requirement to file a 1040NR. Your worldwide incomefor the entire year must then be included on the joint income tax return that you file with your spouse. In following years, you may choose to file a joint or separate income tax return. However, if you decide to revoke your prior election to be treated as a US citizen for US tax purposes, then you must send a statement to the IRS revoking your prior election.