Know Your Tax Status
Learn the Basics >>
Tax status is determined by the nonimmigrant’s physical presence in the U.S. and visa status history. A nonimmigrant’s tax status will be either Nonresident Alien or Resident Alien.
Resident Aliens are taxed in the same way as U.S. citizens but Nonresident Aliens are taxed under another set of rules.
You should know your tax status before completing any tax documents for Mason or any employer. If you previously worked at Mason or have in the past received a taxable scholarship from Mason, you will know your tax status.
If you cannot remember your status or do not know your status, you may refer to IRS Publication 519 for information on how to make the determination.
Determine if you are Resident Alien or Nonresident Alien for Tax >>
- Do you have a green card?
- Substantial Presence Test
If yes – you meet the Green Card Test, you are a Permanent Resident Alien
If no – you must perform the Substantial Presence Test– described below – to determine your tax status
To meet the test you have to:
- Be in the U.S. for 31 days in current year, and
- Have a total of 183 counting days as – described below – in the U.S., with
• All days in current year +
• 1/3 of days in previous year +
• 1/6 of days in year prior to the previous year
If you meet the test, you are a Resident Alien.
If you do not meet the test, you are a Nonresident Alien (NRA).
You also qualify to be Nonresident Alien if you are an exempt individual.
Determine if you are an Exempt Individual >>
Exempt Individuals are exempt from counting days under the substantial presence test for determining tax status.
Exempt Individuals are Nonresident Aliens
Groups of Exempt Individuals:
- Students temporarily in the U.S. in F, J, Q or M visa statuses for any part of a calendar year for no more than 5 years
- Teachers of trainees in the U.S. in J or Q status for any part of a calendar year for no more than 2 years including current and previous 6 years
- Foreign government-related or international organization-related individuals (G and A visas)
- Professional athletes
Required IRS Form 8843 for Exempt individuals
- If you are considered to be “exempt” anytime during the tax year, file the Form 8843, Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals With a Medical Condition even if you are not required to file a tax return.
- If required to file a tax return – attach to return – do not have to sign.
- If not required to file a return – file alone – required to sign.
- IRS website
- IRS Forms and Publications
- Social Security Administration
- International Students And Social Security Numbers
- Your Social Security Number And Card
- Social Security Numbers for Noncitizens
- Identify Theft and Your Social Security Number
- Information for Foreign Students and Scholars – IRS website
- Tax Treaty Text Listed by Country
- Handbook for Employers