Filing US Taxes as a Non-Resident: What You Need to Know

3 mins, 27 secs Read
Updated On December 22, 2023

Are you a green card holder? Do you know how much important it is to pay taxes in the US? Do you want to learn the criteria of the tax system in the US? If your response is yes, then go through this article. Here you will be informed about the taxation in the Us. 

Doing taxes in the USA is relatively inexpensive and complicated. The American tax system is far more complex than in other countries. As a non-citizen, you may find the tax system baffling. This guide will help you navigate the taxation system. If you are a Spanish-speaking citizen or resident in the US, you can refer to to find all information about taxes and other aspects of living in the US. 

Who are Non-Residents in The US For Tax Purposes?

A non-inhabitant alien in the United States is an individual who doesn’t pass the substantial presence or green card tests. For example, people are considered non-residents if they are students, tourists, and certain businessmen.  

Non-citizens must file surcharges on any income in the US. 

Who Must File Taxes?

You must file a return if you are any of the following:

  • A non-inhabitant individual who isn’t engaged in a business or trade in the US and has US income on which the tax liability was not satisfied by the withholding of tariff at the source. 
  • A non-resident is considered to be engaged or engaged in a business or trade in the US during the year. 
  • An agent or representative is responsible for filing the return of an individual described in the above two points. 
  • A domestic fiduciary or resident or other person charged with the care of the property or person of a non-habitant individual might be needed to file an income tax recovery for that individual and pay the tax. 

Please note that if you were a non-citizen teacher, student, or trainee in the USA temporarily on the Q, M, J, and F visas, you could be considered engaged in a business in the USA. 

Why Must You File Taxes?

If you want the following, you must file a surcharge return:

  • Claim the benefit of any credits or deductions. For instance, if you don’t have any US business activities but have earnings from real property that you treat as effectively connected income, you must file taxes timely to take any allowable deductions against that earnings. 
  • Claim a refund of overpaid or over-withheld taxes.

Which Income Must You Report?

The income of non-citizens in the US falls into two categories:

  • US source that is Fixed, Determinable, Annual, or Periodical (FDAP)
  • Income that is Effectively Connected with a corporation or trade in the US 

After allowing deductions, Effectively Connected payment is taxed at graduated rates. The rates are the same as applied to US residents and citizens. Effectively Connected income must be reported on the first page of Form 1040-NR, US Non-Resident Alien Return. 

On the other hand, FDAP is taxed at a flat 30%, and deductions are not allowed against such income. If this is not effectively connected with a US corporation must be reported on Schedule NEC (1040-NR), Taxation on Income Not Effectively Connected with a US Business. 

Which Form to File?

Non-residents must use document 1040-NR, US Non-Resident Alien Tax, to file an income tax return. 

  • When to file – Generally, tariffs must be filed by the 15th of the 4th month after the tax year ends if you are an employee or run a corporation in the US. If you use the calendar year, this is generally the 15th of April. If you are not a self-employed person, or an employee, or don’t have a business or office in the US, you must file by the 15th day of the 6th month after the tax year ends, and this is generally the 15th of June. 
  • Where to file – The instructions and address will be written on form 1040-NR. 
  • Extension of time – If you fail to file your taxations and the due date has passed, you must file format 4868 to request an extension of time. 

This is what you must know about filing taxes in the USA as a non-habitant. You can also refer to the official IRS website to clear any doubts you may have. Also, remember always to file your taxes on time to get your money back if applicable. 


Ans: Non-citizens must refer to the Who Must File section of the Instructions for Form 1040-NR, US Non-Resident Alien Income Tax Return, for the corresponding taxation year. Typically, you must file returns going back 6 years. This will depend on the circumstances and facts of your situation.

Ans: Non-residents pay tariffs on the earnings earned in the USA or acquired from a US source. There’s no tax on foreign-earned payments. They don’t even have to report anything except their US-sourced income.

Author: Joseph Williams