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Aliens - Which Form to File
Aliens may file different tax returns than U.S. citizens according to the following rules:
- Are you a Resident Alien?
- Resident Aliens file Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ like U.S. Citizens.
- Are you a Nonresident Alien?
- Nonresident Aliens file Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ.
- Are you a Dual Status Alien?
- Taxpayers who were Nonresident Aliens at the beginning of the tax year and Resident Aliens at the end of the tax year should file Form 1040 labeled "Dual Status Return" with Form 1040NR attached as a schedule and labeled "Dual Status Statement."
- Taxpayers who were Resident Aliens at the beginning of the tax year and Nonresident Aliens at the end of the tax year should file Form 1040NR labeled "Dual Status Return" with Form 1040 attached as a schedule and labeled "Dual Status Statement."
- Are you a Nonresident Alien who will become a Resident Alien under the substantial presence test in the year following this taxable year?
- Such an individual may elect to be treated as a Resident Alien for this taxable year instead of next taxable year if he meets certain tests. (Refer to section "Dual-Status Aliens" – "First Year Choice" in Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.)
- Are you a Nonresident Alien or Dual Status Alien who is married to a U.S. Citizen or to a Resident Alien?
- The Nonresident Alien spouse of a U.S. Citizen or a Resident Alien may file a joint Form 1040 with his Resident Alien or U.S. Citizen spouse.
- The Dual Status Alien spouse of a U.S. Citizen or a Resident Alien may file a joint Form 1040 with his Resident Alien or U.S. Citizen spouse.
- Are you a Departing Alien?
- Departing Aliens, in general, must obtain a certificate of compliance (sailing permit - Form 2063, U.S. Departing Alien Income Tax Statement (PDF)). In some cases a departing alien might be required to file Form 1040C before departing the United States, with certain exceptions. (See Instructions for Form 1040C (PDF).)
- Forms 2063 and 1040C are not final tax returns. The taxpayer must still file Form 1040NR or 1040 after the end of the taxable year. (Refer to section "Departing Aliens and the Sailing or Departure Permit" in Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.)
- Taxation of Resident Aliens
- Taxation of Nonresident Aliens
- Taxation of Dual-Status Aliens
- Foreign Students and Scholars
Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 2013-04-22