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General Instructions


Use your 2016 tax return as a guide in figuring your 2017 tax, but be sure to consider the following.

Former U.S. citizens and former U.S. long-term residents.   If you expatriate or terminate your residency in 2017, you must file Form 8854, Initial and Annual Expatriation Statement, with your 2017 income tax return. You also may be subject to income tax under section 877A on the net unrealized gain on your property as if the property had been sold on the day before your expatriation date. You figure this tax on Form 8854. For more details, see Pub. 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.

Social security or Medicare taxes withheld in error.   If you are a foreign student on an F-1, J-1, M, or Q visa, and social security or Medicare taxes were withheld on your wages in error, you may want to file Form 843, Claim for Refund or Request for Abatement, to request a refund of these taxes. For more information, see Refund of Taxes Withheld in Error in chapter 8 of Pub. 519.

Child tax credit not refundable for resident aliens electing to exclude foreign earned income from tax.   The instructions for Part III, line 28 (other payments) that pertain to the additional child tax credit have been amended to reflect section 807 of P.L. 114-27. The revised instructions indicate that Group I (resident alien) filers who exclude foreign earned income from their gross income may not claim any additional child tax credit on line 28. These filers are only allowed to claim the child tax credit to the extent allowable on line 19.

Purpose of Form

Form 1040-C is used by aliens who intend to leave the United States or any of its possessions to:

  • Report income received or expected to be received for the entire tax year, and

  • Pay the expected tax liability on that income, if they are required to do so.

Form 1040-C must be filed before an alien leaves the United States or any of its possessions. For more information, see How To Get the Certificate, later.

If you are a nonresident alien, use the 2016 Instructions for Form 1040NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return, to help you complete Form 1040-C.

If you are a resident alien, use the 2016 Instructions for Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to help you complete Form 1040-C.

You can get tax forms, instructions, and publications from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). See Additional information, later.

Alien status rules.   If you are not a citizen of the United States, specific rules apply to determine if you are a resident or nonresident alien for tax purposes. Intent is not a factor in determining your residency status.

  You are considered a resident alien if you meet either the green card test or the substantial presence test. However, even though you otherwise would meet the substantial presence test, you will not be considered a U.S. resident if you qualify for the closer connection to a foreign country exception or you are able to qualify as a nonresident alien by reason of a tax treaty. These tests and the exception are discussed in the instructions for Part I—Explanation of Status—Resident or Nonresident Alien, later.

Additional information.Ordering forms and publications.Tax questions.   For more information on the taxation of resident and nonresident aliens, residency tests, and other special rules, see Pub. 519.

You can download tax forms, instructions, and publications at

Go to to order current and prior-year forms and instructions. Your order should arrive within 10 business days.

People who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or have a speech disability and who have access to TTY/TDD equipment can call 1-800-829-4059. Deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals can also contact the IRS through relay services such as the Federal Relay Service available at

To get information, forms, and publications in Spanish, go to

If you have a tax question not answered by this publication, go to

Treaty Benefits

If you take the position that a treaty of the United States overrides or modifies any provision of the Internal Revenue Code and that position reduces (or potentially reduces) your tax, you may have to file Form 8833, Treaty-Based Return Position Disclosure Under Section 6114 or 7701(b), with your final U.S. income tax return. See Pub. 519 for more information.

Copies of the treaties are available at States Income Tax Treaties–A to Z.

Final Return Required

A Form 1040-C is not a final return. You must file a final income tax return after your tax year ends.

If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien on the last day of the year, you should file Form 1040 reporting your worldwide income. If you are not a U.S. citizen or resident alien on the last day of the year, you generally should file Form 1040NR or, if eligible, Form 1040NR-EZ, U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Nonresident Aliens With No Dependents. However, certain individuals who were resident aliens at the beginning of the tax year but nonresident aliens at the end of the tax year must file a “dual-status” return. See Dual-status tax year, later.

Any tax you pay with Form 1040-C counts as a credit against tax on your final return. Any overpayment shown on Form 1040-C will be refunded only if and to the extent your final return for the tax year shows an overpayment.


There are some tax items that are not addressed on Form 1040-C or in these instructions that must be taken into account on your final return. For example, if you are a Group I (resident alien) filer, you must reconcile any advance payments of the premium tax credit with the premium tax credit allowed on your tax return.

Certificate of Compliance


The issuance of a certificate of compliance is not a final determination of your tax liability. If it is later determined that you owe more tax, you will have to pay the additional tax due.

Form 1040-C or Form 2063.   If you are an alien, you should not leave the United States or any of its possessions without getting a certificate of compliance from your IRS Field Assistance Area Director on Form 1040-C or Form 2063, U.S. Departing Alien Income Tax Statement, unless you meet one of the Exceptions, beginning on this page.

  You can file the shorter Form 2063 if you have filed all U.S. income tax returns you were required to file, you paid any tax due, and either of the following applies.
  • You have no taxable income for the year of departure and for the preceding year (if the time for filing the earlier year's return has not passed).

  • You are a resident alien with taxable income for the preceding year or for the year of departure, but the Area Director has decided that your leaving will not hinder collecting the tax.

Exceptions.   You do not need a certificate of compliance if any of the following applies.
  1. You are a representative of a foreign government who holds a diplomatic passport, a member of the representative's household, a servant who accompanies the representative, an employee of an international organization or foreign government whose pay for official services is exempt from U.S. taxes and who has no other U.S. source income, or a member of the employee's household who has no income from U.S. sources. However, if you signed a waiver of nonimmigrant's privileges as a condition of holding both your job and your status as an immigrant, this exception does not apply, and you must get a certificate.

  2. You are a student, industrial trainee, or exchange visitor, or the spouse or child of such an individual. To qualify for this exception, you must have an F-1, F-2, H-3, H-4, J-1, J-2, or Q visa. Additionally, you must not have received any income from sources in the United States other than:

    1. Allowances covering expenses incident to your study or training in the United States (including expenses for travel, maintenance, and tuition),

    2. The value of any services or accommodations furnished incident to such study or training,

    3. Income from employment authorized under U.S. immigration laws, or

    4. Interest on deposits, but only if that interest is not effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business.

  3. You are a student, or the spouse or child of a student, with an M-1 or M-2 visa. To qualify, you must not have received any income from sources in the United States other than:

    1. Income from employment authorized under U.S. immigration laws, or

    2. Interest on deposits, but only if that interest is not effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business.

  4. Any of the following applies.

    1. You are on a pleasure trip and have a B-2 visa.

    2. You are on a business trip, have a B-1 visa or a combined B-1/B-2 visa, and do not stay in the United States or any of its possessions for more than 90 days during the tax year.

    3. You are passing through the United States or any of its possessions, including travel on a C-1 visa or under a contract, such as a bond agreement, between a transportation line and the U.S. Attorney General.

    4. You are admitted on a border-crossing identification card.

    5. You do not need to carry passports, visas, or border-crossing identification cards because you are (i) visiting for pleasure or (ii) visiting for business and do not stay in the United States or any of its possessions for more than 90 days during the tax year.

    6. You are a resident of Canada or Mexico who commutes frequently to the United States to work and your wages are subject to income tax withholding.

    7. You are a military trainee admitted for instruction under the Department of Defense and you will leave the United States on official military travel orders.

    However, exception 4 does not apply if the Area Director believes you had taxable income during the current tax year through your departure date, or the preceding tax year, and that your leaving the United States would hinder collecting the tax.

How To Get the Certificate

To get a certificate of compliance, you must go to an IRS office at least two weeks before you leave the United States and file either Form 2063 or Form 1040-C, and any other required tax returns that have not been filed. The certificate may not be issued more than 30 days before you leave. If both you and your spouse are aliens and both of you are leaving the United States, both of you must go to the IRS office.

To find an IRS office, click on Contact Your Local IRS Office. Please note that some IRS offices require an appointment. These offices will have a "Make Appointment" link (below the office's days/hours of service) that you must click on to get information about making an appointment. Remember that you must visit an IRS office at least two weeks (but no more than 30 days) before you leave the United States, so make sure you call for an appointment well before those time frames.

Please be prepared to furnish your anticipated date of departure and bring the following records with you if they apply.

  1. A valid passport with your alien registration card or visa.

  2. Copies of your U.S. income tax returns filed for the past 2 years. If you were in the United States for less than 2 years, bring copies of the income tax returns you filed for that period.

  3. Receipts for income taxes paid on these returns.

  4. Receipts, bank records, canceled checks, and other documents that prove your deductions, business expenses, and dependents claimed on the returns.

  5. A statement from each employer you worked for this year showing wages paid and tax withheld. If you are self-employed, you must bring a statement of income and expenses up to the date you plan to leave.

  6. Proof of any payments of estimated tax for the past year and the current year.

  7. Documents showing any gain or loss from the sale of personal and/or real property, including capital assets and merchandise.

  8. Documents concerning scholarship or fellowship grants, such as: (a) verification of the grantor, source, and purpose of the grant; (b) copies of the application for, and approval of, the grant; (c) a statement of the amount paid, and your duties and obligations under the grant; and (d) a list of any previous grants.

  9. Documents indicating qualification for special tax treaty benefits.

  10. Document verifying your date of departure from the United States, such as an airline ticket.

  11. Document verifying your U.S. taxpayer identification number, such as a social security card or an IRS-issued Notice CP 565 showing your individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN).


If you are married and reside in a community property state, also bring the documents listed on this page for your spouse. This applies whether or not your spouse requires a certificate.

If you are filing Form 1040-C, file an original and one copy for the tax year in which you plan to leave. If you are departing between January 1, 2017, and April 18, 2017, you also must file Form 1040NR or Form 1040 for 2016 and pay any tax due.

Generally, a certificate of compliance on Form 1040-C will be issued without your paying tax or posting bond if you have not received a termination assessment. A termination assessment is a demand for immediate payment of income tax for the current and immediately preceding year.

This certificate applies to all of your departures during the current tax year, subject to revocation on any later departure if the Area Director believes your leaving would hinder collecting the tax.

If you owe income tax and the Area Director determines that your departure will jeopardize the collection of the tax, a certificate of compliance on Form 1040-C will be issued only when you pay the tax due or post bond, and the certificate will apply only to the departure for which it is issued.

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