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IRS.gov Website
Publication 3
taxmap/pubs/p3-014.htm#en_us_publink1000176219

Tax Returns of Aliens(p31)

For Use in Tax Year 2017
rule
For tax purposes, an alien is an individual who isn't a U.S. citizen. An alien is in one of the three categories discussed below: resident, nonresident, or dual-status. Placement in the correct category is crucial in determining what income to report and what forms to file.
taxmap/pubs/p3-014.htm#en_us_publink100049919
If you are an alien and in the Armed Forces. (p31)
Most members of the Armed Forces are U.S. citizens or resident aliens. Under peacetime enlistment rules, you generally can't enlist in the Armed Forces unless you are a citizen or have been legally admitted to the United States for permanent residence. If you are an alien enlistee in the Armed Forces, you are probably a resident alien. If, under an income tax treaty, you are considered a resident of a foreign country, see your base legal officer. Other aliens who are in the United States only because of military assignments and who have a home outside the United States are nonresident aliens. Guam and Puerto Rico have special rules. Residents of those areas should contact their taxing authority with their questions.
If you have questions about your alien status or the alien status of your dependents or spouse, you should read the information in the following paragraphs and see Pub. 519.
taxmap/pubs/p3-014.htm#en_us_publink1000176220

Resident Aliens(p31)

For Use in Tax Year 2017
rule
taxmap/pubs/p3-014.htm#en_us_publink100049920

What are the tax consequences of being a resident alien?(p31)

For Use in Tax Year 2017
rule
Generally, resident aliens are taxed on their worldwide income and file the same tax forms as U.S. citizens.
taxmap/pubs/p3-014.htm#en_us_publink100049921

Am I a resident alien?(p31)

For Use in Tax Year 2017
rule
You are considered a resident alien of the United States for tax purposes if you meet either the "green card test" or the "substantial presence test" for the calendar year (January 1–December 31).
You may be able to choose to be treated as a U.S. resident for part of 2017 if you: See First-Year Choice in Pub. 519. These tests are explained in Pub. 519.
taxmap/pubs/p3-014.htm#en_us_publink1000176221

Treating nonresident alien spouse as resident alien.(p31)

For Use in Tax Year 2017
rule
A nonresident alien spouse can be treated as a resident alien if all the following conditions are met.
taxmap/pubs/p3-014.htm#en_us_publink1000176222
Making the choice.(p32)
Both you and your spouse must sign a statement and attach it to your joint return for the first tax year for which the choice applies. Include in the statement:
Deposit
Once you make this choice, the nonresident alien spouse's worldwide income is subject to U.S. tax. If the nonresident alien spouse has substantial foreign income, there may be no advantage to making this choice. Also, if you make this election, you may forfeit the right to claim benefits otherwise available under a U.S. tax treaty.
taxmap/pubs/p3-014.htm#en_us_publink1000176224
Ending the choice.(p32)
Once you make this choice, it applies to all later years unless one of the following situations occurs. For specific details on these situations, see Pub. 519.
If the choice is ended for any of these reasons, neither spouse can make the choice for any later year.
taxmap/pubs/p3-014.htm#en_us_publink1000176225
Choice not made.(p32)
If you and your nonresident alien spouse don't make this choice, the following restrictions apply.
taxmap/pubs/p3-014.htm#en_us_publink1000176227

Nonresident Aliens(p32)

For Use in Tax Year 2017
rule
taxmap/pubs/p3-014.htm#en_us_publink100049922

Am I a nonresident alien?(p32)

For Use in Tax Year 2017
rule
You are a nonresident alien if you are an alien who doesn't meet the requirements discussed earlier for being classified as a resident alien.
taxmap/pubs/p3-014.htm#en_us_publink100049923

What are the tax consequences of being a nonresident alien?(p32)

For Use in Tax Year 2017
rule
If you are required to file a federal tax return, you must file either Form 1040NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return, or Form 1040NR-EZ, U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Nonresident Aliens With No Dependents. See these forms’ instructions for information on who must file and filing status.
If you are a nonresident alien, you generally must pay tax on income from sources in the United States. Your income from conducting a trade or business in the United States is taxed at graduated U.S. tax rates. Other income from U.S. sources is taxed at a flat 30% (or lower treaty) rate. For example, dividends from a U.S. corporation paid to a nonresident alien generally are subject to a 30% (or lower treaty) rate.
taxmap/pubs/p3-014.htm#en_us_publink1000176228

Dual-Status Aliens(p32)

For Use in Tax Year 2017
rule
taxmap/pubs/p3-014.htm#en_us_publink100049924

Am I a dual-status alien?(p32)

For Use in Tax Year 2017
rule
You are a dual-status alien if you are both a nonresident and resident alien during the same tax year. This usually occurs in the year you arrive in or depart from the United States.
taxmap/pubs/p3-014.htm#en_us_publink100049925

What are the tax consequences of being a dual-status alien?(p32)

For Use in Tax Year 2017
rule
If you are a dual-status alien, you are taxed on income from all sources for the part of the year you are a resident alien. Generally, for the part of the year you are a nonresident alien, you are taxed only on income from sources in the United States. See the Instructions for Form 1040NR for more information.