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Rev. date: 12/04/2013

Alien Tax Clearance

Tax Topic 858
If you are either a resident or a nonresident alien departing the United States, you will usually have to show that you have complied with the U.S. income tax laws before departing from the United States. You do this by obtaining a tax clearance document, commonly called a "Departure Permit" or "Sailing Permit" from the IRS.
There are six categories of people not required to obtain a departure permit or sailing permit:
To find out whether you belong in one of these excluded categories, refer to Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.
If you do not fall into one of the above categories, you must obtain a departure or sailing permit. To obtain a permit, file Form 1040-C or Form 2063 (whichever applies) with your local IRS office before you leave the United States.

Form 2063

This is a short form that asks for certain information but does not include a tax computation. The following departing aliens can get their departure or sailing permits by filing Form 2063:
Aliens in either of these categories who have not filed an income tax return or paid income tax for any tax year must file the return and pay the income tax before they can be issued a departure or sailing permit on Form 2063.

Form 1040-C

If you must get a departure or sailing permit and you do not qualify to file Form 2063, you must file Form 1040-C.
Ordinarily, all income received or reasonably expected to be received during the tax year up to and including the date of departure must be reported on Form 1040-C and the tax on it must be paid. When you pay any tax shown as due on the Form 1040-C, and you file all returns and pay all tax due for previous years, you will receive a departure or sailing permit. However, the IRS may permit you to furnish a bond guaranteeing payment instead of paying the taxes for certain years.

When and How to Apply for a Departure or Sailing Permit

You must obtain your departure or sailing permit before you leave the United States. You should apply for the departure or sailing permit no earlier than 30 days before you plan to leave, but at least two weeks in advance of your departure. To get your departure permit, visit your nearest Taxpayer Assistance Center (walk-in IRS office). If you are married to an alien who is leaving the country with you, both of you must go to the IRS office. For information on the location of the Taxpayer Assistance Center nearest to you, call 800-829-1040, or visit
You must bring with you all the following records and information for the current year that apply to you:
If you have these documents and pay any tax due you should receive your departure or sailing permit immediately. For additional rules and information, refer to Publication 519.