Who is a Resident Alien for Tax Purposes?
Generally, students who have been in the US for longer than 5 years and scholars who have been in the US for longer than 2 years are resident aliens for tax purposes. If you have questions about your particular situation, you can use GLACIER Tax Prep to help you determine your residency status for tax purposes or take the IRS Substantial Presence Test.
What Changes When You Become a Resident Alien for Tax Purposes?
Resident aliens for tax purposes file their taxes the same way US citizens and permanent residents do. Some notable changes that might affect you are:
- Married couples can file a joint return
- Resident aliens can claim dependents regardless of their country of citizenship
- Students who are issued a 1098-T can claim tax benefits
- Most students and scholars can no longer claim tax treaty benefits, although students and scholars from China may still be able to claim some treaty benefits
- Residents aliens can claim a standard deduction on their taxes
What Resources are Available for Resident Aliens for Tax Purposes?
ISSS provides tax services for nonresident aliens for tax purposes. Since resident aliens for tax purposes file taxes the same way that U.S. citizens and permanent residents do, online tax filing software and in-person help around the community are available for you. ISSS recommends these free resources you may be able to use:
- Foundation Communities is a nonprofit organization that offers free volunteer tax services
- IRS: VITA Site Locator offers links to IRS-trained volunteer tax preparers
- IRS Free File links to online tax preparation software that is free for most students and scholars
See our webpage on filing a resident tax return for additional information.