Visa Holders and Tax Violations

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Can Non-citizens be Subject to Tax Violations?

Many people are under the impression that non-citizens don’t have to pay taxes.  This might be true in some instances, but there many circumstances in which a non-citizen is required to pay taxes. 

Failure to pay taxes can result in legal penalties for the non-citizen, which can have negative consequences for them in the long run.  The laws governing taxes for non-citizens are different depending on whether the person holds a non-immigrant visa or a green card.  Tax requirements depend on whether the person is classified as a “tax resident” or not

For nonimmigrant visa holders, the tax rules are as follows:

For permanent visa holders (i.e., “green card” holders), the tax rules are as follows:

Do U.S. Tax Residents Need to Declare Tax Information From Outside of the U.S.?

If a non-citizen is classified as a U.S. tax resident, they are required to report all of their “worldwide income” to the IRS.  This means that if they are generating income outside of the U.S., they also need to declare this income when they file their tax reports. 

To be clear, not all reported “worldwide” income will be taxed.  The non-citizen tax resident simply has a duty to declare such income on their U.S. tax returns.  Whether or not they will actually be taxed on their worldwide income depends on other sources of law, namely international treaties. 

What are the Legal Penalties Involved with Visa Holders and Tax Violations?

If you have a visa or green card and are classified as a tax resident, you’ll need to follow all the laws regarding tax filing and income reports.  Failure to do so could negatively affect the person’s future applications with regards to:

In addition, tax violations can often be grounds for more serious measures such as deportation/removal.  Thus, it’s important for a non-citizen to understand their obligations with respects to the current U.S. tax laws.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Issues With Visa Holders and Tax Violations? 

If you or your loved ones are unsure of current tax classifications, you may wish to contact an immigration lawyer for advice.  An experienced, qualified immigration attorney in your area can determine your tax status and can provide you with advice on how to satisfy tax requirements.  Also, if you are being summoned to an immigration hearing, your lawyer can provide you with representation during the proceedings.

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Last Modified: 05-01-2012 12:05 PM PDT

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