Tax Rules for Non-Citizens

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Are Non-Citizens Required to Pay U.S. Taxes?

In some cases, non-citizens are required to pay U.S. taxes.  This will depend on their immigration status, and sometimes on the length of time that they’ve been in the U.S.  This is true even if the person does not intend to stay permanently in the U.S.  If a non-citizen immigrant does meet the tax requirements, they are required to render taxes, or else they may face certain legal consequences.

Which Non-Citizens Must Pay U.S. Taxes?

For tax purposes, non-U.S. citizens are categorized in three different categories:

This last category can present many different challenges for the non-immigrant.  For example, they might not remember exactly how many days were spent in the U.S. over the last 3 years, and it may be difficult to perform the actual calculations.  In such cases, the services of an immigration lawyer may be necessary in order to avoid committing a tax violation.

What Happens if a Non-Citizen Doesn’t Pay Taxes When Required?

Some immigrants may be hesitant to deal with taxes, especially if they are in the country illegally or have overstayed a visa.  However, the legal consequences for an immigrant or a non-immigrant who fails to pay the required taxes can be quite severe.  For example, the consequences may include:

Lastly, non-citizens who aren’t considered tax residents may still want to file taxes if they have been working for an employer who has been withholding taxes from their wages.  They might qualify for a refund, and it may reflect well on their immigration record in the long run.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Immigrant Tax Laws?

The tax rules for immigrants can often be very confusing.  If you need help understanding how tax laws apply to non-citizens, you should contact an immigration lawyer immediately.  Your attorney can help review the laws in your area, so that you don’t end up committing any tax violations.  Also, your lawyer can represent you in court if you are being summoned for an appearance.

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Last Modified: 09-07-2012 04:19 PM PDT

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