Substantial Presence Test

You are here because you have an F-1 visa or a J-1 visa, and been in the U.S. with this visa since before January 1, 2012. Read below for details.

The Substantial Presence Test is a calculation that determines the resident or nonresident status of a foreign national for tax purposes. The Test must be applied on a yearly basis. However, during the first five calendar years the student with a F-1 or J-1 visa is present in the U.S., he or she is considered an “Exempt Individual.” This means that the student does not count days of actual presence in the U.S. for purposes of satisfying the Substantial Presence Test. Therefore, assuming the individual had no previous visits to the U.S., the student will be a nonresident alien for tax purposes during the first five calendar years of presence in the U.S.

For a teacher or a scholar on a J-1 immigration status, the determination of his or her “Exempt Individual” years are based on any two years within the current and past six calendar years. The term “calendar year” refers to the period from January 1 – December 31, not twelve consecutive months. Therefore, if the individual is present in the U.S. as an “Exempt Individual” for any part of one calendar year, that year is calculated as a whole year.   Consequently, an individual present in the U.S. under a J-1 non-student immigration status may fall in and out of nonresident alien status for U.S. tax purposes depending on the results of the Substantial Presence Test as it is applied on a yearly basis.

Take the Test now:

Number of days in the U.S. in 2016 +
(Number of days in the U.S. in 2015) ÷ 3 +
(Number of days in the U.S. in 2014) ÷ 6 =
Total days of presence

According to the Substantial Presence Test, have you been present in the U.S. for more than 183 days?

YES. You passed the substantial presence test. This means that you have spent more than 183 days in the U.S. within the last three years. Having substantial presence in the U.S. generally means you will be considered a resident for tax purposes. Go here for resident tax help and search for “tax preparation” or “vita”.

NO. If you don’t pass the test, then you will continue filing the forms as a non-resident. Go back to the Form Finder page to read further.

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