A resident alien is treated as a United States person for US tax purposes and is a non-US person who meets either the green card test, or the substantial presence test for the calendar year (January
1 – December 31). A person that does not meet either test is a nonresident alien. There are rules for determining the Residency Starting and Ending Dates for aliens. In some cases aliens are allowed to make elections that take precedence over the green card test and the substantial presence test.
Those cases include:
- Nonresident Spouse Treated as a Resident
- Closer Connection To a Foreign Country
- Tax Treaties A person can be both a nonresident alien and a resident alien during the same tax year. This usually occurs in the year that person arrives or departs from the United States. This person may elect to be treated as a Dual Status Alien for this taxable year and a Resident Alien for the next taxable year if he or she meets certain tests. (Refer to section “Dual-Status Aliens” – “First Year Choice” in Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.) A resident alien who is required to establish his or her U.S. residency for the purpose of claiming a tax treaty benefit with a foreign country should refer to Certification of U.S. Residency for Tax Treaty Purposes.