Dual-status aliens are those who arrive or depart from the United States during the same tax year. Dual status refers to resident status for tax purposes in the United States, not to citizenship.

The U.S. income tax return that dual-status aliens must file depends on whether they are resident aliens or a nonresident aliens at the end of the tax year.

  • Resident aliens at end of year file form 1040 and
  • Non resident aliens at end of year file form 1040NR
    • Both write “Dual Status Return” across the top of the return

Note that restrictions apply when filing a tax return for a dual-status tax year:

  • You can itemize deductions (Schedule A) but you cannot benefit from the standard deduction.
  • You cannot file a joint return with your spouse except upon election if she/he is a US citizen.
  • You need to use the Tax Rate Schedule for “married filing separately” to figure your tax.
  • You cannot choose the head of Household tax table.
  • If you are a nonresident alien and married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien, you may not take the earned income credit, the credit for the elderly or disabled, or an education credit unless you elect to be taxed as a resident alien jointly with your spouse in lieu of these dual-status taxpayer rules.
  • Exemptions:
    • for the portion of the year you are a resident alien, you can claim the same number of exemptions that are allowed to a US citizen.
    • For the portion of the year you are a non resident alien, the number of exemptions you can claim are limited to one exemption for yourself as long as you may not be claimed as a dependent on another tax return. ( Special rules apply to residents of Canada, Mexico, South Korea and India).

Income to be reported:

  • For the period of residence, all worldwide income
  • For the period of non-residence, all income that is effectively connected with a trade or business in the United States
    • Income that is not connected with a trade or business in the United States is subject to the flat 30% rate or lower applicable Treaty rate. You cannot take any deductions against not-effectively connected income.
I created this blog to help understand certain basic aspects of U.S. tax law. Of course, each situation is unique and nothing that is on this site will ever replace the expert advice of a tax professional.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any question.

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