A calculator aids in calculating taxes for non-resident aliens.

Taxes for Non-resident Aliens

If you’re a non-resident alien, taxes can be confusing and overwhelming. However, it’s important to understand how the United States tax code applies to you as a foreign person who conducts business in the country.

Firstly, it’s important to determine your tax status. A non-resident alien is someone who is not a U.S. citizen, does not have a green card, and does not meet the substantial presence test. If you’re unsure of your status, it’s always best to consult with a tax professional.

Non-resident aliens may owe different types of taxes based on their status. These taxes are based on the follow, though not limited to just these:

1. Income Tax – Any income earned in the United States is subject to federal income tax. The rate varies depending on how much income was earned.
2. Social Security/Medicare Tax – You may also have to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes if you work for an American employer.
3. Self-Employment Tax – If you work for yourself in the United States, then self-employment taxes may be due.
4. State Taxes – Many states require out-of-state workers who earn an income within their borders to file state income taxes.

One thing that often confuses non-resident aliens is when they are subject to “withholding.” Withholding refers to when an employer takes money out of your paycheck and sends it directly to the IRS as a prepayment towards your estimated taxes owed for federal income tax purposes or social security/medicare taxes owed on wages earned within the US borders.

Generally speaking, if you work for any employer in the United States as an employee or independent contractor (which would include freelancing), then withholding will typically apply.

However there might be exceptions and exemptions based on various factors such as: exemption based on treaty provisions between different countries; certain types of students or scholars visiting US universities; minimum threshold before withholding amounts get triggered; etc.  It’s always best to prepare prior to the tax filing season on non-resident alien taxes as there may be various preliminary steps that can be taken to ease the stress of tax season.

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Disclaimer: This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult a tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction or submitting any IRS form.
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Ramin Mohammad

Ramin Mohammad is a lawyer and CPA with over 15 years of experience including working in audits, teaching, and in big law. Ramin helps clients on both personal and business related tax issues ranging from a multitude of practice areas including tax structuring, planning and cross jurisdictional taxes. His client-base expands throughout the US and overseas offering tax consulting, tax planning and tax preparation.

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