I have been non-resident alien in the last year 2018, and I have switched to a new employer in the last few months of last year.

Last month, I discovered that my new employer was collecting FICA (medicare and social security). When you are a non-resident alien, you are exempt from FICA.

I have asked them for refunding the over-collected taxes, they refused saying that I did not inform them of my filing status in 2018.

How to get the money back in this case? Does the IRS refund it?

Best Regards,

  • 1
    How long have you been a nonresident alien? After four years (or is it five?), nonresident aliens are considered to be tax residents of the US (even though their visa status is nonresident alien) and therefore liable to pay SS and Medicare taxes. Mar 5, 2019 at 16:27
  • 2
    "When you are a non-resident alien, you are exempt from FICA." Not generally. Only nonresident aliens in a few statuses, including F1 and J1, are exempt from FICA. Nonresident aliens working in other statuses are still subject to FICA. Please tell us what status you were in.
    – user102008
    Mar 5, 2019 at 18:47
  • 1
    I am J1 since 2016. But for 2018 I have spent ~7 months outside the US, hence I don't satisfy the substantial presence test. @user102008
    – M.A
    Mar 6, 2019 at 18:02
  • @DilipSarwate please see my answer above
    – M.A
    Mar 6, 2019 at 18:03

1 Answer 1


The IRS and the University of Texas each have articles that explain the procedure for requesting a refund of FICA taxes that were mistakenly withheld.

First, they suggest requesting a refund from your employer, which you’ve already done.

If the employer won’t or can’t give you a refund, then you need to get a written statement from your employer explaining why they cannot give you a refund. You send that statement to the IRS along with Form 843, Form 8316, and a bunch of other supporting documentation proving your exempt status.

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