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I am a nonresident alien living in the USA and paying federal and state taxes on my salary. I am working in a university in Colorado with a J1 visa which is valid from 06/24/2018. I have a social security number that I have received from my previous J1 program in 2007.

While I was doing my tax return online, I declared some bank account promotions (from US banks, referred as the total interest as specified in the 1099 INT forms) and interest from savings accounts (from US banks). However, it appears that the online website (Sprintax) does not include these interests as taxable income in my tax return. Do I need to report these additional income by some other means? I want to make sure I file everything correct and, thus, avoid any future penalty/implications. I am assuming Sprintax will file Form 1040NR for me since I am a nonresident alien.

Also, I have a foreign interest income but I was told by Sprintax that these foreign income do not need to be reported since I am a nonresident alien. I will be glad if someone could confirm this.

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  • Are you filing a 1040NR or a regular 1040 (or 1040A etc)? Also, are you are a tax resident of the US (which is different from residency status for immigration purposes)? – Dilip Sarwate Mar 10 '20 at 14:19
  • I am likely to file 1040NR since I am a nonresident alien. I have provided more details in my original post based on your comments. Will be able to help me on this? Thank you. – Rıza Bayoğlu Mar 10 '20 at 15:56
  • @DilipSarwate: FYI 1040A and 1040EZ no longer exist since 2018, although starting 2019 there is now 1040SR which is the same as 1040 except slightly larger type, as if that really helped: anyone who couldn't read the plain 1040 form is still going to have trouble with the new numbered schedules and the instructions. – dave_thompson_085 Mar 11 '20 at 9:57
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Yes, for a non-resident alien (as defined for US tax purposes) interest on a US bank account is excluded, unless 'effectively connected' to a 'trade or business' you operate in the US; see pub 519 chapter 3. And interest from a foreign bank is not US-source at all, and thus not subject to US tax as an NRA. (It may be taxable to you in the country where it is paid, but that's a different question.)

If 'working' means teacher or trainee you are probably okay; if you are a student on OPT and were previously, remember you get a lifetime total of 5 years non-resident status, unless you establish a 'closer connection' to another country on form 8840.

I suggest you look over all of pub 519; there are many complications in the US tax code for NRAs that might matter to you. It can also be downloaded in PDF for local reference; see the links at the top of the page.

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  • Thanks for this comment! It is nice to hear neither of these incomes is subject to taxation. For the records, I am working as a research scholar. At this point, I will assume Sprintax is compatible with IRS codes and will just make filing through. – Rıza Bayoğlu Mar 11 '20 at 16:08

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