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I would like to find out if I need to do my taxes as resident or non resident. I would really appreciate if anyone can take a look at my particular case and let me know their opinion, before I choose Turbotax vs Sprintax.

I am currently working as a teacher with a J1 visa since August 2019. Based on the dates of arrival to the USA, and taking the IRS Substantial Presence Test (https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/substantial-presence-test ). Following these rules:

To meet this test, you must be physically present in the United States (U.S.) on at least: 31 days during the current year, and 183 days during the 3-year period that includes the current year and the 2 years immediately before that, counting: All the days you were present in the current year, and 1/3 of the days you were present in the first year before the current year, and 1/6 of the days you were present in the second year before the current year.

I met the requirements of both paragraphs. On the other hand, according to wikipedia:

Temporary presence in the United States as a teacher or trainee under a J visa or Q visa. It is possible to exclude at most three years out of any continuous period of six years. There are some other caveats to the use of this status as well.

If my understanding of this paragraph is correct, and bearing in mind that for the period 2014 to 2016 I was also working as a teacher with a J1 visa, assuming I filed my taxes as non-resident for at least 3 fiscal years of this period (2014-2020), my question is should I file as resident for 2020?

This paragraph can be also understood as you needed to be living in the US continually. In my case, I was back in my country (paying taxes in my own country) from 2017 to 2019.

I made an attempt doing my taxes with Sprintax, but if I fill all dates of my presence in the US from 2014 to 2020, I am not able to complete it since I am resident according to the platform. 

I would appreciate if somebody could clarify.  Thank you.

Alicia G.

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  • Were you ever in an F or J status prior to 2014? – user102008 Mar 20 at 18:36
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You are an "exempt individual" (days of presence not counted in the Substantial Presence Test) for your days in teacher or trainee status, unless you have been an exempt individual for some part of 2 of the previous 6 calendar years.

Assuming that you have not been in F or J status prior to 2014, you were an exempt individual for your days in J1 teacher status in 2014 and 2015, but not 2016 (because you had already been an exempt individual for some part of 2 of the previous 6 years -- 2014 and 2015).

In 2019 and 2020, you were also not an exempt individual for your days in J1 teacher status, because the previous 6 years (2013-2018 in the case of 2019; 2014-2019 in the case of 2020) in both cases include 2014 and 2015, 2 years during some part of which you were an exempt individual. So for 2020, you should pass the Substantial Presence Test and be a resident alien. (And also for 2016 and 2019, your days on J1 counted in the Substantial Presence Test, and you would be a resident alien if those days passed 183 days.)

(Since you are a resident alien for 2020, you should be filing your 2020 tax returns with form 1040, and since you also have an SSN (since you have been working), you are eligible for the stimulus payments, which you can claim on your 2020 tax return as tax credits if you haven't already received them.)

For 2021, you will again be an exempt individual for your days in J1 teacher status, because in the previous 6 years (2015-2020), there was only 1 calendar year (2015) during some part of which you were an exempt individual. Therefore, if you are in no status other than J1 teacher status during 2021, you will not pass the Substantial Presence Test be a nonresident alien for 2021, whose taxes you will file in early 2022.

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