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I am in the US for the past five years on F-1 Visa.I came here on Jan 01,2011. One of the HR Block Tax Pro that I used for filing 2014 tax returns used Substantial Presence Test where I was considered as resident for filing taxes. Now this year, when I went to see another Tax Pro at different HR location, he is telling me that 2014 taxes needs to be amended as I will be considered as resident for tax filing purpose from July onwards. I am confused which tax pro is correct. They haven't spoken with one another and keep on giving me different piece of information. Has anyone been through the similar situation here?

Secondly, I am also wondering if I can use turbotax for filing taxes considering I am on F-1 Visa?

  • You should not be "resident for tax filing purpose from July onwards". You are nonresident alien for all of 2014 and all of 2015. You do not meet the Substantial Presence Test for either 2014 or 2015. You will either be a nonresident alien for all of 2016 or a resident alien for all of 2016 depending on how many days you are in the US in 2016. – user102008 Mar 15 '16 at 0:28
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The second one is likely to be correct. The days you spent on F1 status are exempt from the substantial presence test, for the first 5 years. You can read mode here.

I don't think you can use the "regular" retail software like Turbo Tax since those generally don't support non-resident Federal filings.

  • Thanks. I am still not understanding why Substantial Presence Test may not apply to me as I am satisfying all the conditions written in the Page 4 of the following documentation irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p519.pdf – John Mar 13 '16 at 1:29
  • @John no, you don't. Read the link in my answer, it is also explained in the PDF. Days on F1 are exempt. – littleadv Mar 13 '16 at 1:36
  • @John: No, you don't satisfy the conditions. The conditions say to count the days you were present in the US. And then in the next section it defines what counts as present in the US, where it says "Do not count the following as days of presence in the United States for the substantial presence test. ... Days you are an exempt individual." Then on the next page it defines what exempt individual is. It includes students temporarily present on F, J, M, or Q visa, and there is a section describing students in more detail on that page. – user102008 Mar 15 '16 at 0:13
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There is no such thing as "eligibility" for the Substantial Presence Test. Both the Substantial Presence Test and Green Card Test apply to all aliens. You do not meet the Substantial Presence Test or the Green Card Test for 2014 or 2015. Therefore, you are a nonresident alien for all of 2014 and all of 2015 (and also 2013, 2012, 2011, etc).

You do not pass the Substantial Presence Test for 2014 or 2015 because you are an "exempt individual" for all the days you were in the US on F1 status during those years, and when you exclude those days on F1, you do not have enough other days that are sufficient to pass the test. You are an "exempt individual" because you are a student in the US in F status, and (assuming you hadn't been to the US as a student or trainee before this) you had not been an "exempt individual" for any part of 5 calendar years prior to 2014 or 2015.

For the year 2016, however, you will not be an "exempt individual" as a student anymore, because you have already been an "exempt individual" as a student for some part of 5 calendar years prior to 2016 (some part of 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015). So if you have enough days present in the US in 2016, you will pass the Substantial Presence Test for 2016 and be a resident alien for 2016.

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