I worked as a contractor for a US company last year. I am a Canadian citizen and got paid by cheque to my Canadian bank account. I did fill out a W8BEN form for the employer but I was not working in the US.

Do I still have to file my taxes in the US (federal and state?). If so, is that process any different. Will I be just filling out the 1040NR form? I have previously worked in the US so I do have a SSN.

from the comments: I was not working in the US. Was working remotely from Canada

  • Did you physically work in the US? It's not quite clear from your wording. – Peter K. Mar 21 '16 at 20:59
  • @PeterK. No, I was not working in the US. Was working remotely from Canada. – Kartik Mar 21 '16 at 23:20
  • I can't see any reason why you'd need to file in the US then, unless you are a US citizen in addition to Canadian. – Peter K. Mar 21 '16 at 23:55

To answer your question in the subject - yes, you must file a tax return if you're claiming treaty benefits. You need to attach the form 8833 to a return, which means you must file a return.

However, in the situation you're describing there's no tax treaty involved. If you were not physically present in the US and don't pass the green card or substantial presence test - you don't have any US sourced income, and don't need to file anything in the US. Unless your employer withheld anything, that is, and then you need to file to claim a refund.

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  • thanks for your answer. My question was specific to filing US taxes, not tax return in general (yes I know I still have to file my Canadian taxes). Nothing was withheld from the employer but since I have a US SSN, it is on the W8BEN form, submitted to the employer. I simply wanted to clarify if I had to file a return in the US showing 0 income or simply not do one. If I'm reading everything right, I do not have to send in any tax forms to the US govt – Kartik Mar 22 '16 at 17:02
  • @Kartik I was talking specifically about the US taxes – littleadv Mar 23 '16 at 9:33
  • @Kartik speak for yourself, I'm not confused. yes, correct, however one of your assumptions may be wrong. If you have been US resident in 2014, you may be passing the substantial presence test. Check that. If you're sure that you don't - you're golden. – littleadv Mar 26 '16 at 14:57

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