1

Last year, I've filed 1040NR-EZ myself by entering all the values in the form manually. Because of complications in my case this year, I'm seeking a software's help.

  • I was on F1/OPT From Dec 2012 until Oct 2015. I'm on H1B from Oct 2015 to Dec 2015.
  • My employer did not withheld my social security tax from Oct 1, 2015 as I changed status to H1-B. Looks like I've to pay that from Oct 1, 2015. I'm not sure how to report this in my tax form.
  • In current year, I do have code 'D' in Box 12 of my W-2 if it matters.
  • I also have a 1099-INT and a couple of bank bonuses totaling $350 for which I don't have 1099-INT form since I don't have those accounts any more. Please let me what information is required to report them.

From what I read in blogs and forums on people with similar case, I've to file as a Non Resident Alien or Dual alien. I'm not sure how to split my taxes if I've to file both 1040 and 1040NR. Also, how to report my social security. Will appreciate any help.

What is a reasonable software to file my taxes ? I went to H&R block and they are charging exorbitantly $250+ to unsaid amount. All local CPAs are totally booked at this time and not accepting appointments. I know I made mistake waiting for last minute.

Worst case, I want to file an extension and pay that 0.5% penalty on the due.

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You are a nonresident alien for all of 2015, because you do not satisfy the Substantial Presence Test for 2015. Time on F1 is as an "exempt individual" (exempt from the Substantial Presence Test) unless you've been an exempt individual for some part of at least 5 previous calendar years, which you haven't if you've only been to the US in 2012 (assuming you haven't been to the US as a student or intern before). The non-F1 time in 2015 is too short to satisfy the Substantial Presence Test. So you would use form 1040NR / 1040NR-EZ. You also need to file form 8843 (which you should have also filed in previous years) because you have time as an "exempt individual" this year.

FICA tax (Social Security and Medicare tax) is generally not relevant for the tax return (except for the rare case where you pay Social Security tax over the limit due to having more than one job, which is not relevant here). Withholding FICA tax is the employer's responsibility. There is nothing you can do by yourself to pay it. The employer is responsible for paying the taxes to the government, and if they realize their mistake and pay later, they could deduct it from your future pay.

I'm not really sure whether bank bonuses are taxed for nonresidents.

You could choose to use the First-Year Choice and become dual-status (resident for the H1b part of the year). However, the process is really complicated and there generally isn't a benefit to being dual-status compared to being nonresident the whole year, unless you're married in which case you could then also choose to become resident the entire year, which may give some benefits.

Mainstream tax preparation services generally do not know how to deal with nonresident aliens. If you go to them they will likely file for you as a resident alien which is wrong.

  • Thank you very much. I really appreciate taking time to write a detailed response. I'm single. So, dual-status won't help me. I will go ahead and manually fill in the 1040 NR and 8843 like I did last year. I will figure out about bank bonus. I will leave the question open so anyone else with knowledge on bank bonus can respond. By any chance, are you an accounting specialist ? Just asking to increase my confidence level. – TechCrunch Apr 16 '16 at 20:40
  • bank bonuses are taxed as interest, and interest paid by a US bank is US-sourced. – littleadv Apr 17 '16 at 8:04
  • Bank Interest is exempt for Non Resident Aliens - irs.gov/Individuals/International-Taxpayers/… even though it is US income. – TechCrunch Apr 18 '16 at 5:01

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