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I am from Brazil and live and work in the US. I am a Brazilian citizen and not a US citizen or permanent resident.

I can work from home for a few weeks if I want to. I still own a house in Brazil where my dad is living, and I would love to spend two summers per year (fly to Brazil early in December, return in February). Is there a limit (from a tax/income tax perspective) of how long I am allowed to stay outside of the US without impacting my taxes? What would that limit be and where can I find more information?

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  • What is your country of citizenship?
    – Michael
    Mar 20, 2017 at 18:46
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    @Grade'Eh'Bacon I think you're misconstruing the problem. The OP has a semi-permanent visa like an H-1B and is living/working in the US legally. He wants to spend about 3 months in Brazil, doing some work 'remotely' for his US employer.
    – mkennedy
    Mar 20, 2017 at 20:40
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    @Phil Because you're still in the US over half the year, I think you'll still be considered a tax resident, so it won't affect your US taxes at all.
    – mkennedy
    Mar 20, 2017 at 20:41
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    I recommend posting on expatriates.stackexchange.com about all possible consequences. Working in the USA without being permanent resident is interesting.
    – gnasher729
    Mar 20, 2017 at 20:42
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    @gnasher729 There are tons of US work visas (of different types) that do not need nor grant permanent residency.
    – mkennedy
    Mar 20, 2017 at 21:01

1 Answer 1

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I'm a bit confused by your question. I'm used to people asking how long they can be in a country before having to pay tax there, not how long can they be away before impacting their taxes. But I'll take the question at face value...

While I'm not a tax expert, I have lived outside the US and filed my own taxes for years. I believe your question really boils down to whether you're considered resident or non-resident in the US during the tax year. You can find more by looking at the IRS pages definining these terms and the policies that apply to each.

On https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/resident-aliens, the IRS says:

Resident Aliens

If you are a resident alien, the rules for filing income, estate, and gift tax returns and paying estimated tax are generally the same whether you are in the United States or abroad. Your worldwide income is subject to U.S. income tax the same way as an U.S. citizen. You are a resident alien of the United States for tax purposes if you meet either the green card test or the substantial present test for the calendar year.

Given you aren't a permanent resident of the US, the "green card test" doesn't apply to you for determining your US taxation. Instead, the "Substantial Presence Test" does. (see https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/substantial-presence-test). Basically, under your described plan, you'd qualify for regular US taxation because you'll be in the US for at least 183 days of the current tax year. (Note the cases for "exempt individuals" on that page -- I presume these don't apply to you.)

If you somehow do qualify as non-resident (assuming info you haven't provided in your question), here's a link to the main IRS page covering non-resident alien taxation in the US: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/nonresident-aliens

Oh, and by the way, if you are instead asking as to whether you get any sort of deductions on your US taxes for income earned while visiting/living in Brazil, the answer is yes. And there is no time limit or minimum on this that I'm aware of, though it might not be worthwhile to do all the paperwork if you haven't spent enough time outside the country. There are ample sources to search for information on "foreign earned income exclusion" and "foreign tax credit"

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