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I am an engineer from Malaysia and I will be working in the US starting 1st of March 2018. I know that I need to pay tax for my March income but do I need to pay to IRS for my previous months income (January and February)?

These income are taxable in Malaysia.

Thanks!

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It looks like there is no tax treaty between Malaysia and the US.

Therefore:

If the treaty does not cover a particular kind of income, or if there is no treaty between your country and the United States, you must pay tax on the income in the same way and at the same rates shown in the instructions for the applicable U.S. tax return.

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Trying hard to answer the question, as per 'Bacon's comment. It looks like the income is not taxable if all of the following are true:

  • You perform personal services as an employee of or under a contract with a nonresident alien individual, foreign partnership, or foreign corporation, not engaged in a trade or business in the United States; or you work for an office or place of business maintained in a foreign country or possession of the United States by a U.S. corporation, a U.S. partnership, or a U.S. citizen or resident.

  • You perform these services while you are a nonresident alien temporarily present in the United States for a period or periods of not more than a total of 90 days during the tax year.

  • Your pay for these services is not more than $3,000.

But I can't find a specific reference anywhere to the case in point; I am not a tax lawyer or CPA, objects in the mirror are bigger than they appear, YMMV, etc.

  • Unfortunately it looks like this is the correct answer, with regards to tax treaties. However, it would have increased value if it addressed the question regarding whether income earned prior to residence in the US would be taxable in that year, in the US. – Grade 'Eh' Bacon Dec 13 '17 at 15:42
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Yes, your global income for the full year is taxable. However, taxes you already paid in other countries are deducted from the taxes you owe in the US, so in practice you are not double taxed, just taxed with the higher tax of both countries.

  • Thanks for your reply. So do I still have to declare my first two months income when I file tax in the US at the end of the year? – Kai Sek Nov 15 '17 at 0:10

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