I recently moved from UK to US and I am having trouble understanding tax residency matters. In particular, it seems to me that I am not resident in any of the two countries. Indeed:

  1. I pass the first overseas test for UK tax residency: "You were resident in the UK for 1 or more of the 3 tax years preceding the tax year, and you spend fewer than 16 days in the UK in the tax year". Tax year in UK ended on April 5th 2018 and at that time I had already moved to the US. So I spent 0 days in the UK in this UK tax year. So I am not UK tax resident as of today.

  2. In the US I am nonresident alien since I don't have green card and I don't pass the substantial presence test (I have been in the US for less than 183 days, as of today). In my understanding, being nonresident alien implies being non resident for tax purposes. So I am not a US tax resident as of today.

Is this analysis correct? It seems strange to me not to be resident for tax purposes in any country.

On a more general note, is tax residency something related to a specific day (for example "as of today, I am tax resident in such and such countries") or to a whole tax year? If I spend more than 16 days in the UK next October, do I become retroactively UK tax resident as of today?

Edit: I am on O-1 visa

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    I don't know about the US specifically but many countries consider you a resident (for tax purpose) from day one if you move with the intent to stay long enough to meet whatever presence requirement they have for this year or the next. Similarly, I know some countries where the rules do not necessarily consider you a tax resident for the whole year. Note that there are many idiosyncratic rules and no overarching framework that would apply to all countries in the world. – Relaxed Jun 3 '18 at 6:43
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    You need to specify your exact US visa status, not just a generic "nonresident alien". For example, students who enter with a F-1 visa are considered to be nonresident aliens for tax purposes for the first five years that they spend in the US, but tax residents after that time even though they continue to have nonresident alien status for immigration purposes. – Dilip Sarwate Jun 3 '18 at 14:38
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    In the US, being a nonresident (AFAIK) doesn't mean you don't pay taxes. It just means you fill out more complicated forms to allocate your income between the US and the other places you lived. – The Photon Jun 3 '18 at 15:45
  • @DilipSarwate I am on O-1 visa. However law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/7701 section 2.A seems to confirm that I am not US resident for tax purposes and when I'll meet the substatntial presence test I will become retroactively resident starting the first day I entered the US. – user289366 Jun 4 '18 at 7:11

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