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F1 to H1B Tax Return

Hello, 

I entered the US in August 2014 on a F1 visa. I got a full time job after graduation and was on OPT starting Feb 2017. My H1B got approved in 2018 and I've been on H1B since Oct 2018. Up until now, I've been filing using 1040NR-EZ and 8843. How do I file taxes for this year? Please advise

Thanks!

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1 Best answer

Accepted Solutions
LinaJ2018
Intuit Alumni

F1 to H1B Tax Return

For the tax year of 2018, you might be likely to file as a nonresident on Form 1040NR.  

Here is why:

As a F-1 visa holder, you are exempt (not counting days) for five years from the first year you enter the US.  In your situation, you are considered as a nonresident for 2014-2018.  As you change your status to an H-1B visa in October 2018, which is not exempt, IRS allows you to start counting days from October 2018.  Technically, you are considered as a non-resident from January 1st - October 2018 while you are still on the F-visa.  From October-December 2018 when you are on the H-visa, and since you do not stay more than 183 days from October until the end of the year, you are considered as a nonresident alien for the whole year.

You have another option.  If you anticipate you will be staying in the US for at least 183 days in the year of 2019 or meet the Substantial Presence Test SPT, you can make an election to treat yourself as a resident from October 2018, to file as a dual-alien alien. Please see FirstYearChoiceResidency Starting Date under the First-Year Choice.  If you meet the requirements, for the year of 2018, you will be filing as a nonresident for the first 10 months and a resident for the rest of the year.  

Hope it helps!

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58 Replies
LinaJ2018
Intuit Alumni

F1 to H1B Tax Return

For the tax year of 2018, you might be likely to file as a nonresident on Form 1040NR.  

Here is why:

As a F-1 visa holder, you are exempt (not counting days) for five years from the first year you enter the US.  In your situation, you are considered as a nonresident for 2014-2018.  As you change your status to an H-1B visa in October 2018, which is not exempt, IRS allows you to start counting days from October 2018.  Technically, you are considered as a non-resident from January 1st - October 2018 while you are still on the F-visa.  From October-December 2018 when you are on the H-visa, and since you do not stay more than 183 days from October until the end of the year, you are considered as a nonresident alien for the whole year.

You have another option.  If you anticipate you will be staying in the US for at least 183 days in the year of 2019 or meet the Substantial Presence Test SPT, you can make an election to treat yourself as a resident from October 2018, to file as a dual-alien alien. Please see FirstYearChoiceResidency Starting Date under the First-Year Choice.  If you meet the requirements, for the year of 2018, you will be filing as a nonresident for the first 10 months and a resident for the rest of the year.  

Hope it helps!

F1 to H1B Tax Return

Thanks a lot for your answer!

So I think I'm gonna file the 1040NR this year. However, in 2020 I will have passed the SPT so, I'll be able to file form 1040 online using turbotax at that time. Is that correct?

Thanks!
LinaJ2018
Intuit Alumni

F1 to H1B Tax Return

That's correct.

F1 to H1B Tax Return

Hey I'm currently in the same situtation and wondering if its okay to just file a 1040 instead of dual status or 1040NR.

Thanks

F1 to H1B Tax Return

I am exactly in the Same situation. I was advised by a lawyer to file as resident. He did not mention anything about sPT. He just advised to file as resident. Also I was suggested to file FICA and article 21(2). any insight on what these are and should i apply ?

Thanks
Gujjuje
New Member

F1 to H1B Tax Return

Mine is a very similar case:
Came to US in 2015 December with F1, got H1B in 2018 October, Married(Out of USA) in 2018 December (Spouse isn't in USA at that time, she entered USA in February 2019). Now Should I file 1040 NR for only me? Or file jointly 1040 with ITIN application form  (W-7) for my spouse? I have already done my tax returns in Turbo Tax with 1040 and got a certified document for tax consultant approved by IRS. I am ready to post. What should I do now? Please help.

F1 to H1B Tax Return

If file dual status return, standard deduction still cannot be claimed :(
prana
New Member

F1 to H1B Tax Return

Hi! I came to the USA in July 2014 and was on an F1 visa until May 15, 2019, and been on cap-exempt H1B since May 16, 2019. Since I was on H1B for more than 183 days in 2019, can I consider myself as a Resident Alien for the year and use the standard deduction. Please let me know. any help appreciated.

LinaJ2020
Expert Alumni

F1 to H1B Tax Return

Yes, you can.  You are considered a resident in 2019 and can use the standard deduction if you don't have enough to itemize.

 

You are considered as a nonresident for five years from the year you first entered the US ( 2014-2018) Starting from January 1, 2019, if you have stayed more than 183 days, you are a US resident for tax purposes. 

 

@prana

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F1 to H1B Tax Return

Hi,

 

I am in a similar boat, but a year later. I came in 2014 Aug as well. I was cap-exempt from May 2019, but I got my H1-B in Oct 2019. Can I use turbo tax for 2019 tax returns? Do I have to file NR for the year 2019?

 

Thanks,

Utsav

KarenJ2
Expert Alumni

F1 to H1B Tax Return

You need to file a resident return and can file using TurboTax.

 

I assume you were an F1 visa holder until the end of 2018 (exempt 5 years or part years).  Starting January 1, 2019 you had to start counting you US days of presence for the Substantial Presence Test.  If you were in the US more than 183 days in 2019, you need to file a US resident return.

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rishi52
New Member

F1 to H1B Tax Return

I entered US in Aug of 2015 on F1 Visa and received my H1B Approval in December 2019 in Consular Processing. I had to go to India to get the new H1B visa stamp and enter US again Jan 2020. I am married and my wife is on F2 visa here in the US since August 2019. Can i file 1040 or should i file 1040NR?

KarenJ2
Expert Alumni

F1 to H1B Tax Return

You will need to file a nonresident return.  You cannot make an election to file as married filing jointly as you were not a part year resident in 2019. 

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F1 to H1B Tax Return

Here is my situation, am I dual status or resident?

 

Resident status:
H1B approval notice valid from 12/23/2018 to 9/20/2021
2019 visa status
1/1 to 5/9 in the US, living in Benton Harbor, Michigan - under J1 stamp
5/9 to 5/30 in Brazil - got the H1B stamp (issued on 5/15/2019)
5/30 to 12/31 in the US, living in South Bend, Indiana (St Joseph County, IN) - under H1B stamp
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