Tax for Non-resident Aliens

I am a non-resident alien (did not meet substantial presence test and was present for less than 183 days in the US) and have been told that ALL Federal taxes will be refunded (had happeed to all my friends who did not meet substantial presence test). I got my W-2 form and I filled my details online using Turbo Tax and it calculates my federal refunds which is less than the total federal taxes.

1. Please advisee what I should do to get all my federal taxes back?
2. Has there been any change in Federal Tax laws which affect the way non-resident aliens are taxed?

Appreciate all your help.

Thanks,
San
    Cancel
    You cannot use TurboTax to file an non-resident alien return.

    You will have to go to the IRS website and fill out the 1040NR return and mail it to the address listed on the form instructions.

    Go to http://www.irs.gov to get the form
    • Bine & Doninga,

      Thanks a lot for your quick responses. As this is the 1st time I am using this "Live COmmunity", I was unsure how to respond.

      Bine - I have a L1 Blanket (work authorization) visa which is valid until Jult 2014.

      I entered the US on this visa on 8/6/2011 and have been working in US since then. I have entered US before this in business visa in which I did not earn any salary. I hope I qualify as a non-resident alien?

      Thanks,
      San
    Cancel
    First, you cannot use Turbotax. You will need to file form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ. Thre is no guarantee, that you will get back all your taxes. That depends on your income level. What was your visa status?
      Cancel
      The days on your business visa would count towards the substantial presence test as well. However, there are options to exclude up to 10 days of presence. See here:
      http://www.irs.gov/publications/p519/ch01.html#en_US_publink1000222128
      If you don't meet the SPT, you area non-residnet alien.
      You would have the option to file a dual status return once you meet the SPT in 2012. However, dual status returns are not easy to do. However, if you are married you could then choose to be treated as resident aliens for the entire year. The disadvantage is, that you have to report worldwide income for the entire year, but you can get credit for foreign paid taxes. The advantage is, that you can file jointly and are eligible for the standard deduction and more credits/deductions.
      • Thanks Bine,

        Along with the stay in my business Visa, I would have stayed for over 183 days in US in 2011. So I suppose I cannot file my returns as a non-residential alien?

        And could I use TurboTax to file my returns? Also advise me which option would be the best to use (in Turbo Tax)?

        Regards,
        San
      Cancel
      If you do pass the test you would be a dual status alien. Have a look here:
      http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/international/article/0,,id=96433,00.html
      See also the link in  my previous post.
      Unless you are married and choose to treat both of you as resident aliens you cannot use Turbotax.
        Cancel
        Contribute an answer

        People come to TurboTax AnswerXchange for help and answers—we want to let them know that we're here to listen and share our knowledge. We do that with the style and format of our responses. Here are five guidelines:

        1. Keep it conversational. When answering questions, write like you speak. Imagine you're explaining something to a trusted friend, using simple, everyday language. Avoid jargon and technical terms when possible. When no other word will do, explain technical terms in plain English.
        2. Be clear and state the answer right up front. Ask yourself what specific information the person really needs and then provide it. Stick to the topic and avoid unnecessary details. Break information down into a numbered or bulleted list and highlight the most important details in bold.
        3. Be concise. Aim for no more than two short sentences in a paragraph, and try to keep paragraphs to two lines. A wall of text can look intimidating and many won't read it, so break it up. It's okay to link to other resources for more details, but avoid giving answers that contain little more than a link.
        4. Be a good listener. When people post very general questions, take a second to try to understand what they're really looking for. Then, provide a response that guides them to the best possible outcome.
        5. Be encouraging and positive. Look for ways to eliminate uncertainty by anticipating people's concerns. Make it apparent that we really like helping them achieve positive outcomes.
        Cancel