US Immigration News

Tax Return Basics for Newcomers to the US

3 minute read
Filing your taxes in a new country for the first time can be daunting, and you may need help figuring out where to begin. Here, we’ll demystify tax returns in the United States and help rid you of unwanted and unnecessary stress.
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Apr 6, 2023
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Filing your taxes in a new country for the first time can be daunting, and you may need help figuring out where to begin. Here, we’ll demystify tax returns in the United States and help rid you of unwanted and unnecessary stress.

Do I Need to File Taxes in the US?

If you are authorized to work in the US and have made an income, you should file your taxes. You do not need to file taxes if you made less than a certain amount of money during the tax year, but even if that is the case, you could benefit from receiving a refund if you file your taxes.

In the US, anyone who is not a citizen will be classified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as either a resident alien or a nonresident alien.

A resident alien is a term for anyone who is not a US citizen but may have a green card or has passed a substantial presence test. Substantial presence refers to a certain number of days you resided in the US during the tax year or before. Anyone classified as a resident alien by the IRS should file taxes just like a US citizen would.

Nonresident aliens refer to anyone who would not pass a green card or substantial presence test. These could be temporary residents on a visa who own a business or made a significant income in the US during the tax year. Any temporary US visa holders should consider filing taxes to receive a refund.

Deadline for 2022 Tax Year

Federal income tax returns are due for the 2022 tax year on or by April 18, 2023. We recommend filing your taxes and making any necessary payments early. You can request an extension of up to 6 months from the IRS if needed.

Collect Your Documents

To file your taxes, you will need access to all relevant information. Some of the documents you will need to gather are:

  • W-2 form(s). You should receive one from all employers you had during the tax year. This form is a statement of your income.
  • 1099 form(s). These forms cover any other income you may have received during the tax year that is separate from your wage or salary.
  • Tax deductions. These could include student loan deductions, charitable deductions, and more. Determining which tax deductions you are eligible for can help to lower your tax payments or increase the amount you are refunded.
  • Receipts. Some expenses it is beneficial to keep track of include medical, childcare and work-related bills.

You should also ensure you know your US Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) before you file your taxes. This is important because you can only file your taxes in the US if you have one of these numbers.

Decide How To File Your Taxes

Once you prepare everything you need to file your taxes, you must decide how to file them. There are several ways to file your US taxes. If you feel confident completing them yourself, the IRS provides access to every form you need online. The IRS allows you to submit forms electronically through their Free File system or submit paper copies of your forms by mail if you prefer. You can also utilize an electronic tax filing program to help you determine any deductions you qualify for. You could also connect with a trusted accountant or tax preparation expert to assist you with filing your taxes.

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