Stimulus Payment Guidance for Internationals
STIMULUS PAYMENT ELIGIBILITY
To be eligible for a stimulus payment, you must be a “U.S. person”; there are also other eligibility issues regarding level of income, etc. Nonresident aliens are not eligible for stimulus payments. For more information on Economic Impact Payment (stimulus payment) eligibility, please see https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments.
HOW TO DETERMINE U.S. TAX RESIDENCY
An individual who is not a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, (a U.S. person), must take the substantial presence test each year to determine whether he or she is a resident alien for tax purposes or a nonresident alien for tax purposes. If you “pass” the substantial presence test, you are a resident alien for tax purposes. If you “do not pass” the substantial presence test, you are a nonresident alien for tax purposes. There is more information about how to determine U.S. tax residency at this link: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/substantial-presence-test.
INCOME TAX FILING REQUIREMENTS
The federal income tax return filed by a U.S. person is Form 1040; the federal income tax return filed by a nonresident alien is either Form 1040-NR or Form 1040-NR-EZ. If a nonresident alien incorrectly filed Form 1040, thus presenting himself or herself to the IRS as a U.S. person, the IRS may send the nonresident alien an economic stimulus payment in error.
STIMULUS PAYMENT RECEIVED IN ERROR
If you think you received a stimulus payment by mistake, DO NOT spend the payment. To return the payment, please access the Economic Impact Payment Information Center on the IRS website at this link: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center#more and scroll down to the topic Returning the Economic Impact Payment.
ELIGIBLE FOR A STIMULUS PAYMENT
If an individual was a resident alien (a U.S. person) and correctly filed a 2018 and/or 2019 Form 1040, and received a stimulus payment, there is nothing he or she needs to do.
If an individual was a nonresident alien last year in 2019, but will become a resident alien in 2020, he or she will be eligible to claim a stimulus payment when preparing Form 1040 for tax year 2020.
POSSIBLE IRS-RELATED CORONAVIRUS SCAMS
Taxpayers should be aware of IRS impersonation calls, texts, and fraudulent emails about stimulus payments under the CARES Act. These calls, emails, and texts target individuals by offering assistance to a taxpayer with obtaining a tax refund or stimulus payment faster; the taxpayer is asked to verify personal and/or banking information. *Please DO NOT click on internet links or open attachments in suspicious-looking emails. As a reminder, the IRS will not call, email or text an individual to verify financial, banking, or personal information. The official IRS website is www.IRS.gov; please be aware that there are fake websites attempting to obtain personal and/or banking information.
For more information, please see https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/coronavirus.shtml.