When, How to Prepare and e-file Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ

Which 1040
Is Right
For Me?

If you are a U.S. nonresident alien, the IRS (Internal Revenue Agency) or US Tax Agency, has special rules on how to prepare and file a U.S. nonresident tax return. U.S. nonresidents will need to prepare and file Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ.

When to Prepare and e-file Form 1040 NR or 1040 NR-EZ

Form 1040NR is the tax form you prepare and file if you are a nonresident of the United States with dependents or a qualifying relative and you have any form of U.S. income (see exceptions below).

Form 1040NR-EZ is the tax form you prepare and file if you are not claiming dependents or or a qualifying relative. You can also file Form 1040NR-EZ if your U.S. income only comes from the following sources:

  • Wages e.g. you get paid by the hour as full time or part time employee
  • Salaries e.g. you get a fixed paid salary each pay period
  • Tips e.g. you work as a waiter and receive tips or any other type of work that tips you
  • Refunds of state and local income taxes
  • Taxable scholarship and fellowship grants

How to Find Out if You Are a U.S. Nonresident or Resident

If you are a U.S. nonresident, you will need to use Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ to prepare and file your tax return. You are a nonresident if:

  • You do not have a green card OR
  • You do not satisfy the substantial residence requirements (you spent 31 days during the Tax Year and a total of 183 days over the past 3 years, calculating the total number of days by adding the total number of days spent in United States this year to 1/3 of the total number of days spent in United States last year, and then adding 1/6 of the total number of days spent in United States 2 years ago to that total).

However, if you meet one of the U.S. residence requirements listed above, then you are a U.S. resident. This means that you can file Form 1040.

How to Determine If You Need to File a Tax Return As a Foreign Student

If you are an international student, scholar, teacher, or exchange visitor, you may have to file a U.S. tax return. Based on the IRS tax return filing requirements, whether or not you have to file a return usually depends on your income, age, and filing status.

Your immigration status helps you determines which 1040 form (1040, 1040NR, or 1040NR-EZ) to prepare and file. Learn more about the special rules of filing a tax return as a foreign student.

There are three types of immigratation statues: 

  • Resident alien
  • Nonresident alien
  • Duel status alien (taxpayer who changed their status from nonresident to resident alien during the Tax Year)

If you are a resident alien, you may be required to pay the same taxes as U.S. citizens, as well as file a tax return. However, if you have a F-1 student visa (and don't have a green card or do not satisfy the substantial residence requirement), you generally need to file a tax return as a nonresident alien. Be aware that you cannot claim an education credit for any part of the Tax Year as a nonresident alien (unless you elect to be treated as a resident alien for tax purposes).

How to Prepare and File Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ

Though you cannot prepare and efile Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ on efile.com, you can download and complete Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ in PDF format from this page. Then, you can print it out, sign it, and mail it to the IRS. The IRS mailing address you use depends on where you live and whether you are enclosing a check.

More Information on Filing Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ

You can find more information on filing tax returns as a nonresident in IRS Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.

See detailed information on all IRS 1040 tax form types.