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How Can I Become a U.S. Taxpayer? – SPT Explained

You may find yourself wondering how you can become a taxpayer in the United States through the Substantial Presence Test or even trying to navigate your tax residency status so you can sort out how much you must pay while in the United States. Whatever situation you may be in, it’s essential to understand the Substantial Presence Test so that you don’t make common filing mistakes that can affect your nonresident visa.

At Maggi Tax, we specialize in navigating the complicated process of SPT so that you don’t have to. We help you work through all the red tape and ensure that every tax filing you do in the United States is done correctly. We understand that the SPT can be incredibly confusing, which is why today, we wanted to take some time to shed some light on exactly what SPT is and why it’s vital for you to know.

What Is Substantial Presence Test? 

The Substantial Presence Test, or SPT for short, is a calculation that the IRS does to determine any foreign national’s nonresident or resident status for tax purposes in the United States. It is applied every year unless you’re on an F-1 or J-1 student or teacher visa, then you are considered exempt for the first five years you’re in the U.S.

If you’ve worked or made money in the United States for at least 31 days, you must file SPT. If you’re in the U.S. for any part of the calendar year, that year is calculated as an entire year.

Here’s a breakdown of the calculation that determines the number of days to satisfy the SPT:

  • You must be present in the U.S. for at least 31 days during the current calendar year. Whether or not those days are consecutive.

You must use the following calculation to satisfy the SPT:

  • ALL the days you were physically present in the United States in the current calendar year.
  • PLUS 1/3 the number of days physically present in the U.S. during the preceding year.
  • PLUS 1/6 the number of days you were in the U.S. during the second prior year.
  • EQUALS 183 days or greater, you are considered a resident alien for tax purposes.

So, if you’re looking to become a U.S. taxpayer, that formula helps provide your answer. Working in the United States on any type of nonresident visa that permits you to do so and keeping this formula in mind is the best way to ensure you’re able to become a U.S. taxpayer.

We hope this formula and quick breakdown helps you better understand what exactly that Substantial Presence Test is and how it can be a way to earn the U.S. taxpayer status that you’re seeking. If you have more questions about SPT or what you may qualify for already, be sure to reach out to the friendly and expert team here at Maggi Tax!


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