Dual-Status Aliens Tax Return – How and When?

What is a Dual-Status Alien Tax Return

All citizens in the US should file an income tax return on time to avoid any possible penalties and consequences from the IRS. It’s everyone’s responsibility as a resident of the country, especially those US  citizens. However, not just the citizens in the US are required to file yearly tax returns. It also includes the nonresident and resident aliens in the country. 

Moreover, people with different residency statuses will go through a particular process and submit the appropriate documents and forms to the IRS. Besides that, the same thing goes for people who have dual-status citizenships in the country for tax purposes. Hence, check this article to know more about the dual-status aliens and see how and when to apply for the yearly income tax return with this residency status. 

What is a Dual-Status Alien Tax Return?

If you’re a dual-status alien, you’ll be processing a tax return for being a nonresident citizen in a particular part of the year and being a resident alien for the remaining part of the year of the same tax year. It may usually happen if you went to the US and left the country for the same year. Hence, if you’ve successfully met the requirements for the substantial presence test in that particular year, that’s the time you’ll be a dual-status alien in the country. 

Who Needs to File a Dual-Status Tax Return?

Any foreign national who becomes a dual-status citizen in the US needs to process and file a dual-status income tax return. These people become one due to the total number of days they’ve stayed in the country within a three-year period. You may all know that you have to pass the 183 days of physical presence in the US, including the past two years and the current year, for you to change your residency status from becoming a nonresident citizen to a resident alien for tax purposes. 

For example, if you went to the US on August 1, 2020, and returned to your home country on September 1, 2020. That means you’ve completed 30 consecutive days of staying in the country. Then, you went back to the US on October 15, 2020, and stayed there until the end of the year. If you’ve met the requirement for the substantial presence test in that year,  it means you were a nonresident alien from January 1 to July 31, but you became a resident alien from August 1 until the end of the same tax year. That’s why you need to complete two different processes for your two different residency statuses when you file your yearly income tax return in IRS. 

How to File Dual-Status Tax Returns?

Before filing the dual-status income tax return, you also have to keep a few things in mind about some restrictions in the process. With all of the deductions stipulated on Form 1040, you’re not allowed to apply all of them, but you can make your own itemized deductions, which are allowable based on the IRS guidelines. Besides that, all people who are paying taxes after  December 31, 2017, are not allowed to have a personal exemption for their dependents, spouses, and even themselves. 

Moreover, you won’t be allowed to take your spouse’s income if you’re a nonresident alien and got married to a resident alien or a US citizen. Besides that, you can’t also take the money from the disabled or elderly individuals and even the education credit until you’ll be chosen to be a resident citizen with your spouse instead of applying rules for being a dual-status alien in the country. 

In addition, you’ll also have a chance to claim a dependent in processing your income tax return. If you have a qualifying relative or a child, you can receive credits or deductions after you’ve filed your tax return. Besides that, if your spouse is a resident alien or a US citizen and you’re a dual-status alien, you can process a joint tax return in IRS with your spouse. Hence, these are a few things you have to keep in mind if you plan to file your income tax return and you’re a dual-status citizen in the US. 

On the other hand, if you are a dual-status taxpayer and want to file your income tax return, there are particular processes you have to follow in different residency statuses. You have to submit Form 1040NR for being a nonresident alien in a specific period, and you also have to submit Form 1040 for becoming a resident citizen in the country. That’s why if you’re in the US until the tax year ends as a nonresident alien, you have to prepare Form 1040NR and attach the Form 1040 to it. However, if you’re in the US until the end of the tax year as a resident citizen, you have to file Form 1040 and attach the Form 1040NR to it. 

Moreover, if you don’t want to process your income tax return in IRS, you have other options. You can do it on the internet using online tax services. Besides that, you can also do it with one of the legit and experienced Expat Tax Advisors that will surely help you process your tax return most easily and conveniently. They will file your return in the IRS, and you only have to wait until it gets done. On top of that, to know the submission deadline and other necessary details for processing the tax return, you can find all information stipulated on the form. 

Dual-Status Aliens Tax Return Example

Here’s a dual-status tax return example. If you’re living in France and went to the US on May 1, 2020, you’ve then decided to stay there for the rest of the year. You’ve then found out that you qualify for the requirements of the substantial presence test until that particular year ends. It means that you were a nonresident alien from January 1 to April 30, 2020, and became a resident citizen in the remaining of the year, making you a dual-status taxpayer in the country in that specific tax year. 

As mentioned earlier, you’ll process either the Form 1040-NR or Form 1040, depending on your residency status when the tax year ends. Whenever you become a resident alien in the country until the end of the tax year, you need to process Form 1040 and put “Dual-Status Return” at the top of it. Otherwise, you have to use Form 104NR or Form 1040NR-EZ, and don’t forget to put “Dual-Status Return” across the top of the said form. Hence, the next time you process your tax return as a dual-status taxpayer, always remember the dual-status alien tax return example discussed above. 

Important Dates

Dual-Status Aliens Tax Return
Make sure to mark your calendar with all important IRS dates.

When the tax year ends, and you become a resident citizen in the country, the deadline for submitting all your requirements won’t be after April 15th in the following year of the current tax year. However, if you were a non-resident alien until the end of the tax year, you’ll also have to process the form on or before April 15th in the following year after the current tax year. But, if you haven’t received the compensation or all wages from the company you’re working for in the US that is subject to the tax report you’re processed for the entire tax year, you’ll be given until June 15th. As previously mentioned, you can always find it clearly stipulated in the form when it comes to the dates of submission. 


How Do I Get a Dual Status Tax Return?

You’ll get a dual-status alien income tax return when you’ve become a nonresident and resident alien in the US in the same tax year. It’ll usually happen when you’ve arrived in the country and returned to your home country in the same year. In cases like these, you have to process a dual-status tax return. 

Do You Have to File Dual-Status?

The answer to this question is yes. You have to file a dual-status alien tax return. It’s because each residency status has a particular requirement you have to prepare and submit to the IRS to update your records. Always remember that not filing on time will give you appropriate consequences. The same thing goes for not submitting the correct documents and forms. The IRS will know your current residency status to know what documents you should file. Hence, it’ll be better to submit the necessary documents on time to avoid any delays. 

Can We File a Dual Status Return?

You can file a dual-status return if you’ve met a particular qualification. For example, if you’re from the UK and went to the US in the middle of the year, that makes you a country resident for tax purposes. It means you were a nonresident alien from January 1 until you arrived, and you’ve become a resident from the date you arrived until the end of the year.  Hence, when you become a dual-status alien in that particular tax year, you can go ahead and process your income tax return by submitting the appropriate documents and forms. 


As a foreign national in the US, it’s your responsibility to know your residency status and your tax liability in the country. Hence, always use the substantial presence test to check if you qualify to become a resident alien, or you might be a dual-status citizen. That’s why you always check your residency status for you to know the best steps to take in the future while you choose to stay in the country. 

Subscribe to our newsletter for updates that will save you tax

Related topics

irs lien discharge

IRS Lien Discharge

What is an IRS Lien Discharge? And will it help you resolve you back taxes? Probably. Read our full guide to benefit from an IRS lien discharge.

W2 Employer Responsibilities

W2 Employer Responsibilities

Employer W2 responsibilities include preparing, filing, and submitting the W2 forms on time. Avoid common mistakes that make life difficult.

what is cafe 125 on w2

What is Cafe 125 on W2

Have you ever seen Cafe 125 on your W2? Curious about what it means? It’s actually a pretty common item on employees’ W2 forms.