H1, L1 Visa Holder Special Tax Situation

Does H1, L1 Tax Situation require Special Treatment? Can H1, L1 visa worker tax situation be treated like ordinary Tax Payers filing 1040 Tax Return or does it require any special treatment? Most of the popular tax software and tax consultants may treat H1, L1 tax returns no different than ordinary US citizen Tax Returns. However, IRS regulation allows for special treatment in case of temporary workers in the US. There are specific guidelines in the IRS code to determine the tax status as well as calculate deductions based on special conditions due to temporary work status. Since H1, L1 tax payers account for less than 1% of all Tax Payers, most popular tax software and tax consultants may not pay specific attention to the regulations that govern US temporary worker taxes. Perhaps it is not cost effective for the big tax software companies to invest in programming code that covers H1, L1 special tax situation.

Often H1, L1 tax payers are surprised when they find out the benefits offered in the tax code, especially during the initial year of their assignments in the US. Unfortunately, most of them miss out on these benefits without the help of a qualified tax professional that focuses on H1, L1 related tax issues.

H1, L1 Visa Workers may be considered US Resident for Tax Purposes

Most H1, L1 consultants may be waiting for years for their US resident card (Green Card), but IRS may already consider them as US Resident for tax purposes. The first tax distinction IRS makes is between a Non Resident Alien and a Resident Alien from a tax code perspective.

IRS has specific guidelines to determine Resident Status for tax purposes through the ‘Substantial Presence Test'. Once it is established that you are a US Resident (for tax purposes only, your immigration status may still be H1, L1 or other temporary work visa), you are subject to US taxes on your global income, including income in your home country. Incomes from different sources such as passive investment income as opposed to active income through a job are also treated differently.


Krutika is the founder of K&M Accounting and Tax Services L.L.C. She comes from a family of accountants and is a fourth generation Accountant. Krutika provides direct leadership and consultation to Small Business clients. Prior to starting KM Accountant, Krutika worked in multiple positions for 12 years in the US and India with public accounting, tax consulting, retail and educ...

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