Tax Questions

Individuals

The United States imposes income tax on its residents as if they were citizens.  But the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Customs and Immigration service use the word "resident" differently. This means that a non-citizen who holds a non-immigrant visa, not at all a resident for immigration purposes, might very well qualify as a tax resident and have to pay income tax to the United States as if he were a citizen.

Correctly understanding your tax obligations is important should you want to adjust status (that is, apply for a green card while in the United States), or if you will have to have a sailing permit to depart the United States.

The State of New York also has rules about income tax residency, so you might owe New York taxes as well as the United States. But the New York rules about residency differ from the United States rules, and a close factual analysis is needed to give a firm answer in an individual case.

Non-residents must also keep abreast of the income tax rules of New York and the United States; the rules differ here, too.

Last, an income tax treaty between the United States and your home country may alter these generalities.

Employers and other payers:

Employers, and others, who pay amounts to non-resident aliens must withhold income tax from them at a rate of 30% of the alien's income from sources within the United States.

The Law Office of Laurence E. Stevens can help you ascertain whether you are liable to the United States, or the State of New York, or both, for income tax or withholding tax.