US tax rebate for nonresident alien?
January 24, 2008 9:37 AM   Subscribe

Am I, a nonresident alien who is a "US resident for tax purposes", going to get the $600 US tax rebate check in 2008?

I was livid when I did not receive the $300 rebate in 2001, despite the fact that I lived in the US and paid the same taxes (in fact more) than everyone else. But back then, I used to fill out the 1040NR (where NR = nonresident).

Now, I have been filling out the regular 1040 for a few years (you can do that once you have lived in the US for five years). There is nowhere on the 1040 where I have to mention that I am not a citizen or permanent resident (I have a J-1 visa).

Am I going to get the tax rebate this time?

(As an aside, I think this is a stupid stimulus plan, and I wish no-one would get a rebate, but if people are getting them, then I want mine!)
posted by tabulem to Work & Money (7 answers total)
You probably won't, but since the details aren't hammered out, no one is going to be able to answer your question.

Just make sure you let your representative know how angry you are, and that you plan to vote in the fall based on their vote for the package. :-)
posted by bshort at 10:15 AM on January 24, 2008

Yes, tell them that as a non-citizen you plan to vote your native country's absentee ballot dependent upon how the US government resolves the current economic stimulus plan.
posted by klangklangston at 10:28 AM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Huh, I'd be interested to know the answer to this question. If the IRS doesn't know from their own forms that you're a nonresident, then how would they know to not give you the rebate? The likelihood that they would be cross-checking your tax return with your immigration status seems kind of low (Just from an MIS perspective). But maybe. Also, when you file as a nonresident you're operating under a different set of tax rules, so it makes a little more sense that a refund would behave differently. So I can see why you might think it would work out differently now.
posted by yarrow at 11:45 AM on January 24, 2008

Like you, I'm a non-resident alien in terms of immigration but resident for tax purposes. My understanding is that if you're considered a resident by the IRS then in their eyes you're considered the same as a citizen or permanent resident.

There is always the possibility that the law for the rebate will say "citizen or permanent resident only" and the IRS would have to act accordingly so the short answer is nobody knows yet. If the purpose is to stimulate the economy then yours or my spending should be just as umm, ... "stimulating" than anyone else's but ... you never know.

Perhaps it's different for me with a H1-B visa but I've been doing regular 1040's since my second year. The first year was different because I was dual status. I haven't heard or read anything about being here 5 years before you do a 1040. I had a tax accountant do it for the first few years and I'm pretty sure they knew what they were doing.
posted by tetranz at 12:46 PM on January 24, 2008

Agreeing with Yarrow, if you filed a standard form and not an NR, you'll probably qualify. The IRS does not share information with the INS, or vice versa, because they'd like illegal aliens to pay their taxes just the same.
posted by beagle at 12:57 PM on January 24, 2008

Agree with others, it's too soon to tell. If it ends up being structured as a tax rebate or prebate, probably yes. If they structure it somehow different, who knows?
posted by gjc at 1:25 PM on January 24, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the comments. I mean, didn't you guys fight a war over "no taxation without representation". Should I just declare independence and be done with it?
posted by tabulem at 8:20 AM on January 25, 2008

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