How does a Canadian pay US taxes for 2 months of work in NJ?
March 30, 2008 5:49 PM   Subscribe

I am a Canadian who worked for two months in the NJ last year. How do I sort out my taxes in the US?

I am a Canadian citizen and resident, and I worked for two months in NJ doing a research internship. Now it is time to sort out my taxes. I figured the easiest way to do it would be using some sort of online software, like Turbo Tax, but it is asking me odd questions, and it seems to be oblivious to the possibility that I am a foreigner who only worked and lived in the US for 2 months (they ask me about my other incomes throughout the year, etc).

Worse yet, when I get to the state tax portion, it insists that I enter a US state for my residence, and a postal code, although for the federal portion it allowed me to give a foreign address.

Any Canadians out there that have been in a similar situation? Can I just go to HR&Block and have them sort this shit out for me? Is it easier to just go through the forms on my own anyways, instead of using this software?

Please help ...
posted by TheyCallItPeace to Work & Money (13 answers total)
Your other incomes for the year play a part in determining how much NJ state income tax you owe, even if you earned it in Canada. I would imagine the same thing is true with respect to your federal U.S. tax return.
posted by oaf at 6:36 PM on March 30, 2008

You want this form (instructions).
posted by oaf at 6:38 PM on March 30, 2008

Note that you will need to file a separate return for your federal taxes.
posted by oaf at 6:38 PM on March 30, 2008

Canada and the United States have a tax treaty, you pay American or Canadian taxes, but not both. You do not need to file US taxes but you do need to be ABLE to file back returns for the last seven years you would have owed if at any point in the future you elect to pay in the US.

a quick google reveals lots of hits, including the Convention itself.

To put it this way, if you're a Canadian resident (181 days a year in Canada) then you can elect to pay Canadian taxes instead of US taxes.

If in the future you move back to the states and stay there you may elect to pay US taxes. Having doing so they may want to check that you properly filed previous years, which would mean reviewing your previous Canadian tax returns for (I think) up to seven years.
posted by tiamat at 7:05 PM on March 30, 2008

this IRS FAQ may be useful, although I think it's written from the opposite presepective (US person who worked for a while in Canada).
posted by tiamat at 7:07 PM on March 30, 2008

You can also call the IRS who were wonderfully helpful when I had a very similar question. They practically did my taxes for me.
posted by fshgrl at 7:52 PM on March 30, 2008

what tiamat said. You file in Canada.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 10:06 PM on March 30, 2008

You do not need to file US taxes

You'll still need to file the NJ return.
posted by oaf at 1:34 AM on March 31, 2008

Best answer: @oaf: but not necessarily as a resident.

OP may be a part-year resident or non-resident depending on his exact circumstances.

See NJ Part-Year Resident tax topic and NJ Non-Resident tax form.
posted by blue_wardrobe at 6:16 AM on March 31, 2008

Upon reading the NJ tax destructions, it seems to me like the OP would be a NJ non-resident, since their domicile is Canada.
posted by blue_wardrobe at 6:21 AM on March 31, 2008

Best answer: Right—I linked to the NJ non-resident return.

TheyCallItPeace, if you earned less than US$10,000 in 2007, your NJ tax liability should be zero, and if you paid any NJ state income tax, you'll need to file a return to get it back. I think you are supposed to cram Canada into where you put the state in your address. The incredibly obfuscated instructions I linked to above will tell you...somewhere.
posted by oaf at 6:52 AM on March 31, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! This has been quite helpful!

(I used to think that the tax forms/instructions in Canada were obfuscated ...)
posted by TheyCallItPeace at 8:50 AM on March 31, 2008

From what I've read, whichever country you're a resident in at the end of the year is where you should file your taxes, and count any money you made in other countries as part of your income in the country you're filing taxes in.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:09 PM on March 31, 2008

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