Which tax form to file when visa changes from F1 to H1b?

The most common and confusing question students have is what tax form to file when their visa status changes from F1 to H1b. As an F1 visa student, most students file form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ because they are non resident aliens as per the substantial presence test. So what happens when their visa status changes to H1b? What is their residency status and what tax forms should they file?

Based on IRS Pub 519, student on F1 visa student is exempted for five years i.e. the number of days you spent in the US does not count in the substantial presence test.

Now, when your visa changes to H1b in October, you are not considered in the exempt list. You start counting the number of days in USA from October. The period from January – October is exempted and should not be counted. From October-December when you are on the H1b visa, and since you do not stay more than 183 days from October until the end of the year, you are considered as a nonresident alien for the whole year.

You also have the option to opt for dual status and file as resident alien. 1040nra.com software does not support filing as resident alien. You should seek professional help if you wish to file as resident alien.

Note: This blog is informational and cannot be used for legal or financial purpose.

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