Special W-4 Requirements for NRAs
All international persons are considered nonresident aliens for tax purposes for a fixed period of time. The fixed period of time is determined by the visa status and classification. International persons become resident aliens for tax purposes as such time as their visa status allows this designation change.
F-1 and J-1 students are considered nonresident aliens for tax purposes for the first five calendar years of presence in the USA.
J-1 scholars, teachers, trainees, researchers, professors and other non-students, are considered nonresident aliens for tax purposes for the first two calendar years of their presence in the USA.
During the time that an international person is considered to be a nonresident alien for tax purposes, the W-4 will classify them as SINGLE with 1 ALLOWANCE. Even if the international person is married or head of household, tax regulations requires that they be taxed at the SINGLE with 1 ALLOWANCE rate.
Exceptions to this regulation are only permitted if a tax treaty exemption exists that allows for different W-4 marital status designation or the ability to claim additional allowances.