Search Help Topics:

Per IRS Instructions for Form 1040-NR U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return on page 7 (click the link and view the entire publication for additional details regarding the items below):

Who Must File Form 1040-NR

You must file Form 1040-NR if any of the following conditions apply to you.

  1. You were a nonresident alien engaged in a trade or business in the United States during 2020. You must file even if:
    1. You have no income from a trade or business conducted in the United States,
    2. You have no U.S. source income, or
    3. Your income is exempt from U.S. tax under a tax treaty or any section of the Internal Revenue Code.

    However, if you have no gross income* for 2020, do not complete the schedules for Form 1040-NR. Instead, attach a list of the kinds of exclusions you claim and the amount of each.

  2. You were a nonresident alien not engaged in a trade or business in the United States during 2020 and:
    1. You received income from U.S. sources that is reportable on Schedule NEC, lines 1 through 12; and
    2. Not all of the U.S. tax that you owe was withheld from that income.
  3. You owe any special taxes, including any of the following
    1. Alternative minimum tax.
    2. Additional tax on a qualified plan, including an individual retirement arrangement (IRA), or other tax-favored account. (If you are filing a return only because you owe this tax, you can file Form 5329 by itself.)
    3. Household employment taxes. (If you are filing a return only because you owe these taxes, you can file Schedule H (Form 1040) by itself.)
    4. Social security and Medicare tax on tips you did not report to your employer or on wages you received from an employer who did not withhold these taxes.,
    5. Recapture of first-time homebuyer credit. See the instructions for Schedule 2, line 7b.
    6. Write-in taxes or recapture taxes, including uncollected social security and Medicare or RRTA tax on tips you reported to your employer or on group-term life insurance and additional taxes on health savings accounts. See the instructions for Schedule 2, line 8.
  4. You received HSA, Archer MSA, or Medicare Advantage MSA distributions.
  5. You had net earnings from self-employment of at least $400 and you are a resident of a country with whom the United States has an international social security agreement. See the instructions for Schedule 2, line 4.
  6. Advance payments of the premium tax credit were made for you, your spouse, or a dependent who enrolled in coverage through the Marketplace. You or whoever enrolled you should have received Form(s) 1095-A showing the amount of the advance payments.
  7. Advance payments of the health coverage tax credit were made for you, your spouse, or a dependent. You or whoever enrolled you should have received Form(s) 1099-H showing the amount of the advance payments.
  8. You are the personal representative for a deceased person who would have had to file Form 1040-NR. A personal representative can be an executor, administrator, or anyone who is in charge of the deceased person's property.
  9. You represent an estate or trust that has to file Form 1040-NR. Change the form to reflect the provisions of subchapter J, chapter 1,of the Internal Revenue Code. You may find it helpful to refer to Form 1041 and its instructions when completing the Form 1040-NR. Refer to the Instructions for Forms 1040 and 1040-SR only as necessary.

Exceptions. You do not need to file Form 1040-NR if you meet (1) or (2) below.

  1. You were a nonresident alien student, teacher, or trainee who was temporarily present in the United States under an "F," "J," "M," or "Q" visa, and you have no income that is subject to tax under section 871 (that is, the income items listed on page 1 of Form 1040-NR, lines 8 through 21, and Schedule NEC (Form 1040-NR), lines 1 through 12).
  2. You were a partner in a U.S. partnership that was not engaged in a trade or business in the United States during 2020 and your Schedule K-1 (Form 1065) includes only income from U.S. sources reportable on Schedule NEC (Form 1040-NR), lines 1 through 12.

To determine if you need to file Form 1040-NR:

  1. From within your TaxAct return (Online or Desktop), click Basic Info. On smaller devices, click the menu icon in the upper left-hand corner, then select Basic Info
  2. Click the Personal tab, click Continue, check Nonresident alien, then click Continue.
  3. The program will proceed with the interview questions for you to enter or review the appropriate information.

Note that any link in the information above is updated each year automatically and will take you to the most recent version of the document at the time it is accessed.


Was this helpful to you?