Menu 
Share Button

First-Year Choice Test for Dual Status Aliens


How does a First-Year Choice test help you make a selection of US Resident Tax status?

  • If you are a U.S. resident for the calendar year, but you were not a U.S. resident at any time during the preceding calendar year, you are a U.S. resident only for the part of the calendar year that begins on the residency starting date. You are a nonresident alien for the part of the year before that date.
  • If you do not meet either the green card test or the substantial presence test for the preceding year or current tax year and you did not choose to be treated as a resident for part of preceding tax year, but you meet the substantial presence test for next year, you can choose to be treated as a U.S. resident for part of the current tax year. So for eg, if 2012 is the current tax year, and you did not meet either the green card test or substantial presence test for 2011 or 2012, and you did not choose to be treated as a resident for part of 2011, but you meet the substantial presence test for 2013, you can choose to be treated as a resident for part of 2012. To make this choice, you must:

    • Be present in the United States for at least 31 days in a row in the tax year, and
    • Be present in the United States for at least 75% of the number of days beginning with the first day of the 31-day period and ending with the last day of 2012. For purposes of this 75% requirement, you can treat up to 5 days of absence from the United States as days of presence in the United States

    When counting the days of presence in (1) and (2) above, do not count the days you were in the United States under any of the exceptions discussed under Days of Presence (Substantial Presence Test section) in the United States.


Example 1

  • Philip is a citizen of India. He came to the United States for the first time on November 1, 2012, and was here on 31 consecutive days (from November 1 through December 1, 2012). He then flew back to India on December 1, and came back to the US on December 17, 2012. He stayed in the US for rest of the year. During 2013, he fulfilled the substantial presence test.
  • In this case, Philip can choose to make the First Year Choice for 2012. He was not a resident for 2011, but stayed consecutively for 31 days during 2012, and also fulfilled the second condition of being in the US for 75% of the days following the first day of 31 day in a row November 1 through December 1) and for at least 75% of the days following (and including) the first day of his 31-day period (46 total days of presence in the United States divided by 61 days in the period from November 1 through December 31 equals 75.4%).
  • Further, he also was fulfilled the substantial presence test for 2013. Hence he can make the first-year choice, and his residency will begin November 1, 2012 for tax purposes.

Example 2

Now if all the facts remain the same as in Example 1, except that Philip was also absent from the United States on December 24, 25, 29, 30, and 31. He can make the first-year choice for 2012 because up to 5 days of absence are considered days of presence for purposes of the 75% requirement.

Share Button