If you are either a resident or a nonresident alien departing the United States, you
will usually have to show your compliance with the U.S. income tax laws. You do this by
obtaining a tax clearance document, commonly called a "Sailing Permit" or
"departure permit", from the IRS.
Some aliens do not need a sailing permit. To find out whether you belong in this
category, order Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.
If you do not have taxable income, or you are a resident alien who is leaving only
temporarily, use Form 2063 to apply for a
sailing permit. If you are a resident alien leaving the United States with no definite
plans to return for the year, you will have to complete Form 1040-C, U.S. Departing Alien Income Tax
Return, in order to get a sailing permit. Nonresident aliens who have any taxable
income will also have to complete Form 1040-C to receive a sailing permit. You must pay
all tax shown as due on the Form 1040-C unless you furnish a bond or an employer letter
guaranteeing payment, or the IRS is satisfied that your leaving will not jeopardize
collection of the tax. Any tax you pay counts as a payment on your final return that you
file after the end of your tax year.
Apply for the sailing permit no earlier than 30 days before you plan to leave. You
should apply at least two weeks in advance of your departure. To get your sailing permit,
visit your nearest walk-in IRS office. If you are married to an alien who is leaving the
country with you, both of you must go to the IRS office.
You must bring with you all the following records and information for the current year,
- A valid passport and your alien registration card or visa,
- Copies of the last two years' income tax returns with proof of payment of any balance
- A statement from each current employer showing the wages paid and tax withheld from
January 1 of the current year to the date of departure. For this statement you can use a
payroll deduction slip for your last paycheck if it shows this information,
- If you are self-employed, a profit and loss statement for the current year to the date
- Documents showing any gain or loss from the sale of personal property, including capital
assets and merchandise,
- Proof of tax payments for the past year and this year,
- Documents concerning scholarships or fellowships,
- Documents indicating that you qualify for special tax treaty benefits,
- Substantiation of deductions for business expenses and itemized deductions; and
- Documentation for dependents claimed.
If you have these documents and pay any tax due you should receive your sailing permit
immediately. For more information, order Publication 519 by calling
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