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Publication 519 2008 Tax Year

Publication 519 - Introductory Material

For tax purposes, an alien is an individual who is not a U.S. citizen. Aliens are classified as nonresident aliens and resident aliens. This publication will help you determine your status and give you information you will need to file your U.S. tax return. Resident aliens generally are taxed on their worldwide income, the same as U.S. citizens. Nonresident aliens are taxed only on their income from sources within the United States and on certain income connected with the conduct of a trade or business in the United States.

Table A, What You Need To Know About U.S. Taxes, provides a list of questions and the chapter or chapters in this publication where you will find the related discussion.

Table A. What You Need To Know About U.S. Taxes

Commonly Asked Questions Where To Find The Answer
Am I a nonresident alien or resident alien? See chapter 1.
Can I be a nonresident alien and a resident alien in the same year?
  • See Dual-Status Aliens in chapter 1.

  • See chapter 6.

I am a resident alien and my spouse is a nonresident alien. Are there special rules for us?
  • See Nonresident Spouse Treated as a Resident in chapter 1.

  • See Community Income in chapter 2.

Is all my income subject to U.S. tax?
  • See chapter 2.

  • See chapter 3.

Is my scholarship subject to U.S. tax?
  • See Scholarship Grants, Prizes, and Awards in chapter 2.

  • See Scholarship and Fellowship Grants in chapter 3.

  • See chapter 9.

What is the tax rate on my income subject to U.S. tax? See chapter 4.
I moved to the United States this year. Can I deduct my moving expenses on my U.S. return? See Deductions in chapter 5.
Can I claim exemptions for my spouse and children? See Exemptions in chapter 5.
I pay income taxes to my home country. Can I get credit for these taxes on my U.S. tax return? See Tax Credits and Payments in chapter 5.
What forms must I file and when and where do I file them? See chapter 7.
How should I pay my U.S. income taxes? See chapter 8.
Am I eligible for any benefits under a tax treaty?
  • See Income Entitled to Tax Treaty Benefits in chapter 8.

  • See chapter 9.

Are employees of foreign governments and international organizations exempt from U.S. tax? See chapter 10.
Is there anything special I have to do before leaving the United States?
  • See chapter 11.

  • See Expatriation Tax in chapter 4.

Answers to frequently asked questions are presented in the back of the publication.

The information in this publication is not as comprehensive for resident aliens as it is for nonresident aliens. Resident aliens are generally treated the same as U.S. citizens and can find more information in other IRS publications.

Comments and suggestions.   We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.

  You can write to us at the following address:

Internal Revenue Service
Individual Forms and Publications Branch
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526
Washington, DC 20224

  We respond to many letters by telephone. Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence.

  You can email us at *[email protected]. (The asterisk must be included in the address.) Please put “Publications Comment” on the subject line. Although we cannot respond individually to each email, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax products.

Ordering forms and publications.   Visit to download forms and publications, call 1-800-829-3676, or write to the address below and receive a response within 10 days after your request is received.

National Distribution Center
P.O. Box 8903
Bloomington, IL 61702-8903

Tax questions.   If you have a tax question, check the information available on or call 1-800-829-1040. We cannot answer tax questions sent to either of the above addresses.

Tax benefits extended. . The following tax benefits were extended through 2007.

  • Deduction for educator expenses in figuring adjusted gross income.

  • District of Columbia first-time homebuyer credit.

IRA deduction expanded. . If you were covered by a retirement plan, you may be able to take an IRA deduction if your 2007 modified adjusted gross income (AGI) is less than $62,000 ($103,000 if a qualifying widow(er)). You may be able to deduct up to an additional $3,000 if you were a participant in a 401(k) plan and your employer was in bankruptcy in an earlier year.

Standard mileage rates. . The 2007 rate for business use of your vehicle is 48½ cents a mile. The 2007 rate for use of your vehicle to move is 20 cents a mile. The special rate for charitable use of your vehicle to provide relief related to Hurricane Katrina has expired.

Unreported social security and medicare tax on wages. .  If you are an employee and your employer did not withhold social security and Medicare tax, see Form 8919 to figure and report this tax.

New recordkeeping requirements for contributions of money. .  For charitable contributions of money, regardless of the amount, you must maintain as a record of the contribution a bank record (such as a cancelled check) or a written record from the charity. The written record must include the name of the charity, date, and amount of the contribution. Charitable contributions are discussed in chapter 5.

IRA deduction expanded. You may be able to deduct up to $5,000 ($6,000 if age 50 or older at the end of the year). You may be able to take an IRA deduction if you were covered by a retirement plan and your 2008 modified AGI is less than $63,000 ($105,000) if a qualifying widow(er)). You may be able to deduct up to an additional $3,000 if you were a participant in a 401(k) plan and your employer was in bankruptcy in an earlier year.

Personal exemption and itemized deduction phaseouts reduced. Taxpayers with adjusted gross income above a certain amount may lose part of their deduction for personal exemptions and itemized deductions. The amount by which these deductions are reduced in 2008 will be only ½ of the amount of the reduction that otherwise would have applied in 2007.

Frivolous tax submissions. The IRS has published a list of positions that are identified as frivolous. The penalty for filing a frivolous tax return is $5,000. Also, the $5,000 penalty will apply to other specified frivolous submissions. For more information, see Penalties in chapter 7.

Interest-related dividends and short-term capital gain dividends received from mutual funds. Beginning in 2008, the exemption from 30% tax on certain interest-related dividends and short-term capital gain dividends received from a mutual fund or other regulated investment company will no longer apply.

Third party designee. You can check the “Yes” box in the “Third Party Designee” area of your return to authorize the IRS to discuss your return with a friend, family member, or any other person you choose. This allows the IRS to call the person you identified as your designee to answer any questions that may arise during the processing of your return. It also allows your designee to perform certain actions such as asking the IRS for copies of notices or transcripts related to your return. Also, the authorization can be revoked. See your income tax package for details.

Change of address. If you change your mailing address, be sure to notify the Internal Revenue Service using Form 8822, Change of Address. Nonresident aliens who filed Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ with the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service Center, Austin, TX 73301-0215, should send the form there. Resident aliens should send the form to the Internal Revenue Service Center for their old address (addresses for the service centers are on the back of the form).

Photographs of missing children. The Internal Revenue Service is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child.

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