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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Income Tax


Income tax information for A or G visa holders: locally hired foreign mission employees
Income tax information for A or G visa holders: dependents with work authorization 
Income tax information for green card holders (lawful permanent residents): foreign mission employees

Income tax information for U.S. citizens: foreign mission employees
 

Income tax information for A or G visa holders:
locally hired foreign mission employees

If you are “permanently resident in” the United States for purposes of the Vienna Conventions, you are not entitled to the income tax exemption available under the Vienna Conventions. See the Department’s circular note dated April 10, 1991.

If you are employed by a foreign mission and hold an “A” or “G” visa, you are a nonresident for U.S. tax purposes. See IRS Publication 519 (U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens), page 5.

You must file a U.S. income tax return to report and pay tax on your U.S. income, which includes your foreign mission salary. In particular, you must file Form 1040NR (long form, with instructions) or Form 1040NR-EZ (short form, with instructions).

Your foreign mission employer is not required to withhold income tax from your salary. Therefore, you may be required to make estimated tax payments throughout the year. See Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals.

Your foreign mission employer is not required to withhold social security taxes or pay the employer contribution to the social security system. You are exempt from paying social security taxes. You cannot pay into the system voluntarily.

Your income may be exempt from income tax under one of the following:

            • Section 893 of the income tax code, if you meet the stated conditions
            • A bilateral consular convention, if you meet the terms of the treaty
            • An income tax treaty, if you meet the terms of the treaty. See IRS Publication 901 (U.S. Tax Treaties), pp. 28-33.

Income tax information for A or G visa holders:
dependents with work authorization 

If you are a dependent of a foreign mission employee and hold an “A” or “G” visa, you are a nonresident for U.S. tax purposes. See IRS Publication 519 (U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens), page 5.

You must file a U.S. income tax return to report and pay tax on your U.S. income, which includes your salary. In particular, you must file Form 1040NR (long form, with instructions) or Form 1040NR-EZ (short form, with instructions).

Your employer will withhold income taxes from your pay. You must fill out Form W-4 (Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate) to adjust the amount of tax you wish to have withheld.

Your employer will also withhold social security tax. Depending on your home country, you may consider how one of the U.S. bilateral social security agreements may affect you.

Your income may be exempt from income tax under an income tax treaty, if you meet the terms of the treaty. Generally, you must be taxpaying resident of the foreign country to qualify for treaty benefits in the United States. See IRS Publication 901 (U.S. Tax Treaties), pages 2-15.

Income tax information for green card holders
(lawful permanent residents): foreign mission employees

If you have a green card, you are a U.S. resident for tax purposes. See IRS Publication 519 (U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens), page 3.

You must file a U.S. income tax return to report and pay tax on your worldwide income, which includes your foreign mission salary. In particular, you must file Form 1040 (long form, with instructions), or Form 1040A (shorter form, with instructions) or Form 1040-EZ (shortest form, with instructions).

Your foreign mission employer is not required to withhold income tax from your salary. Therefore, you may be required to make estimated tax payments throughout the year. See Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals.

Your foreign mission employer is not required to withhold social security taxes or pay the employer contribution to the social security system. You are exempt from paying social security taxes. You cannot pay into the system voluntarily.

Income tax information for U.S. citizens:
foreign mission employees

If you are a U.S. citizen, you are a U.S. resident for tax purposes.

You must file a U.S. income tax return to report and pay tax on your worldwide income, which includes your foreign mission salary. In particular, you must file Form 1040 (long form, with instructions), or Form 1040A (shorter form, with instructions) or Form 1040-EZ (shortest form, with instructions).

Your foreign mission employer is not required to withhold income tax from your salary. Therefore, you may be required to make estimated tax payments throughout the year. See Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals.

Your foreign mission employer is not required to withhold social security taxes or pay the employer contribution to the social security system. However, you must pay both social security taxes as well as the employer contribution to the U.S. system. To do this, you must calculate self-employment tax on Schedule SE (instructions) and file it with your Form 1040. Note that you are not “self-employed” for any other federal tax purposes. You may not claim deductions for expenses on Schedule C and are not qualified to establish a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) Plan.


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