If you spend a lot of time in the United States or America. For work, family or perhaps to enjoy the beautiful nature there, there is a possibility that you will be considered a United States resident for tax purposes. This can be for one year or several years.

You will be considered a United States resident for tax purposes if you meet the substantial presence test for the calendar year. To meet this test, you must be physically present in the United States (U.S.) on at least:

  • 31 days during the current year, and
  • 183 days during the 3-year period that includes the current year and the 2 years immediately before that, counting: All the days you were present in the current year, and
  • 1/3 of the days you were present in the first year before the current year, and
  • 1/6 of the days you were present in the second year before the current year.


You were physically present in the U.S. for 120 days in each of the years 2019, 2020, and 2021.

To determine if you meet the substantial presence test for 2021, count the full 120 days of presence in 2021, 40 days in 2020 (1/3 of 120), and 20 days in 2019 (1/6 of 120).

Since the total for the 3-year period is 180 days, you are not considered a resident under the substantial presence test: for 2021.

Days of Presence in the United States

You are treated as present in the U.S. on any day you are physically present in the country, at any time during the day. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Do not count the following as days of presence in the U.S. for the substantial presence test:

  • Days you commute to work in the U.S. from a residence in Canada or Mexico if you regularly commute from Canada or Mexico.
  • Days you are in the U.S. for less than 24 hours, when you are in transit between two places outside the United States.
  • Days you are in the U.S. as a crew member of a foreign vessel.
  • Days you are unable to leave the U.S. because of a medical condition that develops while you are in the United States.
  • Days you are an exempt individual (see below).
  • For details on days excluded from the substantial presence test for other than exempt individuals, refer to Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.

The term United States (U.S.) includes the following areas:

  • All 50 states and the District of Columbia.
  • The territorial waters of the United States.
  • The seabed and subsoil of those submarine areas that are adjacent to U.S. territorial waters and over which the United States has exclusive rights under international law to explore and exploit natural resources.
  • The term does not include U.S. territories or U.S. airspace.

More information is available on the IRS website.

If you are unsure of your tax obligations, you can contact us.

Need more information on your US tax obligation?

We, the founders of Americans Overseas, were born in the Netherlands and obtained our American nationality through our (American) mother. When we heard about this for the first time around 2013, we were in total disbelief (it can’t be true!), anger (how can they do this?), fear (am I going to get fined or pick up other problems?), and panic (what should I do?).

It is (unfortunately) true that there is an additional American tax levy. But there’s no information from the local government, and when approached, the consulate referred us to the IRS, and the IRS was impenetrable.

That’s why we started this initiative to help people from all over the world by providing proper information to avoid unnecessary panic and offering help free of obligation and free of charge. If needed, we have a network of affordable professionals (accountants) who can help you with your tax obligations. If you have more questions about the US tax obligation you can contact us at Americans Overseas.

Contact us for more information