W-4 Exceptions

Nonresident Aliens Exceptions

For residents of certain countries, there are exceptions to claiming only one personal allowance on the W-4 form. The exception to the "rule" applies to residents of Canada, Mexico, South Korea, India, Barbados, Hungary, Jamaica, or U.S. nationals.

A U.S. national is someone who, although not a U.S. citizen, owes his or her allegiance to the United States. U.S. nationals include American Samoans, and Northern Mariana Islanders who chose to become U.S. nationals instead of U.S. citizens.

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Canada and Mexico

If you are a resident of Canada or Mexico, you can claim an additional allowance for a spouse if:

  • Your spouse has no gross income.
  • Your spouse is not claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer.

You can also claim allowances for each dependent child if:

  • The child qualifies as a dependent under normal IRS rules.
  • The child is not required to be a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident for tax purposes.
  • The child is not required to have lived with you at some time during the calendar year.

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South Korea

If you are a resident of South Korea, you can claim an additional allowance for a spouse if:

  • Your spouse has no gross income.
  • Your spouse is not claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer.
  • Your spouse is required to have lived with the taxpayer at some time during the calendar year.

You can also claim allowances for each dependent child if:

  • The child qualifies as a dependent under normal IRS rules.
  • The child is not required to be a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident for tax purposes.
  • The child is required to have lived with you at some time during the calendar year.

The spouse and child dependent allowances must be prorated based on U.S. income to worldwide income.

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India

Students from India may be able to claim additional allowances for their spouse or dependents. The student must be a tax resident of India at the beginning of the visit to the U.S. for the purpose of education or training. An additional allowance for a spouse can be claimed if:

  • The spouse has no gross income.
  • The spouse is not claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer.

The student can also claim allowances for each dependent child if:

  • The child qualifies as a dependent under normal IRS rules.
  • The child is required to be a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident for tax purposes.

A child with the following visa status is usually considered to be a nonresident alien: F-2, J-2, M-2 or Q-2. A dependent child who is a resident of Canada or Mexico and would otherwise qualify as a dependent of an Indian student can be claimed as a dependent as well.

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American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands

If you are a U.S. national of American Samoa or the Northern Mariana Islands, you can claim an additional allowance for your spouse if:

  • Your spouse has no gross income.
  • Your spouse is not claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer.

You can also claim allowances for each dependent child if:

  • The child qualifies as a dependent under normal IRS rules.
  • The child is not required to be a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident for tax purposes.
  • The child is not required to have lived with you at some time during the calendar year.

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Barbados, Hungary, and Jamaica

As a tax treaty benefit, students from Barbados, Hungary, and Jamaica may claim residency for tax purposes even though they have not reached substantial presence. The following factors must be considered by the student before making a decision to claim residency:

  • Ability to claim the standard deduction on the student's tax return.
  • Will be taxed on worldwide income, not just U.S. source income.
  • Gives up the F1/J1 FICA exemption, but may be eligible for the normal student FICA exemption.
  • If the student chooses to withdraw the residency for tax purposes, it may not be reversed without consent from the relevant U.S. authority.

If the student chooses to claim this benefit and be taxed as a resident, the following forms must be completed:

  • Form W-9 (pdf)—Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification. This certifies the student wants to claim residency for tax purposes.
  • Form W-4 (pdf)—Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate. This form is used to claim the desired withholding rate and allowances.

These forms must be completed and forwarded to Payroll Services for updating.

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