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HELP - confused Brit filling out W4 on a L1

HELP - confused Brit filling out W4 on a L1

Old Oct 30th 2015, 3:07 am
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Default HELP - confused Brit filling out W4 on a L1

I know this is a bit specific and I am not looking for financial advice I just wanted some broad advice about how and what I should fill out on the W4 form my employer has sent me. On the form instructions it said if you are a non-resident alien you can not claim any dependents and must file your tax status as single. Is this true? I am here on a L1, arrived 17th September and will be here on a L1 definitely for 3 years, possibly longer. Does that mean for all the time I am here I have to pay tax at the highest rate and can only file as single with 1 exemption? Or am I missing something?

I am sure I read somewhere that status for tax purposes is different for status for immigration purposes but I have read that much stuff in the last 6 months I don't know where or what I read anymore!!

Grateful for any nuggets anyone can give or point me in the direction of something I understand more than the IRS guidance booklet!!

TIA!
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Old Oct 30th 2015, 4:00 am
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Default Re: HELP - confused Brit filling out W4 on a L1

Originally Posted by abbiecowan View Post
I know this is a bit specific and I am not looking for financial advice I just wanted some broad advice about how and what I should fill out on the W4 form my employer has sent me. On the form instructions it said if you are a non-resident alien you can not claim any dependents and must file your tax status as single. Is this true? I am here on a L1, arrived 17th September and will be here on a L1 definitely for 3 years, possibly longer. Does that mean for all the time I am here I have to pay tax at the highest rate and can only file as single with 1 exemption? Or am I missing something?

I am sure I read somewhere that status for tax purposes is different for status for immigration purposes but I have read that much stuff in the last 6 months I don't know where or what I read anymore!!

Grateful for any nuggets anyone can give or point me in the direction of something I understand more than the IRS guidance booklet!!

TIA!
If this helps...

I am here on E3 visa. I filed as married filing jointly (my wife does not work and I have a son). I claim "3" deductions/allowances on both my Federal and CA state returns.
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Old Oct 30th 2015, 10:27 am
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Default Re: HELP - confused Brit filling out W4 on a L1

You need to read this and this.

You will be a resident alien from next year (2016) until the time that you leave.

This year you will most likely be "dual status" ie non-resident for the first part of the year and "resident" from September onwards.

Also remember that the W4 just determines your withholding - i.e. how much tax is deducted from your pay by your employer. What you actually owe is determined when you file your tax return.
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Old Oct 30th 2015, 6:01 pm
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Default Re: HELP - confused Brit filling out W4 on a L1

We arrived late in 2011 on an L visa, so hubby (the only earner) was just paid in the US for December that year. He wasn't able to use exemptions for 2011, as we hadn't ticked over enough Substantial Presence days. Consequently, they took a fairly big slug of his December salary.

But it ultimately didn't matter - when we filed taxes for 2011, it looked on paper as if he was reaaaaaally low earner, since it only included one month's income. So we got every cent he paid back anyway!

From 2012, he could fill in the W4 as normal, and use 4 (maybe 5?) exemptions for withholding (whatever the calculation tells you to do for, in our case, a family of four people).

So don't worry, it's a temporary problem that'll go away. Worst case, you'll have a minor cashflow issue until the tax rebate comes through next year.
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Old Oct 30th 2015, 6:25 pm
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Default Re: HELP - confused Brit filling out W4 on a L1

Brilliant thanks everyone for the guidance. I also forgot that the tax year here runs with the calendar year so yes I think we will just have a temporary issue in November/December. Really appreciate the feedback, tax is not my strong point!
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