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For those who plan to live permanently in the United States, it is important to ensure you acquire official citizenship for many reasons. U.S. citizenship grants freedoms and protections that cannot be acquired without being a citizen. There are three paths to citizenship for foreign nationals:

  1. Citizenship through acquisition – applies to a child who automatically acquires citizenship although they were born outside the U.S.
  2. Citizenship through derivation – when a parent naturalizes, their children may automatically derive U.S. citizenship.
  3. Citizenship through naturalization – how a person not born in the United States voluntarily becomes a citizen.

Testing to become a U.S. Citizen applies to the naturalization process. In order to be granted citizenship, one must first meet the requirements to apply, like being at least 18 years old, being able to speak and write in English, understand basic U.S. history, and establish residency for a certain period of time (5 years as a permanent resident or 3 years as a permanent resident who has lived in a marital union with a U.S. citizen spouse). If such requirements are met, there are a few things that need to be done, such as participating in a naturalization interview and taking the citizenship and IRS residency test.

The IRS pays close attention to citizenship, and vice versa. If someone who owes back taxes tries to apply for citizenship, their application will likely be denied due to the information the IRS provides. It’s important for the IRS to know one’s citizenship for tax codes, to determine whether to tax someone for U.S. federal income taxes, and to decide how they might be taxed. Having a clouded tax history is something the IRS likes to know, and something that you can take control over without legal implications.

How Does the IRS Determine Residency

When it comes to determining residency, the IRS will consider when you met the substantial presence test in that calendar year. To meet the requirements for this test, you must be physically present in the U.S. for at least 31 days in a calendar year, or 131 days over a 3-year period of time. Knowing the dates you met the requirement is important when filing taxes because unlike residents, alien residents are taxed on U.S. income only. Until you turn in your green card and take the IRS residency test, you will not be taxed as a U.S. citizen.

ATM Tax Pro Can Help You Prepare and File Your Taxes Correctly

Filing your taxes can be tricky for a lifelong U.S. citizen. When you’re a resident alien, preparing taxes can be even more complicated. To ensure you’re being taxed fairly, or if you have tax mishaps from the past that need to be cleaned up, hiring a professional like ATM Tax Pro can ensure your taxes are filed correctly and on time. If you have questions about what is required from the IRS to prove you are a resident, or how to go about the filing process,  find out how ATM Tax Pro can help you with all of your tax needs. Schedule an appointment today.