What Is Form 1040NR-EZ?

Form 1040NR-EZ is a simplified version of the IRS tax return for nonresident aliens. The "EZ" version of the form is for those whose only U.S. income comes from wages, salaries, tips, and other eligible sources. Those who earned taxable interest, dividend income—or who wish to claim dependents for tax purposes—must use the standard Form 1040NR.

Key Takeaways

  • You can only use Form 1040NR-EZ if you were a nonresident alien and your U.S. income came from certain sources, such as wages, salaries, and tips.
  • You may not file the "EZ" version of the form if you claim dependents or can be claimed as a dependent on someone else's return.
  • If you pass either the "green card test" or "substantial presence test," you are considered a U.S. resident and should not file Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ.

Who Needs Form 1040NR-EZ?

You can only file the "EZ" version of the tax form if you are a nonresident alien and meet a list of criteria. For example:

  • You may not claim any dependents.
  • You can't be claimed as a dependent on someone else's U.S. tax return.
  • Your only income from U.S. sources must be from wages, salaries, tips, refunds of state and local income taxes, scholarship or fellowship grants, and nontaxable interest or dividends (you cannot have taxable interest or dividend income).
  • Your taxable income from line 14 of Form 1040NR-EZ must be less than $100.
  • You may not claim any tax credits.
  • You cannot claim any itemized deductions, except for state and local income taxes.

For a full list of requirements, visit the IRS Instructions for Form 1040NR-EZ.

Form 1040-NR-EZ

All pages of Form 1040NR-EZ are available on the IRS website.

How to Fill Out Form 1040NR-EZ

Form 1040NR-EZ is a two-page document that asks for the taxpayer's name and address, as well as information about filing status and income. The second page is "Schedule OI—Other Information," where filers provide information such as nationality, country of residence for tax purposes, and visa or immigration status.

Unlike Form 1040NR, the "EZ" form does not include information about dependents, as nonresident aliens with dependents cannot use the simplified version. And because Form 1040NR-EZ is only used by taxpayers with certain types of income, it does not ask for information about income effectively connected to U.S. trade or business.

Form 1040NR-EZ also differs from Form 1040NR in that there is no Schedule A ("Itemized Deductions") nor Schedule NEC ("Tax on Income Not Effectively Connected With a U.S. Trade or Business"). 

Who Is a Nonresident Alien?

In order to file Form 1040NR-EZ—or Form 1040NR—you must be a nonresident alien. If you pass either the green card test or the substantial presence test for the tax year in question, you are considered a resident alien and cannot file these tax forms.

Green Card Test

Under the green card test, you are a resident if at any point during the tax year you were a lawful permanent resident of the United States. In most cases you are a lawful permanent resident if you were issued an alien registration card (also known as a green card) by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or its predecessor organization, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

Substantial Presence Test

The other test for determining residency status is based on the duration of a person’s stay in the United States during the tax year in question and the two years prior.

Noncitizens pass this substantial presence test if they meet both the 31-day and 183-day requirements to be considered a resident alien.

  • You meet the 31-day test if you were present in the United States for at least 31 days during the tax year.
  • You meet the 183-day test if the answers to lines 1, 2, and 3 below add up to at least 183.
  1. Tax year days in the U.S. x 1 =_____ days
  2. First preceding year days in United States x 1/3 =_____ days
  3. Second preceding year days in United States x 1/6 =_____ days

However, in rare cases you may pass one of these tests and still remain a nonresident alien for tax purposes. For example, if you reside in a country that has an income tax treaty with the United States and seek a lower U.S. tax rate under that treaty, you would be classified as a nonresident.

Do I Also File Form 1040?

If you are a resident for only part of the year, you may be what is called a "dual-status taxpayer" and have to file both Form 1040 and Form 1040NR-EZ. For instance, those who were classified as nonresident aliens at the start of the tax year and became resident aliens later in the year would have to file a Form 1040 to document their income when they lived in the U.S. In addition, you would complete either a 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ form to report any income when you were a nonresident, with the label “Dual Status Statement” written across the top.

You would do the opposite if you were a resident alien at the start of the tax year and became a nonresident of the United States later in the year. You would then file a Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ, along with a statement showing your income as a U.S. resident. That statement could be a Form 1040 with the label "Dual Status Statement" written at the top.

To determine the exact dates of your residency for tax purposes, visit IRS Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.

Can Form 1040NR-EZ Be E-Filed?

Form 1040NR-EZ cannot be e-filed. Taxpayers must complete and sign it, then submit it by mail to the address on the form.