I recently switched from a J-1 (intern category) visa to a H1-B and am now wondering about tax liability. Whilst on J-1 I was not liable for FICA (SS + Medicare) or FUTA, but now that I'm on H1-B I am liable:

Nonresident aliens, in general, are also liable for Social Security/Medicare Taxes on wages paid to them for services performed by them in the United States, with certain exceptions based on their nonimmigrant status

Whilst on J-1, it was under this exemption that I did not pay FICA/FUTA taxes.

My question regards this exception. That page says that the exception expires when you switch visa types to one that is liable:

The exemption does not apply to J-1, or Q-1/Q-2 nonimmigrants who change to an immigration status which is not exempt or to a special protected status.

Does this exemption apply retroactively - will I have to pay FICA/FUTA on wages paid whilst I was on the J-1 visa now that I've switched to H1-B?

  • 1
    You're never liable for FUTA. It's a tax employers pay, not employees.
    – littleadv
    Oct 16, 2014 at 5:55
  • Did you pay the taxes for the exempted period after the change of visa?
    – Maddy
    Jan 30, 2017 at 21:54
  • @Maddy No, I did not. The accepted answer is correct!
    – mango45
    Feb 9, 2017 at 8:20

1 Answer 1


No. You were exempt from FICA for the part of the year you were on J-1; and not exempt for the part of the year you were on H-1b.


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