I have a few questions on taxation while being on a J1 visa (category research scholar).
- I am a Netherlands National
- I will start in December 1, 2015 as a postdoctoral researcher in the US, NYC. I have not had any kind of VISA for the US before.
- I will stay for exactly 24 months (Dec 1,2015 – Nov 31, 2017). After that I will return to the Netherlands and continue to work there.
- I will be paid a salary by my home university in the Netherlands throughout this period in the US (FOREIGN income!).
- Because I am in the US for 3 calendar years (2015,2016,2017) I believe I am a non-resident alien in 2015 and 2016, and a resident alien for 2017 because I am more than 183 days in the US.
A tax advisor from my home university has looked into my situation to determine where I should pay income tax and social security tax according to NL-US tax treaties and Dutch law. It appears I need to pay SS taxes in the Netherlands even while I am staying in the US. However for income tax he thinks I should pay tax in the US and not the Netherlands, while staying in the US.
However, I have read that for the first 2 years J1 visa holders are usually exempt from federal income and FICA taxes.
My questions are:
Are both federal and FICA based on residence status? So am I correct in assuming that I need to pay federal income tax + FICA tax for 2017, but that I am tax exempt for 2016 and 2015?
Elsewhere I have read advice that federal taxes need only to be paid if you are in the US for more than 24 months, regardless of calendar year (i.e. I am in the US for 24 months but in 3 calendar years). Can you comment if this is the case for my situation?
I am receiving a FOREIGN income as a salary, not a fellowship, although the salary was paid from a fellowship that was awarded to me. However, the fellowship is intended as a real salary and not just to cover tuition or other direct costs. Does this in anyway changes above situation?
I am obliged to pay Netherlands SS taxes by Dutch law. There is a totalization agreement between the US and NL. Does this mean I can claim exemption from FICA for 2017? Or do I need to pay and then try to claim back?