I was a researcher in J-1 status in the USA. In 2014 I filed a resident tax return. In 2015, I spent only four months in the USA, after which I left and never returned.
I did not obtain a sailing permit. My understanding is that this is not required for people in J-1 status doing authorized work.
It is not clear how I need to file for 2015. Should it be resident or dual-status?
My reasoning so far is that it should be dual-status based on this part of publication 519:
If you were a U.S. resident in 2015 but are not a U.S. resident during any part of 2016, you cease to be a U.S. resident on your residency termination date. Your residency termination date is December 31, 2015, unless you qualify for an earlier date as discussed next.
Earlier residency termination date. You may qualify for a residency termination date that is earlier than December 31. This date is:
- The last day in 2015 that you are physically present in the United States, if you met the substantial presence test,
You can use this date only if, for the remainder of 2015, your tax home was in a foreign country and you had a closer connection to that foreign country.
I did meet the substantial presence test for 2015. I took up employment in a different country immediately after departing the USA and I need to pay taxes there. This means the above applies, and my residency terminates on the date of my departure. This means that I was a resident for the first 4 months but not after.
But I am having an uncomfortable feeling that I am misinterpreting or missing something.