Stimulus rebates go to some foreign national workers
The CARES Act provides a $1,200 stimulus rebate to each eligible individual with adjusted gross income of up to $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples), plus another $500 per child. Reduced amounts will be issued to individuals making up to $99,000 per year ($198,000 for married couples).
The CARES Act specifically excludes "nonresident aliens." The IRS defines a nonresident alien as a non-U.S. citizen except someone who is either (1) a green card holder or (2) a foreign national who meets the "substantial presence" test for the calendar year. So, an H-1B professional who lives and resides in the United States may be eligible to receive the stimulus rebate based on substantial presence, while an F-1 student might not be eligible for the stimulus rebate if not otherwise considered a resident alien by the IRS.
The CARES Act further stipulates that an individual seeking to receive a stimulus rebate must include their Social Security number (SSN) in the federal tax return filing for the taxable year. As only foreign nationals with U.S. work authorization may apply for SSNs; this excludes broad categories of foreign nationals who are otherwise lawfully present in the United States, including but not limited to, H-4 spouses and children of H-1B visa holders, but who are ineligible to apply for SSNs.
Some of your foreign national employees may be receiving stimulus rebates directly deposited into their bank accounts if they have previously filed U.S. income tax returns and provided the IRS with bank account information for depositing tax refunds. Otherwise, they may receive a physical check in the future.
Stimulus rebates received by foreign national workers are not classified as "means tested" public benefits and will not cause "public charge" issues for their nonimmigrant status or future U.S. Permanent Residence process.
This client alert is being sent only to company representatives. Please feel free to share with your foreign national workforce.
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