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How to file US tax return

📅 2020-Jun-28 ⬩ ✍️ Ashwin Nanjappa ⬩ 📚 Archive

This is the information I found useful when filing US tax returns as a resident alien on a work visa.

Tools to file

The popular choices seem to be:

Other choices seem to be:

Interest

Use the form 1099-INT provided by your checking bank account, savings bank account and the cash accounts in your brokerage firm or your mutual fund firm.

Note there will be a separate entry or form for each account, even if the firm might send a single consolidated form to you.

Dividends

Use the form 1099-DIV provided by your brokerage firm or your mutual fund firm.

Foreign bank accounts

If there are foreign bank accounts in your name, you need to report:

More info here.

RSU and ESPP sales

If you sold any of the RSU or ESPP shares you got from your company during the tax year, you will need to declare that. I found that I needed these documents from my brokerage firm (Charles Schwab): 1099-B and the year-end statement.

Turbo Tax has separate sections for RSU and ESPP. I had to enter each of the sales listed in 1099-B (X shares of Y) individually in Turbo Tax. You will need to choose if the sale was short-term or long-term and if the basis was reported to IRS or not: this is mentioned above the listing of sales in 1099-B. For my case, ESPP basis was reported, but RSU basis was not reported. The other details needed are the acquired and sold dates (Box 1b and 1c), proceeds (Box 1d) and the cost basis (Box 1e) for each sale. For ESPP, you might need to also additionally enter the adjusted cost basis, which I found listed in the year-end statement.

Self income

Small incomes from selling stuff or online ad revenue can be reported in Turbo Tax as independent income.