A few years ago, the IRS allowed e-filing for Form 1040-NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return. They have now made e-filing mandatory for 2020 Forms 1040-NR that are prepared by third party preparers. Overall, we believe that e-filing helps taxpayers because it provides a fast and secure method of filing a return with the IRS. This is particularly relevant now when the pandemic has both the IRS and the U.S. Postal Service stretched beyond their capacities. If a taxpayer decides they do not want to e-file, or if there’s another reason the return can’t be e-filed, then a special form is filed with the paper return explaining why.
However, there is a kink this year that will apply to the 2020 Forms 1040-NR. IRS delayed the processes required to sync their e-filing system with those of tax software providers. They recently gave notice that they will not start this process until March. This means that e-filed Forms 1040-NR will not be accepted by the IRS until the end of March or maybe even April.
If a paper return is required prior to the time when IRS will accept the e-filed returns, then it is possible to mail one to the IRS with Form 8948 attached (this is the form that explains why it is being paper filed). However, because of the IRS and Postal Service delays, we recommend e-filing even if it involves waiting a little longer to file. You will likely have your return processed faster and it’s less likely to go astray, especially if you reside outside the U.S.
Our International Tax Team is available for any questions you may have regarding filing your Form 1040-NR.
This post was written by Erin Stockwell, a CPA, and Shareholder in the Anderson ZurMuehlen Great Falls office.