As a Miami immigration lawyer, one question I receive quite frequently comes from non U.S. citizens who are green card holders (permanent residents), and want to know if they have to pay taxes in the U.S. I should emphasize upfront that I am not a tax lawyer, and have never practiced tax law, therefore for all tax-related questions, I would urge you to contact a tax attorney.

I am not a U.S. citizen. Do I have to file a U.S. tax return?

Whether or not you must file a U.S. tax return depends upon whether the U.S. government considers you a “tax resident.”

For Green Card Holders:

I am a green card holder (permanent resident) — am I a “tax resident”?

All permanent residents (green card holders) are tax residents. If you have any questions in regard to this, I advise you to contact a Miami immigration lawyer.

When do I start becoming a U.S.  tax resident?

You automatically become a U.S. tax resident when you get your green card, starting with the year you got the green card. As such, you must declare your entire income to the U.S. government, unless you took steps to be treated as a resident of a foreign country under an income tax treaty. If you have any questions pertaining to your green card status, you may want to speak with a Miami immigration lawyer.

Do I still have to pay U.S. taxes if I lost or surrendered by green card?

Losing your permanent resident status doesn’t automatically mean you stop being a tax resident of the United States. You might need to notify the Department of Homeland Security that you lost permanent resident status or are surrendering your green card, before you are relieved of the duty to file U.S. tax returns.For some people, this duty to file U.S. tax returns can last for ten years after they stop being a U.S. permanent resident.

If you have lost or surrendered your green card, I would urge you to contact a Miami immigration lawyer to discuss your options.

I am a green card holder, but I don’t want to pay U.S. Taxes or file a U.S. tax return.

From an immigration standpoint, this is extremely ill-advised. First, if you fail to file your United States taxes as a green card holder, you may jeopardize your chances of becoming a U.S. citizen. Second, not filing taxes intentionally may also make you  guilty of a crime– you could lose your green card and face deportation.  If you have any questions in regard to this, I encourage you to speak with a Miami immigration attorney.

If you would like to check out additional resources on paying taxes as a green card holder, you can visit the IRS website here:

If you would like more information about your responsibilities as a green card holder, please contact Miami immigration lawyer Michael G. Murray, Esq. at (305) 895-2500 or visit our website at

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