IRS Substantial Presence Test Calculator (With App)

IRS substantial presence calculator helps you find the US tax residency based on your stay in the US. At least 31 days in current year and 183 days in last 3 years required.

Written by Anil Gupta
  Anil Gupta    Updated 7 Jan, 21

IRS substantial presence calculator helps you find the US tax residency based on your stay in the US.

A foreign national is taxed in the US as a resident or a non-resident alien based on the number of days you have spent physically in the US.

What is a Substantial Presence Test?

US tax agency is known as IRS and they have created a residency test called SPT (Substantial Presence Test). It is a simple test which counts the number of days you have resided in the US in the last 3 years.

You can either count them yourself of use am22tech’s easy and helpful SPT app.

Use IRS Substantial Presence Test Calculator App >

The substantial presence app supports listing your dates of entry and exit from the US and automatically calculates the number of days you spent in the US. IRS rules are complex and vary by the visa type you use to stay in the US.

F1 Students

Many people enter the US for studies using an F1 visa but then change their status to H1B work visa within the same year.

This creates confusion with respect to whether you should count the days spent in the US on an F1 student visa for the substantial presence or not.

Teacher or Trainee

Similarly, the app takes care of J-1 and Q-1 status rules for IRS residency test which exempt them from counting these days for SPT unless they are in the US as a student.

IRS exempts all the alien physicians, au pairs, short-term scholars, and summer camp workers temporarily present in the U.S. in “J” visa status from SPT counting as they are included within the IRS definition of “Teacher or Trainee.”

B1/B2 Visitors

The business or tourist visitors using a B-1/B-2 US visa will also be considered for tax residency. Most B-1 business workers do receive payments in USD and may have to file income tax returns as ‘resident aliens’ if they pass the substantial presence test.

Please consult a tax consultant or a CPA if you are not sure what kind of tax you need to pay or file in the US.

The app takes care of all the IRS rules if you specify the correct dates with correct visa status.

Substantial Presence Test Rules

The basic criteria for the IRS test take into account the current year which is the year that you are trying to file taxes for.

The test has two parts and both should be satisfied to consider yourself a ‘resident-alien’ for filing 1040 taxes in the US.

  1. 31 days during the current year, and
  2. 183 days during the 3-year period that includes the current year and the 2 years immediately before that, counting:
    • All the days you were present in the current year, and
    • 1/3 of the days you were present in the first year before the current year, and
    • 1/6 of the days you were present in the second year before the current year.


If you came to the US on 1 Jan 2021 as a student on an F1 visa and then converted to H1B visa on Oct 1, 2021, to keep working, you have two separate legal stays in the US:

  • 1 Jan to 20 Sep stay on F1 will be considered exempt from counting.
  • Oct 1 to 31 Dec stay on H1B visa will be counted as the legal presence in the US.
IRS F1 to H1B change of status substantial presence test calculator
IRS F1 to H1B change of status substantial presence test calculator

Transit Through US

IRS allows you to exclude the day if you were present in the US for less than 24 hours just because you were on a transit flight.

Many people on business trips using B-1/B-2 visa travel through the USA stopover flights in Atlanta while going to Mexico.

am22tech’s Substantial presence test app allows you to specify your trip as transit and hence it will not be counted.

Living in Canada/Mexico but working in US

You can exclude your days that you have commuted from Canada or Mexico to the US just for day work.

A lot of people who work in the Detroit area commute daily to the US while living in Canada using their PR. They can exclude the days they worked in the US.

IRS substantial presence test calculator exemptions
IRS substantial presence test calculator exemptions

Many high skilled H1B workers also have Canada PR and try to maintain both at the same time but make sure that you calculate your residency using the Substantial Presence Test calculator to see if you have the correct US residency status.

Use IRS Substantial Presence Test Calculator App >

The other exceptions include

  • Unable to leave the US due to medical conditions that developed while you were in the US.
  • Staying in the US as a crew member of a foreign vessel.
  • A professional athlete competing in Charitable Event in the US. Athletes performing in the US for profit cannot claim this exemption.


Written by Anil Gupta
  Anil Gupta           

Recent discussion on forum

  1. zsyed

    Hi Expert,

    I lived in USA since 2012 to 2019 on Canadian TN work Visa with family. During August 2019, my TN visa was withdrawn. I came back to USA on F1 student visa during Dec 2019 with my spouse and children. I lived in USA through out the year 2020. I also withdraw funds from 401k for paying tuition fee for myself, spouse on F1 status and university attending children. My wife is on F1 status too, received a small grant as scholarship from the college for her tuition fee.

    Could you please advise my residency status for tax filing for the year 2020 and what type filing is appropriate in my status.

    Do I pass the SPT? Should I file 1040 or 1040NR?

  2. anil_am22

    Did you use the app? What does it show as your residency status?

  3. zsyed

    Hi Anil, thank you for the reply.

    The app said Non resident alien. When I spoke with SprintTax, partner of Turbotax, said I am resident alien based on past 8 years resident alien status. Bit of confusing.


  4. anil_am22

    You must have entered wrong values in the app is what i guess.

    Looks like there may be a bug in the app for F1 visa. I hope they fix it soon.

  5. zsyed

    Not sure. What do you think of my residency? Are you a CPA?

  6. anil_am22

    I think you will be considered resident alien for tax purpose.

  7. zsyed

    How did you come to that thought?
    while I test the Substantial Presence Test, it says, I should have been in USA during 2020 for minimum of 31 days to be Resident alien. F1 student is exempt to count those days. I am confused

  8. anil_am22

    I tested your situation using the app and it seems you are not resident alien based on IRS exemptions.

    Why is the tax service company counting you as resident alien then? Is there more information with respect to your status that you have shared with them but not here?

  9. zsyed

    First year year 2020, the app says Exempt and for 2019 and 2018… I put H1-B/Green card although I was on TN. There is no TN visa type in the list to select. the result says Non resident alien.
    Snippet of the result is attached. Please cross check. Thank you

  10. reddysanil

    You will be a Non Resident. As a student on F-1 visa, you qualify to be as an exempt individual Exempt Individual - Who is a Student | Internal Revenue Service

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