Correctly Defining "resident of the United States"
in the Internal Revenue Code
Paul Andrew Mitchell, B.A., M.S.
Private Attorney General
September 17, 2017 A.D.
Join with us as we demonstrate more vagueness whenever
an average American attempts to confirm the correct legal meaning
of "resident of the United States" in the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”)
and its implementing Regulations.
The term "resident" does not occur anywhere in Section 1
of the Internal Revenue Code.
This is important, because the term "resident of the United States" does occur
at IRC section 7701(a)(30), in the definition of "United States person":
(a)(30) United States person
The term “United States person” means —
So, what is a "resident of the United States" as that phrase
occurs in the latter definition of "United States person"?
Does it include anyone who resides in the United States,
as common English usage would define that phrase?
Or, does it have a special legal definition which must be
For answers, we turn first to the Regulation implementing IRC Section 1,
at 26 CFR 1.1-1:
In subsection (a) of that implementing Regulation we find:
(a) General rule.
(1) Section 1 of the Code imposes an income tax
on the income of every individual who is a citizen
or resident of the United States
However, unlike subsection (c) of that Regulation,
which does define "Who is a citizen", there is no
parallel subsection which defines "Who is a resident."
This necessarily complicates our search for a clear definition.
A major clue can be found in subsection (b) of that Regulation,
where we find:
(b) Citizens or residents of the United States liable to tax.
In general, all citizens of the United States, wherever resident, and
all resident alien individuals are liable to the income taxes
imposed by the Code whether the income is received from sources
within or without the United States.
The context here is very helpful: although headings have no legal force,
it is clear from the latter Regulation that "residents of the United States"
are synonymous with and equivalent to "resident alien individuals".
Thus, because "individuals" are human beings in this context,
we are correct to infer that "resident alien individuals" are
human beings who are "resident aliens".
So, what is a "resident alien"?
Finally, the definition of "resident alien" can be found at IRC 7701(b):
(A) Resident alien
An alien individual shall be treated as a resident of the United States
with respect to any calendar year if (and only if) such individual
meets the requirements of clause (i), (ii), or (iii):
(i) Lawfully admitted for permanent residence
Such individual is a lawful permanent resident of the United States
at any time during such calendar year.
(ii) Substantial presence test
Such individual meets the substantial presence test of paragraph (3).
(iii) First year election
Such individual makes the election provided in paragraph (4).
We will not delve any further into the legal meanings
of "substantial presence test" or "first year election".
For now, remember that an individual may also be a "resident alien"
by meeting the substantial presence test or
by making the first year election.
It is the correct legal meaning of the term
"lawful permanent resident of the United States"
that concerns us here, chiefly because
such an individual is a "resident of the United States".
It is very instructive here to compare the legal definition
of "individual" that is found in the Federal Privacy Act:
(2) the term “individual” means a citizen of the United States or
an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence;
All the above are consistent with the conclusions
documented 25 years ago in the book "The Federal Zone",
particularly Chapter 3: "The Matrix":
The following excerpt from that Chapter 3 succinctly summarizes
the key points discussed above:
Being lawfully admitted for permanent residence
is also called "the green card test".
IRS Publication 519 explains the green card test as follows:
You are a resident for tax purposes if you are
a lawful permanent resident of the United States**
at any time during the calendar year. ...
This is known as the "green card" test.
And, "green cards" are issued to RESIDENT ALIENS!
Find yourself such a "green card" to confirm this yourself.
CONCLUSIONS: Although the path to this conclusion
is not as straightforward as it could have been
if the Internal Revenue Code were not deliberately vague,
the above points succinctly prove that the term
"resident of the United States" is legally equivalent to and
synonymous with "alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence"
also known as a RESIDENT ALIEN i.e. green card holder.
And, without holding a green card, an alien is also a "resident alien"
by satisfying the substantial presence test or
by making the first year election.
In all three instances, a "resident of the United States"
is legally defined to mean a "resident alien individual".
The correct legal meaning of "U.S. Individual" is also
discussed in some detail here:
That correct legal meaning is immensely important chiefly because
“U.S. Individual” occurs in the title of IRS Form 1040!
And, Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, defines "resident alien" as follows:
One, not yet a citizen of this country,
who has come into the country from another with the
intent to abandon his former citizenship and to reside here.
/s/ Paul Andrew Mitchell, B.A., M.S.
Private Attorney General, Civil RICO: 18 U.S.C. 1964;
Agent of the United States as Qui Tam Relator (4X),
Federal Civil False Claims Act: 31 U.S.C. 3729 et seq.
(Policy + Guidelines)
All Rights Reserved
(cf. UCC 1-308 https://www.law.cornell.edu/ucc/1/1-308)