Tax Exclusion/Receiving a US Residency Certificate

This page is meant as a guide only. The PAs, Chiba Prefecture, and your supervisor take no responsibility for the accuracy of this document or of your taxes. Please consult a tax professional.

Japan and the US have an income tax treaty which allows ALTs to be exempt from taxes in Japan and in the US for their initial two years of stay in Japan. ALTs that do not apply for the tax treaty, will not be exempt from taxes for their initial two years in Japan and required to pay taxes. In order to avoid this, please follow the process below to obtain a US Residency Certificate.

The process involves three steps:


1. File Form 8802, an application for United States Residency Certification (Form 6166)
2. Receive Form 6166, a letter of U.S. Residency Certification
The IRS will mail Form 6166 either to your US address listed on Form 8802 or to a third party appointee if you so choose. If there is a chance that you may be in Japan by the time the IRS has finished processing your form 8802, you should list an appointee residing in the US to forward Form 6166 to you in Japan. Please be aware this appointee should be a reliable, trustworthy individual as they will have access to your TIN (social security #).
3. Once in Japan, submit Form 6166 to the individual in your school office who will be handling your taxes. Without this form, you will not be exempt from Japanese taxes during your initial two years of stay in Japan).
  • According to the general instructions for filing form 8802 on the IRS website (p. 2), you should mail your application including your full payment ($85.00) and the user fee at least 25 days before the date you need form 6166.

Download the following instructions as a PDF:


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Step 1: How do I apply for 6166?


1) Download Form 8802 from: http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/international/article/0,,id=122559,00.html.
This is the application for United States Residency Certification.

2.) Fill out the application appropriately using the Instructions for Form 8802

3.) FAX or mail this application to the IRS.

4.) Within 30 days you should receive your Residency Certification (Form 6166). Once in Japan give Form 6166 to your supervisor or the individual in your school office that handles your tax affairs. If you do not receive Form 6166 (or a response indicating why you've been denied it), you can leave a voice mail at (215) 516-7135 and a representative will get back to you. This phone number is for the Residency Certification Division at the IRS. If you have been denied you also can telephone the U.S. Residency Certification Unit between 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. ET at (215) 516-2000.

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Step 2: Instructions for filling out form 8802

Applicant's Name: Your name, as it appears on the 1040 Forms you file every year.

Applicant's U.S. taxpayer identification number (TIN): Your TIN is simply your Social Security Number (XXX-XX-XXXX)

Joint return: For married ALTs, if you filed jointly. If both spouses are 1st or 2nd year ALTs, you will need separate certification, so check the box.

Line 1: Write your name and social security number. For example: Jack Bauer SS#:123-45-6789

Line 2: Your address in the United States, for the year you are requesting certification (see the examples on Line 7). This is for all ALTs, regardless of 1st year or 2nd year status. (Example: 123 Meadow Lane, Madison, WI, USA 80302)

Line 3a: Write your address in the US

Line 3b-c: Leave blank (but read the instructions in the case you would like an appointee)

Line 4a: Check the boxes "Individual" & "U.S. Citizen" NOTE: DO NOT check the “Partial – year form 2555 filer” box (unless in the previous year you have filed form 2555)

Line 4b-h: Leave blank.

Line 5: Check the "1040" box under Yes (assuming you at one point filed taxes individually)

Line 6: (ignore this, unless, you have never filed taxes before, and therefore checked a reason under No on Line 5. If this is the case, you'll need to check the "1040" box under Yes. Write your parent(s)' info: name and address will be sufficient, where it specifies. If you would prefer not to enter this information, simply check "1040" and leave the rest blank).

Line 7: Write the last FULL calendar year you lived in the United States. In most cases it would be the year prior to arriving in Japan as an ALT, but nevertheless it will be the last full calendar year for which you DID NOT file Form 2555. (Example: a 1st Year ALT (will arrive in August, 2016): Write "2015", and on Line 2 write the US address you used on the 1040 Form you filed for that year.)

Line 8: Write " 201512 ". This 6-digit number (YYYYMM) designates the last month of the calendar year for which you need the certificate, in the first example above, that would be "December 2015", so you would write "201512". In the second example, for "December 2010", you would write "201012".

Line 9: Check the "Other (specify)" box and write "Application for Japanese Tax Exemption".

Line 10: For this part you must handwrite:
<Your full name>, <Your social security number>, is (and will continue to be) a U.S. resident within the meaning of Article 4(1) of the U.S.-Japan treaty. The assignment began on [date] and ends on [date]. Article 20 of the U.S.-Japan treaty provides a 2-year exemption from income tax.
For the "begin" date, write down the day that you will arrive in Japan. The end date should be the day before your beginning date, but two years later. For example: August 5th 2016 - August 4th 2018.

Line 11: To the right of Japan, write the number "2" (two). You only need one, but get two just in case.


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Other Notes

  • Sign the form where it says "Applicant's signature...", date it, and include your home phone number (eg: 608-123-4567).
  • Keep records (copies) and receipts
  • Submitting payment online may be faster
  • In a previous year we had an ALT who had worked in Japan 1 year prior to beginning as a Chiba-WI ALT. This individual had some difficulty receiving certification of US residency from the IRS. This problem could have been avoided with a clearer “under penalties of perjury statement.” Someone does read these, please specify any relevant information.
  • This ALTs amended “under penalties of perjury” statement (names, dates, and TIN have been changed): This certification is given under penalties of perjury and to the best of my knowledge and belief the statements are true, correct, and complete. I, Sam Reader, TIN 987-65-4321, was a teacher in Japan from 07/30/2009 to 07/30/2010. I was a US resident from 07/31/2010 to 08/10/2011.

What forms do I need to file US taxes?

(Main article: Taxes)
1st Year ALTs need the following forms:
8822
Change of Address
(File ASAP)
4868
Application for Extension of time to file
(by June 15)
Foreign Earned Income Statement (gensen choshu hyo 源泉徴収票)
(with form 1040)
2555-EZ
Foreign Earned Income Statement
(with form 1040)
W2
US Employers Income Statement
(with form 1040)
1040
Individual Income Tax Return
(file after 330 total days in Japan)
Publication 970
(file this if you’ve paid deductible interest on student loans in the last year)

2nd-5th Year ALTs
Foreign Earned Income Statement (gensen choshu hyo源泉徴収票)
(with form 1040)
2555-EZ
Foreign Earned Income Statement
(with form 1040)
1040
Individual Income Tax Return
(file after 330 total days in Japan)
Publication 970
(file this if you’ve paid deductible interest on student loans in the last year)
8822
Change of Address
(Only file this form if your address has changed within the last filed year)

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