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Immigration Issues/No longer a USA PR. Have not filed tax returns for last 10 years


Hi Alexander,

I got my green card through work in 1993 and got married to a US citizen in 1996.  We left the country in 1997 to pursue better career opportunities outside of the US.  I did not return my green card to the American embassy because I thought that it will automatically be revoked since I am out of the country for more than 6 months.  Since 1997, I have not filed any tax returns in the US since I don't live there.  However, we are thinking of returning to the US in a couple of years.  My concern is that will I be penalized by the IRS because I hadn't been filing tax returns for the last 10 years?  What should I do now to rectify this situation?

Thanks in advance for your answer.

Unfortunately almost every aspect of your understanding is incorrect, or partly incorrect. In fact you did abandon your visa when you left the USA. But the period was not 6 months, but one year. After one year without returning to the USA, you have abandoned your visa, and you are no longer a US resident.

No as to taxes, it sounds like your spouse is a US citizen. I don't know what you and he were doing, but he would have been required to file tax returns if he earned any taxable income. Now that is a tough question to deal with here. I simply don't know if your husband earned taxable income, and I have no way of resolving that here.

You should resolve this matter in advance, but if not I doubt the IRS will hunt you down. Rather it is just something that you need to address as soon as possible. You may be surprised and find out that you and your husband owed no taxes.

Good luck.

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Alexander J. Hay


I am a U.S. lawyer with offices in Houston, Texas and in Belize. I can answer questions on U.S. Immigration, U.S. corporate law, and Offshore Tax and Asset Planning.
If you are on an H or L visa I am NOT GOING TO ANSWER your questions since they are usually highly fact oriented, and also you have a company attorney handling the whole thing. Call your own attorney please! If you disregard this request, don't be surprised if I answer with "homework question".


I am a U.S. attorney with offices in the United States and Belize. I have experience helping to protect assets, reduce taxes, and improve investment performance by utilizing global investment techniques.

Harvard University, A.B. degree; University of Houston Law Center, J.D. Degree; Fulbright Scholar

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