The IRS classifies taxpayers into categories of "US Person" and "Foreign Person" based on their immigration status. However, the definition appears to be cyclical:

According to the IRS:

The term ''United States person'' means:

... (list of explicit qualifiers)

Any other person that is not a foreign person.

On the same page,

A foreign person includes:

... (list of explicit qualifiers)

Any other person that is not a U.S. person

A naive reading of the rules would result in a logical paradox where any person/corporation that is not explicitly classified would not fall under either of the two categories.

What does this imply for a person/corporation that does not fall under any of the qualifiers listed?

2 Answers 2


As user6726 notes in an answer, the page you link to derives from 26 USC 7701. However, it does not reproduce the text accurately. There, "United States person" is defined at section 7701(a)(30), and it notably lacks anything corresponding to "any other person that is not a foreign person."

It's possible that that language is motivated by some court decision, but it's also possible that someone just added it for the sake of symmetry with the definition of "foreign person" without thinking about the logical paradox that it might create.

Looking at section 7701, I don't see any explicit mention of US non-citizen nationals. It appears that such a person who does not live in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia falls under the definition of nonresident alien at 7701(b)(1)(B) even though such a person is explicitly not an alien under the Immigration and Nationality Act. I do not see any regulations correcting this oversight, but I suppose that in practice such people are indeed treated as US citizens.

I don't know enough about the classification of nonhuman legal persons as foreign or domestic to have any ideas about whether there are similar ambiguities there.


The helpful information provided by the IRS is an attempt to translate the definitions under the law, so if you think you are in some third category that isn't classified as either, you consult 26 USC 7701. For example,

The term “person” shall be construed to mean and include an individual, a trust, estate,partnership, association, company or corporation.

Companies and associations would seem to not be people: however, "corporation" is given a definition ("The term “corporation” includes associations, joint-stock companies, and insurance companies") so that associations are deemed to be corporations and therefore persons. The IRS restated the law to put those two parts together.

The law defines "domestic":

The term “domestic” when applied to a corporation or partnership means created or organized in the United States or under the law of the United States or of any State unless, in the case of a partnership, the Secretary provides otherwise by regulations


The term “foreign” when applied to a corporation or partnership means a corporation or partnership which is not domestic.

In case a particular configuration of the terms isn't explicitly covered by the definitions (for example "domestic individual") then the words have their ordinary meaning. But there are also specific definitions of "US person" in (30) and "foreign estate or trust" in (31). The terms used in a definition may be defined elsewhere, so you have to cross-check.

If there is a real uncertainty, this resource may help. It is not a logical paradox that a description does not cover everything that exists, for example my dog and the Russian embassy don't seem to be either domestic or foreign persons. But you should get advice from a paid tax attorney to determine if a situation that you have in mind does not fall under one of these two categories.

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