I am a European citizen non-US resident travelling to the US for 4 weeks under the ESTA Visa Waiver, of which 10 days will be spent telecommuting/work remotely. I know that I am legally within my rights to do so, based on the ESTA Visa Waiver Help section. And based on these sources: http://www.ilw.com/articles/2012,0625-Paparelli.shtm & http://taxmap.ntis.gov/taxmap/pubs/p519-010.htm, I will also not be taxable for that time because:

  • My salary for those 10 days will be less than $3000.
  • My total time spent in the US this year will be less than 90 days.
  • My employer is a non-US company.

(And just to be clear: I have no intentions of moving to the US permanently. I don't actually believe it's relevant in this case but just want to spare any such line of questioning.)

Please could someone

  1. verify my understanding?
  2. confirm that the tax-related sources above are applicable to persons entering via the ESTA Visa Waiver programme?
  3. If I am incorrect on either of the above questions, please point me towards the type of visa that WOULD legally permit such activity?
  • 1
    Your understanding seems correct. There are other questions on this website about other people doing the same thing as well. – Aditya Somani Aug 1 '14 at 1:39

Your understanding is perfectly correct. What you do for and in another country is none of US's business, since you're neither a permanent resident nor a citizen.

  • 1
    If you read the first of the source that the OP provides, you will see that at least one immigration lawyer(?) is of a different opinion, citing a rule that includes all services performed on US ground to be US-based income (for federal tax purposes). The OP already quotes the exception to this rule. Also, many US states consider income to be taxable if you get it for performing services while being in that state, even if all other involved parties have nothing to do with the state or even the US. I'm not sure if the said exception applies also to state income taxes. – DCTLib Dec 10 '14 at 11:08
  • Technically it's a gray area. But practically there's no way of enforcing it, so it's cool. – Elchin Dec 10 '14 at 18:03
  • @DCTLib So if my rental property in Australia earns me income, while I am traveling, I would technically have to pay US tax? I know you're just repeating what was said, but it doesn't seem to make sense. If I go on holiday and my company pays me leave, would I need to pay tax on that too? – Ari Jul 15 '20 at 13:08
  • @Ari While I am definitely not a lawyer, that doesn't sound like a service provided on US ground to me. Similarly, when you are on holiday in the US, you are not providing services to your company. – DCTLib Jul 15 '20 at 19:21

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