As nonimmigrants in the United States, international students are subject to special rules with respect to the taxation of their income. While you are in the United States, you are required to report any taxable income you receive by filing the appropriate federal and state tax returns. In some cases, taxable income may include fellowship and scholarships.
What is Income Tax?
Income tax is taxes on the income that you have received in one fiscal year, which is January 1 to December 31. Taxes from one fiscal year can be filed between January 15 and April 15 of the next fiscal year.
Do I Need to File Taxes?
As an international student with an F or J visa, the first step in determining whether you are required to file an income tax return is to determine your tax filing status. Most international students present in United States for less than 5 years are considered nonresident aliens for tax purposes.
Most international students on F, J, M, and Q visas present in United States for more than 5years and teachers, researchers, and professors present in U.S. for more than 2 years can be considered resident aliens for tax purposes.
What Forms do I File?
All international students who are nonresidents for tax purposes must file Form 8843, Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals With a Medical Condition, regardless of whether you earned any income. If you earned income in the United States and are a nonresident for tax purposes, you will also need to file Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ and the appropriate state tax forms. If you determine that you are considered a resident for tax purposes, you must file Form 1040, 1040EZ or 1040A, and the required state tax forms.
What is an ITIN?
ITIN stands for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number and is an identification number issued by the Internal Revenue Service to people who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer ID number but are not eligible for a Social Security number (SSN). An ITIN is used for federal tax reporting ONLY. It does NOT have the same functions as a SSN.
For more information visit: http://www.irs.gov/individuals/index.html, scroll down and click on “Individual Tax Identification Number.”
More information on federal tax forms, tax conditions, and frequently asked questions can be found at http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/International-Taxpayers.
There are a number of businesses that, for a fee, will assist taxpayers in the preparation of their income tax returns. However, not all tax professionals are trained to file taxes for nonresidents, so you must make sure they understand that you are an international student. To find a tax preparer near you, look in the telephone directory yellow pages under “Tax Return Preparation” or visit the following websites:
- H&R Block
- Liberty Tax Service
- University of Texas at Austin: International Office website developed to assist nonresidents in completing their tax returns. It walks you through the process, includes a FAQ, and it’s FREE!
- International Student Taxes: A federal tax self-help website that costs approximately $19.99 to file Form 1040NR-EZ and $9.99 to file Form 8843.
- Tax Back: A federal and state tax self-help website