All International Students in the U.S. are required to file taxes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) each year. Filing taxes with the IRS is a process which can seem daunting for many International Students but in most cases students (and International Students in particular) benefit from filing a tax return, especially if they were employed in the U.S. Filing with the IRS is also a way for you and the US government to ensure that you have been properly taxed for the previous year.
Because most International Students are not U.S. citizens they are exempt from many of the tax laws that apply to U.S. citizens and therefore are not required to pay as many taxes. Most countries have tax treaties with the U.S. that allow for their citizens (if they are employed in the United States) to receive certain tax benefits.
If you worked over the past year it is highly probable that you will be refunded the majority of the taxes deducted from your paychecks over the previous year.
Due to the sensitive legal nature of taxes and their filing, International Education & Programs can give only minimal and basic information regarding the proper completion of tax forms. As International Student Advisors we have received significant training in F-1 student regulations and immigration/visa issues but not in tax law. It is best to carefully and repeatedly read the instructions for each tax form. However, if you do have questions please do not hesitate to bring them to our attention and we will answer them to the best of our ability.
In order to file taxes as an International Student it is necessary that you obtain and/or complete the following documents:
If you are an International Student who Did Not Work over the previous year you are only required to file Form 8843.
If you are an International Student who worked on-campus or off-campus then you will need to complete the forms below. Please note: N.B. Off-campus employment MUST be authorized by your International Student Advisor/Designated School Official (DSO) and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Form 8843
Instructions are included
- Form 1040NR should be used by those students who have brought dependents (i.e. children, a spouse, etc) to the United States with them.
- If you have not brought dependents you can use Form 1040NR-EZ
- W-2 Forms
- W-2 Forms are completed by your employer and list the total amount of wages that you earned while working for that employer. They also list the total tax deductions from the total number of wages you earned while you worked for that employer
- W-2 forms should be mailed to you directly from all of your employers by early February. You should include one copy of the W-2 Form from each employer with form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ