What are the Top Ten Tax Myths
among international students? Click to find out!
Typical forms that a student may receive for tax filing purposes are:
(Wage and Tax Statement): Summary of the total amount of wages earned during the year and the amount of money withheld for any taxes (federal, state and local).
- This is an income statement, NOT a tax return! If you receive one, you will utilize the information on this form to complete your tax return and a copy of your W-2 will be included with the tax return you file with the IRS. You will not have to complete or add any information to this form.
(Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding): Issued to document taxable scholarship income and scholarship or wage income that is exempt from withholding because of a tax treaty.
- This is an income statement, NOT a tax return! If you receive one, you will utilize the information on this form to complete your tax return and a copy of your 1042-S will be included with the tax return you file with the IRS. You will not have to complete or add any information to this form.
(Interest Income): Issued by your bank and shows the interest you received on deposits in your bank account or certificate of deposit (CD). Bank interest is not taxable for nonresident aliens, so most international students do not need to consider this form in preparing your tax return.
- This is an income statement, NOT a tax return! If you receive one and you are a resident for tax purposes, you will utilize the information on this form to complete your tax return. You will not have to complete or add any information to this form.
(Miscellaneous Income): Used to show "independent contractor" income. Sometimes students who work in off-campus jobs for CPT, OPT, or Academic Training are given this form to document job income instead of the W-2. If the income shown on the 1099-MISC is very large, you may owe taxes when you file your return because taxes were not withheld from "independent contractor" income.
- This is an income statement, NOT a tax return! If you receive one, you will utilize the information on this form to complete your tax return and a copy of your 1099-MISC will be included with the tax return you file with the IRS. You will not have to complete or add any information to this form.
(Tuition Statement): Issued by educational institutions in the U.S. to show the educational expenses for each tax year. This form helps residents
for tax purposes to take advantage of education tax credits. Nonresidents
for tax purposes are not
permitted to utilize this form. ISS recommends that nonresidents for tax purposes simply keep this form for their records.
- This is a tuition statement, NOT a tax return! If you receive one and you are a resident for tax purposes, you will utilize the information on this form to complete your tax return. You will not have to complete or add any information to this form. If you are a nonresident for tax purposes, you will not have to use this format at all.
Please note there may be other tax forms that you receive. If you receive other forms and you are unclear what to do with them, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
is a software program that will assist nonresidents for tax purposes in preparing your U.S. Income tax return. ISS will send access information and the password to the TAMU email account of all international students. SPRINTAX
will generate tax forms (1040NR-EZ
) for all who are eligible to file as a nonresident.
Yes! Based on the information that you provide, SPRINTAX will determine if you are considered a nonresident or resident for tax purposes.
! SPRINTAX can help you file State tax returns in addition to the federal income tax return. You will have to pay a small fee to SPRINTAX to file a State tax return. See the Sprintax
webpage for details.
You need to file Form 8843
. This is the only form you will need to complete if you had no US income (wages or scholarships) or only earned bank interest. F1 or J1 students with US income from other sources will need to file form 1040NR
in addition to Form 8843
Yes! If you and/or your dependents are in the U.S. for even 1 day during a tax year, you must file Form 8843 with the IRS for that tax year.
Yes! All F-2 and J-2 dependents who are considered nonresidents for tax purposes must file Form 8843even if they did not have any U.S. income during the tax year. If they did earn any U.S. income, they will need to file Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ in addition to Form 8843.
You can file as Married filing Separate. Single is only for individuals who are not married by the end of the tax year.
Make sure that your foreign address has been updated with your payroll office (i.e. in GLACIER, SSO, HRConnect, etc.) so that your tax forms can be mailed to you. You can use Sprintax and/or file your federal income tax return from abroad.
International students may receive a variety of tax forms. Not every student will receive the same forms. In addition to the forms you may receive from your employer, school, banking institution, etc., you will also need to use your immigration documents as a reference. Typical forms that may be received include the following. Additional details about these forms can be found at the top of this page.
(Wage and Tax Statement)
(Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding)
All individuals must complete their name and address in the section of the form that appears directly above Part 1. If you have a U.S. taxpayer identification number (i.e. an SSN or ITIN), add this to the form. If you do not, leave it blank. If you are an F-1/J-1 student, complete Parts 1 and III of the form. If you are an F-2/J-2 dependent, you only have to complete Part 1 of the form. Form 8843 must be signed at the bottom of page 2 if you are filing ONLY Form 8843 with the IRS. If you will be filing Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ as well, you do not have to sign Form 8843.
No! A U.S. taxpayer identification number is not required to complete Form 8843.
Yes! You will enter the information from this form into SPRINTAX and it will be reflected on the Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ that is generated for you.
SPRINTAX will help you determine which form is most appropriate for your specific situation.
No! Simple bank interest and interest on certificates of deposit (CDs) is not considered taxable income for nonresidents for tax purposes and therefore does not have to be reported to the IRS. Retain the 1099-INT form for your records. Bank interest IS considered taxable income for residents for tax purposes.
Your tax forms must be postmarked by no later than the published tax filing deadline for the tax year in question. For 2016 tax returns, the deadline is April 18, 2017.
No! It is not possible to receive a refund of sales tax paid. The federal tax return process is related to income tax – not sales tax.
If you need more time, you can file Form 4868
to request an automatic extension of time until August. You will not
be notified that the extension request is approved - it is automatic. If you owe any taxes, you must still mail your estimated tax payment by the normal tax filing deadline or you will be assessed penalties and interest on any payment owed. Be sure to sign and date the forms and keep copies for your records.
Contact SPRINTAX or ISS for assistance. You DO still need to file previous year forms even if they were not filed by the deadline! Sprintax can assist you with completing the tax returns for the three most recent prior tax years. Please note that this will be at your own expense. Visit the ISS Sprintax
webpage for further details.
Most international students are required to mail their tax forms to the IRS and are not permitted to submit them online. Taxpayers can choose to receive a paper check or direct deposit of their tax refund, if applicable.
All international students who have never filed tax forms in the U.S. should first use SPRINTAX when filing their Federal income tax return. SPRINTAX will let you know if you are a resident or nonresident for tax purposes. If you are a nonresident for tax purposes, you can continue to use SPRINTAX to complete your tax forms. Sprintax will only generate your tax forms – not send them to the IRS electronically. A PDF will be generated and you will have to print the forms, sign them, keep a copy for your records, and mail the original forms to the IRS.
Always make copies of the documents you send to the IRS and save copies of tax returns and receipts. This information is not only important to the IRS but also to you as it may have an impact on your immigration status, under certain instances.
International students who are nonresidents for tax purposes CANNOT
e-file. Please use SPRINTAX to determine your tax residency status - DO NOT ASSUME your tax residency status.
FAILURE TO FILE A TAX RETURN, OR FILING IT INCORRECTLY, MAY RESULT IN SEVERE PENALTIES, INCLUDING FINES AND INTEREST ON UNPAID TAXES. ALSO, NOTE THAT AN INDIVIDUAL’S TAX FILING HISTORY IS TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION DURING THE APPLICATION PROCESS FOR LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENCY (i.e. the green card process).
All IRS forms and publications are available in PDF format online at the IRS website
Social Security / ITIN
No! Form 8843 does not require a taxpayer identification number.
No! Your UIN is assigned by Texas A&M University and is attached to your individual student record. A Social Security Number (SSN) is issued by the Social Security Administration to all eligible individuals, including some F-1/J-1 student and J-2 dependents. Students or dependents who do not work, do not have an SSN, but are required to have a taxpayer identification number for tax filing purposes must obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Visit the ISS ITIN webpage for more information.
Tax Treaties: Tax Credits, Deductions and Exemptions
Only students from Mexico, Canada, South Korea, and India can claim exemptions for their dependents. For specific requirements, refer to IRS Publication 901
US Tax Treaties.
No! Nonresidents cannot claim education tax credits.
ONLY students from India are allowed to claim the standard deduction on non-resident tax forms. More information regarding this benefit can be found in IRS Publication 901
US Tax Treaties. By electing to claim the standard deduction, you CANNOT
claim any itemized deductions.
F-1 and J-1 students who are nonresidents for tax purposes (i.e. have been in the U.S. in this status for 5 years or less) and who have been employed with appropriate work authorization (i.e. on-campus employment, CPT, OPT, Academic Training, Economic Hardship) are exempt from paying Social Security (FICA) and Medicare taxes. However, F-1 and J-1 students in the U.S. in this status for more than five years, J-2 dependents, J-1 scholars and faculty in the U.S. for more than two years, those in other non-immigrant statuses, and those who worked without authorization ARE subject to Social Security (FICA) and Medicare Taxes.
IRS resources that confirm the information described above:
If you had Social Security/Medicare tax improperly withheld, first try contacting the employer who withheld the tax for assistance. You must ask the employer, in writing, to issue a refund. The employer should reply to you, in writing, to confirm whether a refund is possible. If the employer is unwilling or unable to provide a refund, you may utilize Sprintax for assistance in generating the forms you’ll need to send to the IRS to request a refund. Please note that Sprintax will charge a small fee and this will be at your own expense. Visit the ISS Sprintax webpage
for details. You can also email email@example.com
and we will provide instructions for how you can complete the IRS FICA refund request on your own.
No! Once you are considered a resident for tax purposes, you are subject to Social Security/Medicare taxes.
If you have additional tax-related questions, please contact SPINTAX at firstname.lastname@example.org, e-mail ISS at email@example.com, or set up an appointment with an ISS advisor by calling 979-845-1824.
You may also utilize the following additional resources:
The IRS typically conducts all correspondence via regular mail. If you receive a letter from the IRS requesting additional information, you are encouraged to reply. Contact SPRINTAX or ISS if you would like assistance. If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be with the IRS and they are stating you must pay money or they are asking for your personal information (SSN, etc.) – hang up the phone! This is most likely a scam call. Please visit the ISS Receiving Scam Calls
webpage for additional information.
If a mistake is found in a tax return that has already been filed, you will need to file an “amended” return. Contact Sprintax or ISS for assistance.
Texas does not have a state income tax. Be aware, however, that if you earned income while living in another state for part or all of the tax year, and that state does have a state income tax, you may need to file that state’s tax forms. SPRINTAX will assist in determining this requirement and can help you prepare a state tax return for a small fee at your own expense. Visit the ISS Sprintax
webpage for details.
SPRINTAX will determine this for you, you may also visit http://www.taxadmin.org/fta/link/default.php
for more information about State taxes. This website will help you determine whether a specific state does indeed have a state income tax. If it does, it will link you to the appropriate state government agency that handles taxation for that state. Review the website to determine (1) whether you are required to file, (2) how you should file (i.e. were you considered a resident or nonresident of the state?), (3) what form(s) you may need to file, and (4) how you can submit the forms (i.e. by mail, electronically, etc.).
You can also look at your income tax statement, such as Form W-2, to see if State and/or Local income taxes were withheld. If they were, then most likely you will have to file a State and/or a Local income tax return in addition to the Federal income tax return. It is possible that you may have to file up to 3 tax returns: Local, State and Federal. Local taxes are typically paid to the City where you resided. Most areas in the U.S. do not withhold Local income tax in addition to State income tax so just because you have to file a State tax return does not necessarily mean you will have to file a Local tax return.
No! ISS advisors are not certified public accountants or tax professionals. ISS advisors are not permitted to complete tax forms for you. ISS advisors may offer information, resources and limited assistance with tax inquiries.