Student Life: International Students


US Tax Information

General Rules

In many countries, the government assesses and collects taxes that are owed. In the US, however, it is each individual’s own responsibility to meet his or her tax obligations.

Before you meet your tax obligation in the US, you must first determine your tax status. Your tax status will differ from your immigration status. US immigration laws speak of immigrants, nonimmigrants (also called nonresident aliens), and illegal aliens, whereas US tax laws speak of resident aliens and nonresident aliens. International students could be considered resident aliens for tax purposes depending on how many years they have been present in the US, usually 5 years or more. The basic facts to remember about taxation of aliens are that resident aliens are taxed like US citizens while nonresident aliens are taxed differently.

In general, nonresident aliens are also required to file an annual tax return if they earned any US income during the tax year. If you work in the United States and earn a salary or wages or receive a scholarship from US sources, you will probably have to pay US federal income taxes. Taxes are due on April 15th for the previous tax/calendar year. If April 15th falls on a Sunday, the deadline is midnight April 16th.

If you determine that you need to file a tax return, you must complete form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ. Form 8843 has to be completed and mailed with the return for non-resident aliens who have been present for less than five years. The 1040NR-EZ is not suitable for students wanting to claim dependents (Canadians, Indians, Japanese, Mexicans, Koreans) or students who have investment income.

If you have no US source income, only form 8843 must be filed to document your status as a nonresident alien.

Filing Your Taxes

To fill out Form 8843 and 1040NR-EZ, you need:

  • Instructions
  • 1042-S (if you received a SIT scholarship in 2002)
  • W-2 for your work-study or other employment
  • Your passport and Social Security Number
  • Make copies of all documents for yourself

Send on or before April 15th to:

Internal Revenue Service Center
Philadelphia, PA 19255

For more information:
Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Brattleboro:
Hours: 8:30am - 4:30pm, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays

Note for participants who come to the US on an F-1 or J-1 visa: SIT is authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant students.

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