All students and scholars and their dependents who have been present in the United States within the past calendar year are required by law to file taxes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). However, even if you are required to file taxes, this does not mean that you will have to pay the U.S. government unless you have earned an income from working. Even if you have worked in the U.S., you may not have to pay due to exemptions or tax treaties.
The tax filing deadline each year always falls on or around April 15th.
OISSS is not able to assist you in filing your taxes as tax law in the United States is complicated; it’s always best to consult with a non-resident alien tax filing expert.
Filing taxes with no income
Even if you have not worked in the U.S. within the past calendar year, you are still required to file a Form 8843. You can complete this form by yourself, or use one of the many online guides for assistance.
The deadline for mailing in your Form 8843 always falls on or around June 15th.
Filing taxes with income
If you have earned income from within the U.S., you will need to file your taxes either as a non-resident alien or as a resident alien (depending on certain conditions and how long you’ve been in the U.S.). The information below is for students who are filing as non-resident aliens.
You can file your taxes by:
- Using Sprintax: this is a web-based tax prep software that is specifically designed for international students and non-resident alien tax filing. This is a paid service.
- Using a CPA service: CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant and they are experts in filing taxes. This is a paid service and it is important to note that not every CPA is able to handle non-resident alien taxes. Always check before using this option.
- Using a VITA service: VITA stands for Voluntary Income Tax Assistance and they are volunteers certified by the government to provide tax filing help. This is a free service and it is important to note that not every VITA location is able to handle non-resident alien taxes. Always check before using this option.
- Doing it yourself: all forms are available online from the IRS and while it is possible to complete forms by yourself, it is not recommended. Some guides are available to help, but it is best to consult with an expert when filing income taxes.
- Even if you did not earn any income, you are still required to file a tax form to the IRS each year you are in the U.S.
- International students and scholars cannot use U.S. citizen tax prep software (e.g. Turbo Tax, HR Block, etc.) as they are not able to handle non-resident filings.
- It is always best to file your taxes early, but you are required to file before the deadline.
- Certain countries have income tax treaties with the U.S. and individuals from those countries may be eligible for federal income tax exemptions or reduced federal income taxes. If you want to claim a tax treaty benefit, you may have to complete additional tax forms; consult with a tax expert that understands international tax treaties.
- Federal taxes differ from state taxes; you will need to check the tax filing laws for non-resident aliens in the state you are residing.
- If you have lost or need your W-2, you will need to contact the HR department of the company you work for.
- If you have lost or need your W-2 from Bradley University, you will need to contact Student Payroll.
- If you have questions about the 1098-T, please see the Financial Services page.
- If the IRS needs additional information, they will contact you by mail only. A common scam is phone calls/emails/texts from someone saying they are from the IRS and need you to pay or you will be arrested/deported. Always report any suspected IRS scams to OISSS.