The information below is to help you properly complete taxes. Before getting into the details, though, there are 5 very important notes:
OPTION 1: If you were not employed and/or did not earn any income ($0):
Complete Form 8843
OPTION 2: If you were employed and/or did earn income:
OPTION 3: If you have already left Coe and still need to complete taxes
It is better to complete taxes late than to never complete them, especially - and this is very important - if you are considering returning to the U.S. to live, pursue further education, and/or work.
In most cases, this option applies to exchange students who finished their program at Coe in the month of December; however, any student no longer at Coe can use this option.
If you were not employed and/or did not earn any income ($0), then you should complete Form 8843. Please note the documents above that you will need to complete this form.
If you were employed and/or did earn income, then you will need to contact the DIA, request Glacier Tax Prep (GTP) access code, and complete taxes online (Coe provides this tax service for you to use for free: https://www.glaciertax.com/). Please note the documents above that you will need to complete this form.
For basic questions about Form 8843 or about Coe College employment policies, please consult Peter Gerlach (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you have more complicated questions about the U.S. tax system and its requirements and are no longer in the U.S. and/or unable to seek professional tax counseling, then the following Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website is a good resource: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/foreign-students-and-scholars.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the U.S. government agency that collects taxes. As a nonresident F-1, you may need to file forms each year with the IRS, even if you earned no income. It is your individual responsibility to understand and meet your tax obligations. Generally, tax returns are due every April 15th based on earnings from the previous year, though there are exceptions to this deadline.
While employers do withhold money from your paycheck throughout the year and send it to the IRS, it may not equal the exact amount owed at the end of the year. If too much was withheld, you may be eligible for a refund. Or, perhaps not enough was withheld, and you will owe more. Salary from a job is not the only kind of earning taxed; many types of income are taxable. Even if you did not work and do not owe any taxes, you may need to submit an informational form to the IRS.
U.S. tax laws can be complex and confusing – we all get headaches during tax season – and the laws that apply to internationals are not the same as those that apply to U.S. citizens. These resources should help you to better understand your tax obligation, to learn what and where to research, and to successfully submit your tax forms. This page is meant to be a general introduction. The DIA is not a tax professional, so this cannot be considered legal tax advice. You are advised to review the information from the IRS specifically addressed to international students and scholars.
Resident or Nonresident for Tax Purposes
In legal terms, noncitizens of the U.S. are called “aliens.” There are three types of aliens for tax purposes: (1) nonresident; (2) dual-status; and (3) resident. These categories are for tax purposes only and are not related to your immigration status. You may be in F-1 or J-1 nonimmigrant status and be considered a resident for tax purposes.
Nonresident aliens generally meet the substantial presence test if they have spent more than 183 days in the U.S. within the last three years. Having substantial presence in the U.S. generally means you will be considered a resident alien for tax purposes.
Any person who is temporarily exempt from the substantial presence test. Time spent in this category does not count toward the 183 days in the U.S. that normally will convert a nonresident alien into resident alien for tax purposes. F-1 students maintaining status are exempt from the substantial presence test for 5 years.
Even if you pass the substantial presence test, you might still be considered a nonresident for tax purposes if you qualify for the The Closer Connection Exception to the Substantial Presence Test for Foreign Students.
The U.S. has income tax treaties with many different countries. Residents of these countries may be taxed at a reduced rate or be exempt from U.S. income tax withholding on specific kinds of U.S.-source income. Treaties vary among countries. If the treaty does not cover a particular kind of income, or if there is no treaty between your country and the U.S., you must pay tax on the income in the same way and at the same rates shown in the instructions for Form 1040NR. Glacier Tax Prep (GTP) will tell you if you may claim tax treaty benefits.
Some kinds of income are taxed while others are not. For students and scholars who are considered nonresidents for tax purposes, interest income is not taxed if it comes from a U.S. bank, a U.S. savings and loan institution, a U.S. credit union, or a U.S. insurance company. Generally, income from foreign sources is not taxed. Wages that appear on form W-2 are taxable. Scholarship or fellowship income that requires services (i.e. teaching assistant) will be treated as wages (like employment). Scholarships, fellowships, and grants may be partially taxed. For degree-seeking students, portions used for tuition, fees, books, supplies, and required equipment are not taxed; portions used for other expenses, like room, board, and travel, are taxable.
Social Security and Medicare
Nonresident students and scholars on F-1 and J-1 visas, who are also considered nonresidents for tax purposes, should not have Social Security or Medicare taxes withheld from pay. If these taxes have been withheld, contact your employer for reimbursement. If you cannot get a refund from your employer, use Form 843 Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement to request a refund from the IRS.
Resident for Tax Purposes
If you have determined, based on the substantial presence test or marriage to a U.S. citizen or resident alien, that you are considered a resident for tax purposes, then you will generally have the same federal income tax requirements as a U.S. citizen. Please note that in this context, the term “resident” applies only to your tax requirements and is not related to your immigration status. See Publication 17: Your Federal Income Tax Guide.
Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
If you are filing a tax return and are not eligible to apply for a Social Security number, you may obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). A Social Security number (SSN) or ITIN is necessary only if you are filing a tax return. If you earned no U.S.-source income and are only submitting form 8843, you do not need to apply for the SSN or ITIN.
Please be careful of fraudulent scams and internet "phishing" that use the IRS name or other tax-related references to gain access to your personal information in order to commit identity theft.
Some Past Examples
These are just two examples of many possible types of scams. Do not respond to such emails or contacts. The IRS does not send unsolicited emails or request personal information by email. It also does not request PIN numbers, passwords, or similar secret access information to individuals' credit cards, banks or other financial accounts. You can learn more about scams on the IRS website and report phishing scams to the IRS.