Federal Tax Information

International students are required to complete U.S. income tax forms each year, even if they did not earn income here. Everyone who was physically present in the United States at any time from January 1st and December 31st of the past year must file a tax form in the current year.

Forms You Must Complete
Form Who Submits Deadline
8843 ALL students and dependents (F, J, M, and Q status) must complete this form, whether or not the student earned money in the United States during the past year. April 15th*




Students who earned any income last year must complete one of these forms. Sources of income include:

- Employment on or off-campus for which you received compensation
- Practical Training (CPT or OPT)
- Money from scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships used for housing or meal expenses.

June 15th

* Students currently overseas must submit by June 15th.

Where to Get Tax Forms

- Online: www.irs.gov (official IRS website)
- Request forms by mail: 800-829-3676 (toll-free number)

Additional Tax Resources

Information contained on this page should not be used as the sole source of information for making decisions that may affect one's legal status in the United States. Please note that IEP staff members are NOT trained to give you individual tax advice. If the questions you have cannot be answered by contacting the IRS, you should contact an accountant or a company that specializes in income tax preparation, e.g. H&R Block.

Why Should I File a Tax Return?

Many students choose to ignore U.S. taxes, but this is NOT a good idea. It's possible that requests for visa renewals or change of status (especially to permanent resident) will be denied if you do not file tax forms. If you ever apply for permanent residency (green cards), the Department of Homeland Security may ask you to show proof of tax filing for previous years in the United States. It is strongly recommended that you complete all the required forms!

Information and Instructions to Help You With Your Tax Return

The booklet "Publication 519: U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens" can answer many of your questions. It contains information about residency status and how to prepare your tax return papers.

Glossary of Terms

Tax return: This is the paperwork that must be completed. It may be just one form or several forms depending on your financial situation. Even though it is called a Federal Income Tax Return, not everyone who files a "return" is going to get a refund. Many of you will find out that everything will balance out to "0", and some of you may find out that you owe more taxes to the Federal Government.

Filing: The process of completing the paperwork and sending it to the IRS.

SSN vs. ITIN: You will need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or a valid Social Security Number (SSN) for the tax forms. If you are not eligible for a SSN, you should apply for an ITIN using Form W-7. (The form and instructions can be downloaded from the IRS web site.) It may take 6-8 weeks for the IRS to process your request, so apply as soon as possible!

W2 / "Wage and Tax Statement": If you worked in the U.S. during the year, your employer will send you this information form; it tells how much money you earned last year. It will include several copies of the same information. One copy should be mailed to the IRS with your tax forms; keep the others for your records. If you did not receive this form, contact your employer.

Form 1098-T: IRS Form 1098-T, "Tuition Payments Statement", were mailed from SCCC so that the taxpayers can claim certain credits, if applicable, on their tax returns. However, non-resident aliens are not eligible for these credits. If you are an F-1 student, you do not need a 1098T and should not worry about this form; you can keep it for your personal records or disregard it.

1099INT: Your bank will send you this form if you earned interest on checking or savings accounts. This income is not taxable.

1099DIV: This form reports interest earned on U.S. investments (stocks, bonds, dividends, etc.). This is taxable income.

1042S: Scholarship information. You may not receive this form, depending on your situation.

Other Notes

- You will need your passport, Visa, I-94 card, and I-20 or IAP-66 in order to complete the tax forms. It will also help to have the dates you entered and left the U.S. during the year.

- Always make copies of your tax return documents before you mail them to the IRS. Keep copies of other forms also (W-2, 1042-S, 1099 bank interest statements, etc.).

- If you go back to your country, you should still complete the proper forms and mail them from your home country. You can download the forms and instructions from the IRS web site.

- It's a good idea to start looking at the paperwork early. Then if you have questions you will be able to talk to someone before the deadlines.