All SAU international students are required to complete a tax return if they were present in the U.S. during the tax year (January 1 – December 31), whether or not you earned income. It is the student’s responsibility to fulfill their tax obligations.
If you need help beyond this webpage, we encourage you to seek advice from the Internal Revenue Service or a qualified tax professional. ISS staff members are not certified public accountants and cannot offer any tax advice.
To file your Federal tax return, the first step is to determine your residency status, which can be different from your immigration status. Students in F status are exempt from the “substantial presence” test for five calendar years, and are considered a non-resident alien for tax purposes. Beyond five years, they are likely to be considered a resident alien who can complete tax forms like a U.S. citizen. If a student has been in the U.S. on an F visa for longer than 5 years, they need to take the “substantial presence” test to determine their residency status.
Taxable versus nontaxable income
The United States does not tax foreign-source income (i.e., scholarship you received from your home government) received by non-resident aliens. Other examples of non-taxable income for non-resident aliens are:
- Interest from a U.S. bank or credit union;
- A scholarship or fellowship that pays your tuition or fees required for your enrollment (a scholarship or fellowship that pays your room and board fees or travel expenses are taxable)
How to file your taxes
If you did not earn any income or had only non-taxable income from a U.S. source (e.g., a scholarship for tuition, interest from a bank account), you only need to send the completed Form 8843 Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition
If you earned income from a U.S. source (i.e., working on campus, internship, etc) in during the tax year, you need to send the completed Form 8843 and Form 1040 NR-EZ, or Form 8843 and Form 1040 NR.
Helpful video by Sprintax: Non-Resident Tax Forms
Sprintax- Tax filing solution
Sprintax is a third party provider that specializes in foreign nationals’ U.S. tax matters. This service does most of the work when filing taxes and greatly simplifies the process by completing the required tax forms with the information you enter into their system.
SAU has no liability for your use of this service and cannot provide you with tax advice. If you prefer, use a firm or tax preparer of your own choice. For such advice, contact the IRS or a professional tax preparer.