Tax Information for International Students
What is "filing a tax return"?
If you earned any scholarship or employment income during 2015, taxes may have been taken out of the amount of money you earned before you received it. If too much was taken out, you may be eligible to receive money back from the government. If not enough was taken out, you may owe the U.S. government money. To determine if you owe money, you should complete a "tax return" form, which calculates how much taxes you paid and compares that to how much you should have paid.
Do I have to file taxes?
Generally, students in F-1 status who earned US wages of $3,900 or less are not required to file a tax return. All international students should submit the Form 8843, which identifies you as a non-resident and prevents any of your income from abroad being taxed.
If you worked for money during the year 2015 and want the tax money that was deducted from your paychecks returned to you, you will need to file a tax return. Also, if you are considering applying for permanent-residency in the U.S. in the future, it would be in your favor to file your taxes appropriately and keep organized records of your filed tax returns.
If your circumstances are unusual in any way, we recommend that you seek professional tax advice regarding your specific situation.
When should I file a tax return?
The deadline to file a tax return is April 18, 2016.
How do I file taxes?
US Federal Taxes: Federal tax-collecting agency: Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
As an international student you must fill out and mail in the following two forms to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service).
Form 1040NR-EZ or 1040NR
Form 8843 (even if you have not earned any income, you should still complete and submit this form to the IRS)
Oregon tax-collecting agency: Oregon Department of Revenue (DOR)
The International Student Services Office cannot provide legal advice concerning your taxes, but we can offer suggestions about where to get help. YAll of the resources below provide free tax advice, except the last one.
IRS-Federal Tax Questions: 1-800-829-1040.
IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help for taxpayers who qualify. Not all VITA volunteers are trained to assist with Nonresident alien taxes, so be sure to identify yourself as an international student. Search for VITA programs near you: http://irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/
NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, has put together a Federal Income Tax Brochure for international students and international advisors.
Brief description of tax-related forms you should be familiar with.
W-2 – Your employer will send you this form by the end of January. It shows how much you’ve earned in the previous year and how much was withheld in taxes.
1099-INT – Your bank will send you this form showing how much interest income you earned. Non-residents are not taxed on this interest, however you may be asked to include this form with your tax return.
1042-S – If you receive scholarships, the giving organization will send you this form. Only scholarship money used for room and board is taxable. Scholarship money used for tuition, fees, and books is not taxable.
1040NR or 1040NR-EZ – You will use one of these forms to file a federal tax return. The simplified form (1040NR-EZ) is sufficient for most students.
OR-40N – You will use this form to file a state tax return.
8843 – This form MUST be filed by ALL international students, with or without income. It identifies you as a non-resident and prevents any of your income from abroad from being taxed.