All F and J visa students and scholars are responsible for filing a tax return to the Internal Revenue Service (the United States tax collection agency) typically by April 15 each year. Tax years begin on January 1 and end on December 31. Your employer deducts money for taxes which you may be eligible to reclaim by a tax refund. Tax laws in the U.S. are very complex and it is recommended that you meet with an accountant or professional tax advising service before you file your tax return, but you may also file the tax return yourself. We also suggest that you visit the Internal Revenue Website (IRS) for international students and scholars. The Center for Global Engagement can offer resources to help with you filing your taxes, but we are not tax professionals, and cannot give tax advice.
All F and J visa students and scholars (and their dependents) must file Form 8843, even if you have received no income for the current year. This is an informational form that is not a tax return, but is required for non-immigrants to complete. This form must be filed by June 15 for the previous year.
SAMPLE FORM 8843
PREPARING TO FILE YOUR TAX RETURN
Before you begin the filing process for your tax return make sure you have all the necessary information. You will need the following forms:
- Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement: W-2 forms should be mailed to you from your current or previous employers in the past year. This form shows how much you earned last year and how much was taken out for taxes. You will only receive this form if you have been employed.
- I-20 or DS-2019
- Social Security number or Individual Tax Identification number (generally not required if you will file only Form 8843)
- Address information (current U.S. address and foreign address)
- Form I-94
- Academic institution or host sponsor information (name, address, phone)
- A copy of last year's federal income tax return, if filed