Who must file tax forms?
All international students are expected to complete and file tax forms with the U.S. federal government, whether or not they had earned income during the tax year. In addition, F-2 and J-2 dependents must also file certain tax forms.
Two factors determine which forms you complete for U.S. federal taxes
• Whether you are a resident or non-resident for tax purposes
• Whether you received income in the U.S. in 2016
If you arrived in the US after December 31 2016, you do not have to file any tax forms for 2016.
What tax forms do I have to file?
If you had US source income in 2016:
- Form 1040NR or Form 1040 NR-EZ: see link below to download forms and instructions
- Form 8843: see the Form 8843 section below for more information
Information on whether you need to file California state taxes is available at California Franchise Tax Board
If you have no U.S. source income:
Form 8843: see the Form 8843 section below for more information
Step by step process
1. If you have been physically present in the U.S. for FEWER than 5 calendar years as a student (i.e. you arrived on 1/1/2011 or after), you are
a NON-RESIDENT for tax purposes.
number to submit this form.
3. If you earned money in the United States in 2016 (January 1 through December 31), you also need to file U.S. federal taxes.
4. Mail your Form 8843 and 1040NR-EZ to:
Department of Treasury
Internal Revenue Service Center
Austin, TX 73301-0215
5. If you earned money in California in 2016 (January 1 through December 31), you also need to file California state taxes.
Franchise Tax Board
PO Box 942840
6. The deadline to file all tax forms is April 18, 2017.
Note: There are also free online software programs, as well as programs you can purchase, to help you file your taxes yourself. Those include
as H & R Block or Jackson Hewitt. Woodbury does not endorse any of these programs or companies in particular.