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International Students Resource Center

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International Tax Information

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Tax Information

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 2017

If you arrived in the US after December 31 2017, you do not have to file any tax forms for 2017.

 

What tax forms do I have to file?

If you had US source income in 2017:

  • 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 1/1/2012 or after), you are
       a NON-RESIDENT for tax purposes. 
 
2.    Every non-resident MUST file Form 8843 (available at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8843.pdf).  You do not need to have a social security 
       number to submit this form.
 
3.   If you earned money in the United States in 2017 (January 1 through December 31), you also need to file U.S. federal taxes.  
       That means you need to fill out Form 1040NR-EZ (available at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040nre.pdf). 
 
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 2017 (January 1 through December 31), you also need to file California state taxes.  
       That means you need to fill out Form 540NR (available at https://www.ftb.ca.gov/forms/2012/12_540nrshort.pdf).  Mail this form to:

 Franchise Tax Board
 PO Box 942840
 Sacramento 94240-0002
 
6.    The deadline to file all tax forms is April 18, 2018. 
 
Note:  There are also free online software programs, as well as programs you can purchase, to help you file your taxes yourself.  Those include 
TurboTax, TaxACTSprintax , and H & R Block at Home .  Additionally, if you want to pay someone to assist you, you can contact companies such
as H & R Block or Jackson Hewitt.  Woodbury does not endorse any of these programs or companies in particular. 

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