Tax Information for International Students
2012 TAXES ARE DUE APRIL 15, 2013
The information below is intended to provide general information on federal and state income taxes for international students. This resource guide does not constitute legal advice or an endorsement of tax professionals. ISSS advisers are not tax specialists and are unable to provide you with tax advice. We recommend that students check all information with IRS resources or a professional Certified Public Account (CPA).
Taxes are complicated even for U.S. citizens because tax laws change yearly. If you have questions about your taxes please seek professional assistance from an accountant or CPA.
• Glacier Tax Prep International Tax
• Who needs to file taxes?
• Tax documents
• What if you did not receive your tax documents?
• Filing deadline
• Who needs to file what
• Nonresidents for tax purposes
• Resident for tax purposes
• State and DC taxes
• If you are currently outside the U.S.
• IRS Tax Guide for Aliens
• Free tax services
• Social Security and ITIN
• Social Security and Medicare Tax
• Refunding Your Social Security/Medicare Taxes
• Amending a prior year’s return
• Tax treaty benefits
Glacier Tax Prep International Tax
ISSS is pleased to announce that American University has purchased a license with Glacier Tax Prep to allow international students, scholars and alums who are non-residents for tax purposes (see the Substantial Presence Test below, under "Who Needs to File What" to determine whether you were a non-resident for tax purposes in 2012) to file your FEDERAL TAXES on-line via your International Student/Scholar Profile in myau.american.edu. Once logged into your profile click on the link for Glacier Tax Prep Complete International Tax Preparation Software.
Alumni: please contact Chemayn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202 885-3355 for access to the tax software.
Please have the following documents before completing Glacier Tax Prep:
* Visa/Immigration Status;
* Form DS-2019, if J status individual;
* Form I-20, if F status individual;
* Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number;
* U.S. Entry and Exit Dates for current and past visits to the U.S.;
* Academic Institution or Host Sponsor Information (name/address/phone for Academic Director);
* Forms W-2, 1042-S and/or 1099 (if any);
* Scholarship/fellowship grant letter you may have received (if any); and
* A copy of your 2011 federal income tax return (Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ), if you filed a federal income tax return last year.
Please note that you will need to complete a separate state or District tax return manually, in addition to the federal form completed through Glacier Tax Prep
Please contact Chemayn Gray in ISSS at 202-885-3355 or email@example.com if you have questions about this process.
Who needs to file taxes?
Anyone in F-1 , J-1, F-2*, or J-2* status, even if they did not work or have taxable scholarships or other income in the U.S. during 2012:
Use the free Glacier Tax Prep program under your International Student/Scholar Profile in myau.american.edu to file form 8843.
* Dependents who do not have access to Glacier Tax Prep through myau.american.edu should fill out the 8843 form manually.
If you worked or had taxable income from scholarships or other sources, you are responsible for filing:
1) Federal Tax Forms (completed online through Glacier Tax Prep for nonresidents)
2) Form 8843 (completed online through Glacier Tax Prep for nonresidents)
3) State (or DC) tax forms according to where you lived in 2012
Tax Forms from: Employers, Scholarships, Banks, or Investments
W-2: All employees who have taxable income from employment in the United States will receive a Form W-2, which is a statement of earnings. The Form W-2 is essential for filing a tax return. This form will be sent to the home address of the employee in mid-January.
1042-S: All nonresident aliens who received income as Graduate Financial Aid Stipends, Taxable Room and Board, Prizes and Awards for achievements, Consultant fees, Honorarium payments, wages exempt from taxes due to Tax Treaty Benefits with their home countries and Per Diem expenses will receive a Form 1042-S, which is a statement of that type of income received during the year. This form will be sent to the home address of the employee in mid-February.
1098-T: This is information relating to the Hope and Lifetime Learning credits. Generally, Forms 1098-T are not applicable to students who are nonresidents for tax purposes.
1099R: Students who had income withheld as part of the Public Employment Retirement System (PERS). Such a withholding happens when students work and are not enrolled (typically over the summer).
1099INT: From a bank for interest earned on checking/savings accounts. This is not reportable income for nonresident aliens.
1099DIV: Interest earned on investments. This is reportable income.
1099G: State income tax return received from the previous tax year. It is reportable income if it was used to lower a federal income earned from the previous tax year.
1099MISC: Income earned from various sources other than as an employee.
What if you did not receive your tax documents?
Contact your employer immediately to get one. If you worked on campus and did not receive your tax forms in the mail, please go on line and print another W-2:
Go to: myau.american.edu
Click: HR/Payroll Connection
Under "My Current Documents"
click: 2012 W-2
Print your W-2 Form
Should you have any questions on W-2 and 1042-S forms from American University, please contact in AU Payroll:
Simona Assenova 202-885-3506 firstname.lastname@example.org
Tarek Mahfouz 202-885-6171 email@example.com
Deadline: April 15, 2013
Who Needs to File What?
What tax forms you file depend upon whether you had been in the U.S. for 5 calendar years in 2012 (or 2 years for J-1 scholars) according to the IRS Substantial Presence Test. Students are considered U.S. residents for tax purposes if they meet the substantial presence test for 2011. This means that you were physically present in the United States for at least:
1) 31 days during 2012, and
2) 183 days during the period 2012, 2011, and 2010, counting all the days of physical presence in 2012 but only 1/3 the number of days of presence in 2011 and only 1/6 the number of days in 2010.
As long as you have the dates of entry and exit to the US during these years, this will be calculated for you by the free Glacier Tax Prep program.
Nonresidents for tax purposes
Nonresidents for tax purposes include F-1 & J-1 students who were in the US less than 5 years and J-1 scholars/researchers who were in the US less than 2 years.
Nonresident F, J, and M visa holders who earned any US source income during the tax year must file tax returns on Form 1040NR, or Form 1040NR-EZ, and Form 8843.
• Step one: complete form 8843 in Glacier Tax Prep free tax software
• Step two: if US source of income was earned, complete appropriate form below in Glacier Tax Prep free tax software:
- 1040NR-EZ or
To find out which form you should file, please see Instructions on who should file 1040NR, and who should file 1040NR-EZ
• Step 3: Complete the appropriate state tax forms
Residents for tax purposes
Residents for tax purposes include F-1 & J-1 students who have been in the US for more than 5 years and J-1 scholars/researchers in the US more than 2 years.
Students in F-1 and J-1 non-immigrant status who had been in the U.S. for 5 calendar years in 2012 according to the IRS Substantial Presence Test are considered resident aliens for tax purposes, are liable for Social Security/Medicare taxes, and do not qualify to use Glacier Tax Prep software. If you earned income you will have to file the same tax forms as a U.S. citizen.
• Step one: complete the appropriate form below:
-Form 1040EZ (1040EZ Instructions) or
-Form 1040 (1040 Instructions)
• Step two: complete the appropriate state or DC tax forms
If you prefer to use a paid online tax return program, you can use the Tax Back International link under your myau.american.edu International Student/Scholar Profile, or you can use the US government's IRS website to identify free tax filing software for residents.
State and DC taxes
You must complete state or DC taxes separately from the federal taxes. Forms and instructions are found here.
If you are currently outside the U.S.
If you are currently outside the U.S. and cannot receive or cash a check in U.S. dollars, you can pay to use the online tax return program Tax Back International. This program applies to both residents and nonresidents for tax purposes.
IRS Tax Guide for Aliens
Publication 519 U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens
If you have any questions please refer to the IRS Publication 519 for your answers - ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW about international tax issues is in here.
Free Tax Services
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA)
The VITA Program offers free tax help to low- to moderate-income (generally, $39,000 and below) people who cannot prepare their own tax returns. Certified volunteers sponsored by various organizations receive training to help prepare basic tax returns in communities across the country. VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls, and other convenient locations. Most locations also offer free electronic filing. To locate the nearest VITA site, call 1-800-829-1040. Please note that VITA volunteers may not have special training in nonresident tax issues.
IRS Taxpayer Assistance
The IRS offers Taxpayer Assistance Centers to assist you with completing your tax forms in person and through free on-line e-filing.
Chapter 3 Publication 519
If you are a candidate for a degree, you may be able to exclude from your income part or all of the amounts you receive as a qualified scholarship. The rules discussed here apply to both resident and nonresident aliens.
Social Security an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
Chapter 5 Publication 519
A taxpayer identification number must be furnished on returns, statements, and other tax-related documents. For an individual, this is a social security number (SSN). If you do not have and are not eligible to get an SSN, you must apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). This must be done before you file your return.
Social Security and Medicare Tax
Chapter 8 Publication 519
Lawfully employed NONRESIDENT F-1, J-1, M-1, and Q are not subject to social security withholding or reporting requirements until their 6th year in the U.S.
If an F, J, or M is a RESIDENT ALIEN for tax purposes, their wages are subject to social security (FICA) and unemployment (FUTA) as U.S. citizens. J-2 and H visa holders, whether RESIDENT or NONRESIDENT, must pay social security tax.
Refunding your Social Security/Medicare Taxes
Chapter 8 Publication 519
If social security or Medicare taxes were withheld in error from pay that is not subject to these taxes, contact the employer who withheld the taxes for a refund. If you are unable to get a full refund of the amount from your employer, file a claim for refund with the Internal Revenue Service on Form 843, Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement (843 Instructions), with the required attachments.
Amending a Prior Year's Return
Chapter 7 Publication 519
If you find changes in your income, deductions, or credits after you mail your return, file Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (1040X Instructions). Also use Form 1040X if you should have filed Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ instead of Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ, or vice versa. If you amend Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ or file the correct return, attach the corrected return (Form 1040, Form 1040NR, etc.) to Form 1040X. Print “Amended” across the top. Ordinarily, an amended return claiming a refund must be filed within 3 years from the date your return was filed or within 2 years from the time the tax was paid, whichever is later. A return filed before the final due date is considered to have been filed on the due date.
Tax Treaty Benefits
Chapter 9 Publication 519 and Publication 901
IRS Publication 901 (U.S. Tax Treaties) will tell you whether a tax treaty between the United States and a particular country offers a reduced rate of, or possibly a complete exemption from, U.S. income tax for residents of that particular country. A nonresident alien (and certain resident aliens) from a country with which the United States has an income tax treaty may qualify for certain benefits.