U.S. Taxes

The information on this page 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 advisors are not tax specialists and are not permitted to provide you with tax advice.

Understanding U.S. Taxes

  • The deadline for filing tax returns for 2023 is April 15, 2024. 
  • If you receive income from a job or scholarship in the U.S., taxes will likely be taken out of the check.
  • If you have not worked or received any source of income (including scholarships) while at American University, you still must file a tax return with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Sprintax Tax Webinars

ISSS' partner Sprintax offers a series of tax webinars. 

In this tax webinar, international students, scholars and professionals will be run through everything they need to know about nonresident tax for the 2023 tax season. Topics will include who must file, tax residency, FICA, State returns, implications of misfiling as well as how to use Sprintax to prepare a compliant tax return. 

Frequently Asked Questions about taxes

If you worked or had taxable income from scholarships or other sources, you are also responsible for filing:

  • Federal Tax Forms (completed online through Sprintax for nonresidents)
  • State (or DC) tax forms according to where you lived during that tax year
  1. If you worked at AU, contact AU Human Resources.
  2. If you worked outside of AU, contact your employer.

Forms you may receive:

  • W-2: Statement of earnings. This form will be sent to the home address of the employee in mid-January.
  • 1042-S: Statement showing income received 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. 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.

Whether you file tax forms as a nonresident or resident depends on the time you have been in the U.S. and which visa status you were in. Your nonresident or resident status is determined by the IRS Substantial Presence Test. Students are considered U.S. residents for tax purposes if they meet the substantial presence test for the tax year.

The Sprintax software will calculate the Substantial Presence Test for you to determine your nonresident or resident status. You may calculate this manually using the IRS guide

Students who are considered resident aliens do not qualify to use the Sprintax software. If you earned income you will have to file the same tax forms as a U.S. citizen.

You must complete state or DC taxes separately from federal taxes. Sprintax is only for completing federal taxes.

You are responsible for filing your own state fax forms. Please see the following websites for information regarding DC, Maryland, and Virginia taxes.

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.

Filing from outside the US can pose its own unique set of challenges. But, with some planning, organization, filing your documents can be easier than you think.

Sprintax has this handy guide that you can follow if you are filling your tax documents from outside the U.S.

Sprintax Software

ISSS has purchased Sprintax software to assist AU international students and scholars who qualify as nonresidents for tax purposes. With this software, international students have access to informational videos about U.S. taxes, and advice via email.



Before you begin, please read the Sprintax 2023 Quick Start Guide to familiarize yourself with the process. 

Social Security Information

  • International students may be eligible for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) if not eligible for a Social Security Number. The ITIN is a tax processing number issued by the IRS.

  • F-1 and J-1 students may not be required to pay Social Security or Medicare Taxes.If Social Security or Medicare taxes were withheld in error, contact the employer who withheld the taxes. If the employer cannot refund, file Form 843 with the IRS.