Reporting responsibilities for Internationals—with or without US income
For more information go to:
Some clarifications (additional detail):
Note: “IRS” = US Internal Revenue Service
- Every international student or exchange visitor in the US must file IRS form 8843 Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals With a Medical Condition by April 15 of the next year for every calendar year that they are present in the US (to establish non-residency and “significant presence” in the US for US tax purposes.
- Most F-1 and J visa holders are not required to pay taxes until they have accrued approximately 5 years of “significant presence” in the US per IRS form 8848. (See #1 above.)
- Only US sources of income are taxable for non-residents.
- Scholarship awards are NOT taxable if the funds only cover tuition and fees. The portion of a scholarships that is intended to pay housing and other living expenses is taxable.
- Every international living and working for compensation in the US must request a Social Security Card/Number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration. If an international is not working for compensation in the US, but has US income to report, he can apply instead for an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) to file. https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10181.pdf
- Every international living and working for compensation in the US must file IRS form 1040-NR-EZ or 1040-NR (NR = non-resident status for US tax purposes) to report earnings by April 15 of the next year for every calendar year that they worked for compensation in the US.
- Federal Insurance Compensation Act (FICA) (US Social Security taxes) should NOT be withheld by an employer from non-US residents’ income. If a FICA amount is showing on your form W-2 (wages and withholding statement from your employer), you will need to file forms with the IRS to be reimbursed that amount.
- 1098-T tuition statements from a school are NOT relevant for non-US residents. A deduction for US tuition is not permitted under US tax laws for non-residents.