International Students Taxes – Do F1 Students Need to File Taxes ?

I have answered some frequently asked questions (FAQs) on international student taxes in previous articles. International students with F1 visas who entered the United States on or before December 31 of the last year should file income taxes in the U.S.A. in the following year.

Let’s say you came on Dec 25, 2015. You would file tax before the deadline on April 2016.

Even if you didn’t earn any income in the previous year, you still need to file the taxes. The filing of international student taxes doesn’t take long, and it’s not a complicated process. You can file your taxes using SprinTax. Here’s my SprinTax Reviews.

Universities and colleges commonly conduct seminars or workshops to inform international students on how to file international student taxes (F1 Visa or J1 Visa). Here are some of FAQs on international student taxes for F1 Visa students.

 1. I didn’t earn any money last year, do I have to file taxes?

Yes, even if you didn’t have any income, as an international student in F1 Visa, you must file tax returns (even the simple form 8843).

2. I came to the U.S. on December 31 on F1 Visa, do I have to file taxes?

Yes, even if you had spent only 1 day in the tax year, you still have to file your taxes.

3. What is a Tax Year?

The period from January 1 to December 31 is considered a tax year in the USA.

4. What is the Deadline to File Taxes for the previous year?

Taxes of the last year are due in April of the following year.

5. Do I need an SSN to file taxes?

Yes, you need an SSN or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) to file taxes. If you don’t have SSN, then you need ITIN number.

6. I don’t have an SSN, how to apply for ITIN?

A valid SSN or ITIN is required to file income tax. To obtain an ITIN you must submit Form W-7 and supporting documents. You can submit Form W7 (ITIN application) along with tax papers. SprinTax can help you apply for ITIN Number.

7. What is Resident or Non-Resident Alien for Tax Purpose?

A Resident or Non-Resident Alien is entirely different from a Permanent Resident. Use the Substantial Presence Calculator to find out if you are a resident or non-resident for tax filing purposes.

If you were an international student in the U.S.A. for 5 or more years, you would be considered as a resident alien for income tax purposes.

8. Which Tax Forms must Non-Resident Aliens file?

Here is an unofficial guide for International Students taxes (check irg.gov for additional details)

  • Form 8843 – If you were a non resident alien (international students) without any income in the previous year. No other tax forms are required.
  • Form 1040NR-EZ  – Most international students on F1 and J1 visas who receive W-2 (for salaries) or 1,099 will file their income tax returns using this form.
  • Form 1040NR – If you have complex tax returns to file (claiming dependents, itemizing tax returns, etc.), Form 1040NR should be filed.

You can read more about Tax Forms for International Students in the U.S.A. Check with a CPA or tax specialist for additional details.

9. How to file taxes? 

The filing of taxes (Form 8843, 1040NR, W7) is a very simple process. You can complete all the forms and have to mail them to IRS address.

10. Do I have to pay for filing taxes?

Depends on your comfort level. You can use SprinTax to prepare your tax forms online and mail them. It would cost some dollars. You can prepare and file your forms on your own, provided you know what you are doing.

6 Comments

  1. reeba on April 2, 2017 at 11:03 AM

    hi, I’m an F1 visa holder and I stay in net York. Do I have to file a resident NY return?

  2. Frank on March 7, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    Hello, Im Frank, I arrived here in april 2012 F1 visa. No income, Do I have to file taxes in my own or through my brother ? My brother (US citizen) has paid all the tuition cost, If so what forms should I use? I have No Ittin number yet

  3. DK on February 23, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Hi,
    I am on H1 and my wife on F1. She has been in the US for less than 3 years. How do we file our taxes jointly as we both have different status for tax purpose. I will be considered a resident and she is a non-resident. Thanks in advance.

  4. Krishna on March 18, 2009 at 7:10 AM

    Tr to get in touch with your International Ofiice first they will assist you properly,

  5. vamshi vemula on March 11, 2009 at 1:37 PM

    Hi

    I am vamshi vemula an F 1 student studying at Kansas state university as a graduate student and I arrived in USA on dec 28th 2008 and I got my ssn in january 2009. So could you please help me in filing tax . since the dead line is approaching kindly reply me as soon as possible.

    Thank You.

  6. Kevin Fred on July 22, 2008 at 9:43 AM

    International Students in F1, J1 visas are Non Resident Aliens for Tax purposes, and have to file NR Tax Forms 1040NR-EZ and Form 8843

    You can use the Tax Software below to file your NR Tax Forms – 1040NR-EZ and Form 8843.

    Hope you found the post helpful!

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