International students should determine whether they are residents or nonresidents. Please see below for more information. International students who are nonresidents can use the online computer program GLACIER, offering a step-by-step guide to filing federal income tax returns. Every nonresident should receive a GLACIER login and password via campus mail from the Office for International Students and Scholars.
Before filing your federal taxes, consider whether you qualify as a nonresident and will need to use the nonresident tax forms. This will be the most time-consuming issue concerning filing your federal income tax. Many students on F-1 visas may file as residents if they have lived in the United States for five years or more. For others on J or H visas, this becomes a bit tricky. Depending on which type of J or H visa you hold, you may file as a resident if you have lived in the United States for at least two or three years. If you are unsure, consult the International Office or your home country’s tax treaty with the United States. Copies of tax treaty booklets may be obtained from the IRS, the DBBS office, the Office for International Students and Scholars on the Danforth Campus, or the Human Resources reception area at 4480 Clayton at the medical center.
Individuals with dual status may file as residents depending on when during the tax year their status changes. If you file as a resident, tax treaty benefits will no longer apply.
One other tip for nonresidents: Interest income from savings accounts may not be taxable, depending on your status. Residents typically have to count interest income as taxable. The Payroll Office sends out a packet at the end of each calendar year containing summaries of your status and benefits for the next year. Some of these documents require immediate action (forms that need to be reviewed, signed, and returned to the Payroll Office, usually by the end of the first week in January).
FORMS FOR NONRESIDENTS:
- Form 1040-ES (NR) U.S. Estimated Tax for Nonresident Alien Individuals contains estimated tax forms, instructions and vouchers for nonresidents.
- Form 1040-NR U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return contains 1040-NR instructions.
- Form 1040-NR-EZ U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Nonresident Aliens with No Dependents is a shorter form than the 1040-NR, but it doesn’t contain the lines for the deductions and credits discussed above.
- Publication 901 U.S. Tax Treaties. Your tax rate may be determined by a tax treaty if you are not a U.S. resident.
- Publication 519 U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens is absolutely essential if you are not a U.S. citizen.
- Publication 514 Foreign Tax Credit for Individuals. Discusses the credit or itemized deductions that are available if you paid or accrued foreign taxes to a foreign country.