Taxes & Filing

Disclaimer: ISS advisors are NOT experts in taxes and thus, cannot advise or assist you in filing your returns. The information below does not constitute tax advice and is intended as a helpful resource. Any questions or concerns should be directed to Sprintax, a certified tax preparer, or the IRS (Internal Revenue Service).

The information on this page is for the 2023 tax year. In the US, we file taxes for the previous calendar year. So in 2024, we are filing for January 1 - December 31 of 2023.

Remember, the filing deadline for resident and nonresident this year is Monday, April 15, 2024!

Sprintax Webinar Schedule 2023/2024

Sprintax Nonresident Tax Webinar

Topics covered in these FREE webinars 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.

Sprintax Nonresident Tax Overview for OPT/CPT

Topics covered in these FREE webinars include residency for tax purposes, tax liablities when on OPT/CPT, and pre-employment tax forms when on OPT/CPT. The Sprintax team will also provide an overview of Sprintax Forms which can be used to prepare your pre OPT/CPT employment tax documents.

Overview: Taxes & the IRS

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the U.S. government agency that collects taxes. As a nonresident F-1 or J-1 student, you may need to file forms each year with the IRS, even if you earned no income. It is your individual responsibility to understand and meet your tax obligations.

While employers do withhold money from your paycheck throughout the year and send it to the IRS, it may not equal the exact amount owed at the end of the year. If too much was withheld, you may be eligible for a refund. The only way to get this money returned to you is to file an income tax return. Otherwise, the Federal government will keep your refund. Or, perhaps not enough was withheld, and you will owe more. In this case, you will need to pay the additional amount.

They will not send you a reminder.

Salary from a job is not the only kind of earning taxed; many types of income are taxable, such as scholarships, fellowships, and child care. That is why it is important to file your taxes annually. Even if you did not work and do not owe any taxes, you may need to submit an informational form to the IRS. 

U.S. tax laws can be complex and confusing and the laws that apply to international students are not the same as those that apply to U.S. citizens. These resources should help you to better understand your tax obligation, to learn what and where to research, and to successfully submit your tax forms. This page is meant to be a general introduction. We in ISS are not tax professionals, so this cannot be considered legal tax advice. You are advised to review the information from the IRS specifically addressed to foreign students and scholars.

By law, every individual in F-1, F-2, J-1 and J-2 status must file certain tax forms, even if they have not worked in the U.S. All international students, scholars and their dependents (F-1, F-2, J-1 and J-2 who have been in the United States the previous calendar year) who are nonresidents for tax purposes MUST file tax Form 8843 regardless of whether they worked or not (see more details below).

For more information, visit the Foreign Student/Foreign Scholar Filing Requirements for U.S. Federal Income Tax Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ page.

Tax Filing Programs

Our office recommends Sprintax (you can use any means to file). It is the nonresident partner of Turbo Tax specifically made for international students and scholars.

Sprintax also has a YouTube channel where there are a number of educational videos on nonresident taxes to provide further clarity on the subject of using Sprintax and nonresident Taxes.

Determining Tax Status

Students holding an F-1 or J-1 visa are exempt from FICA for the first five (5) calendar years they are in the U.S. Once they become a resident alien under the Substantial Presence Test they are eligible for FICA tax on January 1 of the calendar year they become a resident alien (for tax purposes).

Please review Example 1 of the IRS' Tax Residency Status Examples.

Which Form to Use

Your individual situation determines which form(s) to file. Forms come with instructions. 

  • If you received no U.S. source income in 2023 and you are a nonresident alien for tax purposes, you must file Form 8843 by June 15, 2024.
  • If you received wages or taxable scholarships from U.S. sources and you are a nonresident alien for tax purposes, you must file Form 8843 AND 1040NR by April 15, 2024.

If you are considered a resident for tax purposes (see "Substantial Presence Test" above), you will be taxed like a U.S. citizen and will file a 1040EZ or 1040 instead of the 1040NR.

Filing Your Federal Income Tax 

If you were employed anytime during last year, you should have received a W-2 form from your employer. You will use the information on this form to file the IRS Form 1040NR. For assistance filing, please see the information stated below about the Foreign National Tax Resource. You may find these forms and more at the Internal Revenue Service Website.

What is a tax treaty country?

The U.S. has income tax treaties with a number of foreign countries. Under these treaties, residents (not necessarily citizens) of foreign countries are taxed at a reduced rate, or are exempt from U.S. income taxes on certain items of income they receive from sources within the U.S. (an example of this are Athletic Scholarships for Room & Board). These reduced rates and exemptions vary among countries and specific items of income. To see if your country has a tax treaty with the United States that may exempt you from paying taxes, visit the IRS Tax Treaties Page.To determine if your country has a tax treaty with the United States, view the Tax Treaty Table (PDF).

If you need to claim Tax Treaty benefits, you MUST have a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) 

If you did NOT work at all, file Form 8843

If you did not earn any income, you should still file Form 8843 before July 15.The instructions for completing Form 8843 can be found on page 3 and 4 of IRS Form 8843 . The information below is a simplified version of the instructions provided by IRS (Internal Revenue Service).

Who Should Complete ONLY Form 8843?

If you are a nonresident tax filer, and have NO U.S. source income in 2023 (and thereby an exempt individual) you should complete the IRS Form 8843 to fulfill your federal tax filing obligation. Form 8843 is not a U.S. income tax return. It is an informational statement required by the IRS for nonresidents for tax purposes. Every individual, including spouses, partners, and children should fill one out. 

In Part III: Students 
Line 9: Write Jacksonville University, Jacksonville, FL 32211 - (904) 256-7067 
Line 10: Write Kimberly Marsh, International Student Services, JU, Jacksonville, FL 32211 - (904) 256-7067 
Line 11: Write your visa status only for the years you were present in the U.S. Otherwise leave blank. 

Before You File: Documents to Save

  • Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement: W-2 forms are mailed to current and former employees. This form shows how much you earned last year and how much was taken out for taxes. You will only receive this form if you have been employed. Many employers allow you to print your W-2 online.
  • Form 1042-S: The 1042-S form will only be given to nonresident alien students who have received scholarship or fellowship money that exceeds tuition and related fee charges. You will not receive a copy of the 1042-S form if you only have a tuition waiver on your account and do not receive any checks. If you expect to receive a 1042-S form, wait until it is issued before filing your tax return.
  • Form 1099 (if applicable): The 1099 form documents miscellaneous income. For example, if you had CPT authorization to work as an independent contractor, rather than as an employee of an organization, you might receive Form 1099 instead of Form W-2 to document your earnings.
  • Passport.
  • I-20 (F-1 status) OR DS-2019 (J-1 status).
  • Social Security Number or Individual Tax Identification Number (not required only filing Form 8843).
  • Address information (current U.S. address and foreign address).
  • U.S. entry and exit dates for current and past visits to the U.S. You can get much of your travel information from the online I-94 system:
  • Academic institution or host sponsor information (name, address, phone).
  • Scholarship/fellowship grant letter (if any).
  • A copy of last year’s federal income tax return, if filed.