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International Student Taxes

While in the US you must follow all laws related to taxation that apply to you. The following general information is not intended to take the place of a qualified tax advisor. Please contact the Internal Revenue Service for more detailed information.

Agencies

Income

  • Income you have received while in the US may be taxable and may come from employment, stipends, or scholarships from US sources.
  • Most employers withhold tax monies from your paycheck and send it to the federal and state governments. If you are not required to pay taxes, you will recover this money after filing a tax return.
  • Income from non-US sources, such as your home government, is not taxable.

Taxes

  • Most F-1 and J-1 visa holders are not required to pay taxes. However, everyone in the US is responsible for submitting an income statement to the IRS, known as a tax return.
  • Non-residents of the US are not required to pay Social Security taxes.
  • If you have not received any income, you must still complete form 8843 and submit it to the IRS.
  • To file a return, obtain the correct form(s), complete them according to instructions and submit them to the IRS and DOR.

Forms

The following are tax-related forms you should be familiar with:

  • 8843 – This form MUST be filed by ALL international students, with or without income. It identifies you as a non-resident and prevents any of your income from abroad from being taxed.

For some students, you will only need to file the form 8843. If you're not sure which additional forms, if any, you are required to submit, you can use the worksheet below to guide you.

What Tax Forms Should I Complete?

Other Tax Forms 

  • W-2 – Your employer will provide you this form by the 31st of January for the prior year’s income. It shows how much you’ve earned and how much was withheld in taxes.
  • 1099-INT – Your bank will send you this form showing how much interest income you earned. Non-residents are not taxed on this interest, however you may need to include this form with your tax return.
  • 1042-S – If you receive scholarships, the giving organization will send you this form. Only scholarship money used for room and board is taxable. Scholarship money used for tuition, fees, and books is not taxable.
  • 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ – You will use one of these forms to file a federal tax return. The simplified form (1040NR-EZ) is sufficient for most students.
  • OR-40N – You will use this form to file a state tax return.

New this year! Introducing Sprintax

As an international student in the US, your are obligated to file a US tax return during your stay. Understanding the US tax system and filing a tax return is an overwhelming and confusing experience for any student.

To make things easier for you, PSU has teamed up with Sprintax, an easy-to-use preparation tool, to guide you through the preparation process!

Sprintax is for students who need to file any of the tax documents listed above.

Why should you file a tax return?

  • Stay tax compliant - Failing to file may impact the status of your current visa and make future US visa applications difficult.
  • Avoid penalties - If you miss the April 18 deadline, you may face late filing penalties. Filing prior to this date prevents penalties, so the earlier you file, the  better.
  • You may be owed a tax refund - Most international students filing a tax return are due a tax refund for overpaid tax. The average refund is $900. It's worth checking if you are due a refund.

Get started with Sprintax

  1. Register on the Sprintax website.
  2. Answer a few simple questions.
  3. If Sprintax determines you need to file more forms than the IRS 8843, please log into Worldlink to request a Sprintax Access Code. 
  4. Enter your Sprintax access code in the box on the ‘Review your order’ page
  5. Sprintax will do the calculations and prepare your tax return(s).
  6. Print out the forms, sign, and send them to the tax authorities.

Sprintax Instructional Video

Watch the Video "How Sprintax Works"

Sprintax Written Instructions

English | Arabic | Chinese | Japanese | Korean | Spanish 

 

Tax Help Sessions 2017

We work with FOCUS to provide free tax workshops for international students and scholars at PSU. If you earned income or interest during 2016, you have received tax forms in the mail (W-2, 1042-S, 1099, 1098-T, etc.). FOCUS volunteers will be hosting these workshops and helping you to understand your tax forms. Go to Worldlink for a list of upcoming workshops and details for how you can sign up.

Note: The tax workshops are not a service to provide step-by-step assistance in filing your taxes. Volunteers will be there to help students who have questions about using Sprintax or have questions about which forms to fill out. Please try using Sprintax first, then come to a workshop if you still have questions.

Portland Arts Tax

What is the Arts Tax?

The Arts Tax is a tax for the city of Portland which helps fund Portland school teachers and art focused non-profit organizations in Portland. The tax is $35.00 for each person -- unlike other state and federal taxes, everyone pays the same amount. The Arts Tax is also filed separately from other state and federal taxes. If you are a resident of Portland, the City of Portland will send you a letter to request that you pay the tax. You will use the return envelope they provide to send them check or money order.

Do I have to pay it?
 
You will need to pay the Arts Tax if you are a Portland resident who is at least 18 years of age and earned income of $1000 or more during 2016. International students have to pay the tax, even if you are not considered a resident for other tax purposes. If your income was less than $1000 during 2016, then you can request an exemption so you do not have to pay the tax. You can request an exemption online: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/revenue/artstax/index.cfm?action=PaymentInfo
For more information, please refer to the City of Portland, Revenue Division website: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/revenue/article/422384#whohastopay

More Tax Resources

IRS Scams

You should be aware that there are many scams from people pretending to be the IRS or another federal agency trying to steal your information. If you get any phone calls or official-looking emails from someone claiming to be with the IRS or other government agency asking for confidential information (passport number, mother's maiden name, Social Security Number, address, etc.), be very wary! Do not give out personal information over the phone. The U.S. federal government will never call you to ask for money. Contact your international student advisor if you have any questions. 

NOTE: This tax information is intended for international students and scholars at PSU with typical income levels and sources. More detailed information is available on our International Scholar website, but you should seek professional tax advice if your circumstances are unusual in any way.