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.
- Federal tax-collecting agency: Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- State tax-collecting agency: Oregon Department of Revenue (DOR)
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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
- Register on the Sprintax website.
- Answer a few simple questions.
- If Sprintax determines you need to file more forms than the IRS 8843, please log into Worldlink to request a Sprintax Access Code.
- Enter your Sprintax access code in the box on the ‘Review your order’ page
- Sprintax will do the calculations and prepare your tax return(s).
- Print out the forms, sign, and send them to the tax authorities.
Sprintax Instructional Video
Watch the Video "How Sprintax Works"
Sprintax Written Instructions
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.
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More Tax Resources
- Internal Revenue Service – download federal forms.
- Oregon Department of Revenue – download state forms.
- Taxweb.com – Offers links to tax forms and additional tax information.
- Windstar Technologies – Offers partial texts of tax treaties.
- TheTaxGuy.com – Information and for-fee tax preparation.
- Tax Information Sessions – Held in March and April. Check with ISSS for details.
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.