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.

Please be aware that the Office of International Student and Scholar Services cannot provide individual guidance about how to do your taxes, nor does this office collect your tax return information. Tax reporting goes to the Internal Revenue Service and Oregon Department of Revenue, which are government agencies.

COVID-19 Tax Update

  • Due to concerns about the coronavirus, we have to cancel all in-person tax help sessions. However, our partners at FOCUS still want to help you, and are moving their services to a virtual format. Sprintax is also offering online support. Please see "Where can I get help" section below. 
  • The tax filing deadline is now July 15, 2020 (original deadline was April 15). Read more on the IRS website

CARES Act (Financial Stimulus Payments)

The CARES Act is the recent bill passed by Congress which provides financial relief to individuals and businesses. Below is information specifically about the Individual Recovery Rebates, also known as stimulus payments, and how this applies to international students.

Click on a topic to read more about each section:


Do I need to file a tax return?

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. 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.

Even if you have not received any income, you must still complete form 8843 and submit it to the IRS (See “What forms should I fill out?” below).

Why should I 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 15 deadline, you may face late filing penalties. Filing prior to this date prevents penalties, so the earlier you file, the better.

You may receive a tax refund - When you work, your employer withholds taxes from your paycheck, and when you file your tax return, the IRS can evaluate whether too many taxes were withheld. If you overpaid taxes during the year, you will receive a refund. Most international students filing a tax return are due a tax refund for overpaid tax. The average refund is $900. 

What forms should I fill out?

All international students, with or without income, MUST complete the Form 8843. It identifies you as a non-resident and prevents any of your income from abroad from being taxed. You will need to print this form, sign it, and mail it to the address in the instructions. Read more about the Form 8843.

For some students, you will only need to file the form 8843. International students who earned income in the US  will need to file a federal and state tax return using the following forms:

  • 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.

Other forms you might receive if you earned any income:

  • 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.
  • 1098-T - You might receive this tuition statement from PSU. This is not an income statement and you will not need it to file your nonresident tax forms.

Where can I get help?

The Office of International Student and Scholar Services is offering information sessions to help you understand taxes for non-residents. In-person help sessions for 2020 have been cancelled. Below are some options to receive virtual assistance:


Get started with Sprintax

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.

  1.      Create an account on the Sprintax website.
  2.      Answer a few simple questions.
  3.      If Sprintax determines you only need to complete IRS 8843, please click here to download this simple form. Complete the form, sign it, and mail to the address listed in the instructions.
  4.     If Sprintax determines you need to file more forms than the IRS 8843, please proceed with Sprintax’s step-by-step process to report your income.
  5.      Enter your Sprintax access code in the box on the ‘Review your order’ page. (This access code has already been mailed to your e-mail.)
  6.     Sprintax will do the calculations and prepare your tax return(s).
  7.      Print out the forms, sign, and send them to the tax authorities.

Note: It is FREE to prepare your federal return using Sprintax. However, there will be a charge of $35.95 to prepare the OR state tax return.

Sprintax Instructional Video: Watch the Video "How Sprintax Works"

Sprintax Written Instructions 

English | Arabic | Chinese | Japanese | Korean | Spanish 

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 Oregon and live in Portland city limits, you are required to pay the tax. The City of Portland will send you a letter to pay the tax. You will use the return envelope they provide to send them a check or money order.

Do I have to pay it?

You need to pay the Portland Arts Tax if you are considered an Oregon resident for state tax purposes (Note: This is different than "residence" as an immigration status. See the IRS website for an explanation.) If you are filing state taxes as a nonresident of Oregon, then you do not need to pay the Portland Arts Tax.

For more information, please refer to the City of Portland, Revenue Division website

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.