All international scholars and students in F-1 or J-1 status (as well as dependents in F-2 and J-2 status) who were physically present in the U.S. any time between January 1 and December 31 of a given year, must complete and submit some type of federal tax form for that year.
It’s important not to confuse immigration terms of “resident” and “nonresident” with taxpayer categories that have the same name. For tax purposes, residence is defined based on the Substantial Presence Test (SPT), which is independent from your immigration classification. The SPT is the calculation that the federal government uses to determine when non-resident aliens for immigration purposes have been in the United States long enough to be considered residents for tax purposes. The Foreign National Tax Resource (FNTR) system, a web-based tax return preparation system designed exclusively for international students, scholars, and their dependents, should help you determine your tax residence status.
If you worked in the U.S. and received taxable employment compensation, you must have a Social Security Number (SSN) for tax filing purposes. If you have ever been previously assigned a SSN, you may use the same number to file your tax forms.
Collect Required Documents
If you earned or received income in the U.S., you are required to gather official documentation from various sources in order to complete the tax forms. Sources of U.S. income may include on-campus employment, scholarships, fellowships, graduate assistantships, stipends, practical or academic training, and any compensation received for labor. “Income” is not limited to wages paid to the individual in cash, but also includes that portion of a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship that is applied to housing and meal expenses. Some examples of this official documentation are a Form W-2 from your employer, Form 1042-S from Wartburg College and/or another academic institution you attended in a given year, Form 1099 from your bank, or any other forms showing income.
If you received taxable income during a given year from Wartburg College, you should have already received a Form W-2 from the college and/or any other U.S. employer showing the wages you earned and the taxes withheld. If you have any questions regarding any tax forms, please contact the student employment office.
If you’re a student or a scholar who received a scholarship or fellowship from Wartburg College or you’re claiming a tax treaty in a given year, you should receive a Form 1042-S from the college showing the amount paid in mid-March. You will not be able to begin completing your tax forms until after you have received the Form 1042-S. If you have any questions regarding any tax forms, please contact the student employment office.