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Tax filing for international students on F-1 and J-1

April 15, 2012 by app2usadvisor  
Filed under Money Matters


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April 17 2012 is the deadline for filing of income tax returns for 2011. Most US residents including international srudents on F-1 and J-1 visas are required to file their tax returns, including those who arrived in the US in 2011.



Foreign students and foreign scholars have special filing requirements for U.S. federal income tax returns. Most nonresident aliens with simple situations will file a form 1040NR-EZ instead of a 1040NR. To qualify for a 1040NR-EZ you must meet the following qualifications:


Your only U.S. source income was from wages, salaries, tips, taxable refunds of state and local income taxes, and scholarship or fellowship grants.

  • You do not claim any dependents.
  • You cannot be claimed as a dependent on another person’s U.S. tax return (such as your parent’s return).
  • You do not claim any itemized deductions other than for state or local income tax.
  • Your Taxable income is less than $100,000.00.
  • If you are married and do not claim an exemption for your spouse.
  • You are not claiming any tax credits.

The only exclusion you can take is the exclusion for scholarship and fellowship grants, and the only adjustment to income you can take is the student loan interest deduction.



There is no minimum dollar amount of income, which triggers a filing requirement for a nonresident alien, including foreign students or foreign scholars. The dollar limit thresholds which trigger a filing requirement for a U.S. citizen or a resident alien do not apply to nonresident aliens. However, Notice 2005-77 provides that a nonresident alien whose only U.S. source income is wages is not required to file a U.S. federal income tax return unless his U.S. source wages exceed the personal exemption amount ($ $9,500 for singles, under 65 years of age)



Filing IS required by nonresident alien students and scholars who have a taxable scholarship or fellowship, any wages or assistantship, or any other income, which is taxable under the Internal Revenue Code. Filing IS NOT required by nonresident alien students and scholars who have income ONLY from foreign sources, interest income from banks or any other income, which is nontaxable under the Internal Revenue Code. However, income, which is not taxable because of an income tax treaty must be reported on a U.S. income tax return even though no income tax is due on the U.S. income tax return.



Note: We are not tax attorneys, and information above is an overview, not a formal tax advice. Consult IRS website, your country’s tax treaties with the US and/or a qualified tax attorney for tax advice.


Ref: IRS Publication 501, IRS page for Foreign Students and Scholars. http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/international/article/0,,id=96431,00.html


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