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Tax Responsibilities

Foreign Student/Foreign Scholar Filing Requirements for U.S. Federal Income Tax

This information is for students in F-1 and J-1 status and scholars in J-1, and it is intended to provide you with a general overview of the US Income Tax filing requirements and the services that we provide at the Office of International Students and Scholars.

NSU does not give tax advice and does not guarantee nor are we responsible for any final tax results. It is the responsibility of each international student, scholar and dependent to comply with U.S. tax regulations. We offer information in the form of resources; however, our staff is not trained to give any tax advice and we disclaim any liability caused by any misinterpretation or misuse of the resources at the student's disposal.

All F-1 and J-1 international students and scholars who were present in the U.S. during any portion of the past calendar year are required to file tax forms with the United States federal government. This is true whether or not you worked in the U.S., gained income in the U.S., or received a scholarship during the past calendar year.

All students and scholars in F-1/J-1 nonimmigrant status and their F-2/J-2 dependents (physically present in the U.S. during the previous calendar year) who are nonresidents for tax purposes MUST file the IRS Form 8843 regardless of whether or not they earned income in the U.S. Dependents (including children, regardless of age) should complete a separate Form 8843 independent of the F-1/J-1.

Whether you received taxable income or not, we encourage you to use the GLACIER Tax Prep software to prepare your federal tax return. The software will prepare the IRS Form 8843 for you (and your dependents).

For more information on how to determine if you need to file a return, please visit the IRS website by clicking on the following link:

To assist you with your IRS filing requirements, the Office of International Students and Scholars offers you the opportunity to use GLACIER Tax Prep (GTP) Online Tax Return Preparation System.

GTP will guide the F1 or J1 visa holder through the process of tax filing in the United States.

First, GLACIER will ask some questions to determine how the United States defines your presence for tax purposes. Based on your answers, GLACIER can determine what forms you must file and can even determine if you're eligible for treaty benefits.

Next, GLACIER Tax Prep will guide you through the process to complete and print the required forms to send to the IRS (nonresident aliens cannot electronically file a tax return).

What does GLACIER Tax Prep do for the F-1/J-1 student?

  • Calculates the substantial presence test to determine the foreign national's U.S. residency status
  • Checks each type of payment against any applicable tax treaty to ensure that the individual takes advantage of any tax treaty benefits
  • Checks to see if the individual is eligible for "away-from-home" expenses
  • Completes the correct U.S. income tax form - either Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ
  • Prepares any additional statements or attachments, as applicable - Form 2106, Form 8843, Schedule C, and/or Scholarship/Fellowship Grant Statement
  • Prints the tax return and all additional attachments (please note, the IRS does not allow nonresident aliens to file a tax return electronically)
  • Provides detailed instructions about how, when, and where to submit the tax return, as well as information about the documents necessary to attach and complete the tax return filing process

What does the F-1/J-1 holder need to start the process using Glacier Tax Prep?

Have the following information or documents on hand prior to using Glacier Tax Prep:

  • Passport
  • Visa/Immigration Status Information, including Form DS-2019 (if J status) or Form I-20 (if F status)
  • Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (if you have been assigned one)
  • U.S. Entry and Exit Dates for current and past visits to the U.S.
  • Forms W-2, 1042-S and/or 1099 (if you received any)

Access the GTP here and follow instructionsCLICK ON THE LOGO

Glacier Tax Prep

If your tax situation is complex, seek the aid of a professional tax preparer. Unfortunately, there are relatively few preparers who have experience in preparing returns for foreign nationals. Be sure to ask prospective preparers if they are familiar with Form 1040NR and the rules applicable to F-1 and J-1 visa holders. Do not engage a preparer who is not. The professional designations of "Certified Public Accountant" or "Enrolled Agent" are indications of a preparer's competency, but are not guarantees. Most tax preparers charge on a per hour basis rather than a fixed fee. If a preparer will not state an exact fee in advance, you should at least be told the maximum amount that you might have to pay. Even if you are planning to hire a preparer, it's best to learn as much as you can on your own.

The first thing you must do is to determine whether you are a resident, a nonresident, or a dual status alien for tax purposes. These titles do not relate to your immigration status. Even though you are a citizen of another country, you might still be considered a U.S. resident for U.S. tax purposes. This is an important first step because it determines whether you must file, what form to file, and whether you are eligible for treaty benefits. The first few pages of IRS Publication 519 explain how to determine your residency status.

If you determine that you are a nonresident or a dual status alien, most information you will need to complete your nonresident return is contained in two U.S. Internal Revenue Service booklets and the instructions to forms 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ. The IRS booklets are Publication 519 (U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens) and Publication 901 (U.S. Tax Treaties). If you are a resident of Canada, you will also find Publication 597 (Information on the United States-Canada Income Tax Treaty) helpful. All of this material can be obtained from the IRS Web site at Forms and Publications. Here is a complete list of all the forms and publications you should need.

Reading the first page of the instructions to Form 1040NR-EZ will tell you if you can use this shorter form. If you do not qualify, use Form 1040NR.

Non-resident Aliens (NRA) attending NSU on an F or J visa who receive an NSU institutional scholarship for non-qualified expenses such as housing, meal plans, health insurance fees or stipends, are subject to NRA withholding. All colleges and universities in the United States are required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to withhold 14% of any scholarships issued for the purpose of non-qualified expenses.

Exceptions to this rule will be based on "Tax Treaties" that countries may have with the United States.  Please review the 'Tax Treaties' section of this page for additional information.

If your country has a Tax Treaty with the United States, please complete the W-8BEN form and bring it to the Office of International Students as soon as you arrive in the United States.

If Tax Treaty does not exist, NSU will deduct 14% from your unqualified funds to pay for these taxes.

International students must file a US Tax Return every calendar year to determine if some of the withholding tax may be refundable. The Office of International Students and Scholars will notify all international students when tax season begins and will provide specific instructions on how to comply with this process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why does NSU need to withhold on my scholarship?

  • The IRS mandates that all universities/schools withhold 14% of non-qualified scholarships to international students since this is considered taxable income in the U.S.  NSU must withhold unless the student can provide a complete W-8BEN.

What is a W-8BEN?

  • Form W-8BEN is an IRS Form used to show NSU that an individual is the citizen of country that has a tax treaty with the US.  It also provides NSU with that individual’s ITIN. 

How do I know if NSU has a complete W-8BEN for me?

  • Email payroll@nova.edu with your N# to inquire if a valid W-8BEN is on file for you.

 Do I need a SS# or an ITIN?

  • A SS# is only available if you have employment in the U.S.
  • An ITIN is needed to claim a tax treaty.

What if I do not have an ITIN?

  • To claim a tax treaty, you need an ITIN.  The IRS will issue an ITIN.  See the attached checklist/instructions created by NSU to assist you with the process.

What if I do not get my ITIN before December 19?

  • NSU needs to receive a complete Form W-8BEN (with ITIN) by a certain time so that it can make appropriate withholding and file appropriate IRS Forms.  If NSU, does not receive your W-8BEN (with ITIN) by December 19, NSU will withhold 14% from your non-qualified scholarships. 

 What happens if NSU withholds 14%?

  • The 14% will be charged to your student account.  This will be a balance due to NSU.

What if my country has a tax treaty and I get my ITIN after December 19?

  • You will have to wait until it is time to file your 2016 U.S. tax return.  During February/March of 2017, OISS will have labs to assist international students with filing their personal income tax returns.  At this time, you will be able to report your scholarship activity and possibly receive a refund.  Each individual return is different.  NSU cannot offer tax advice. 

What if my country does not have a tax treaty?

  • You will have to wait until it is time to file your 2016 U.S. tax return.  During February/March of 2017, OISS will have labs to assist international students with filing their personal income tax returns.  At this time, you will be able to report your scholarship activity and possibly receive a refund.  Each individual tax return is different.  NSU cannot offer tax advice. 

The staff at the Office of International Students and Scholars does NOT give tax advice. For detailed tax information, please go to the Internal Revenue Service web site or call 1-800-829-1040.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please be advised that NSU cannot provide any kind of tax advice, tax consultation, or tax preparation assistance to you. You must prepare and file the appropriate IRS forms yourself, or seek the advice and assistance of a professional tax consultant if you are unable to complete the forms on your own. Please also note that tax liability is different for each of you depending on your specific country of origin or income situation. Consequently, you should be careful to only seek advice from a tax professional and not rely on information given to you by a friend or colleague.

Residents of certain countries may be eligible for "treaty benefits," that is, an exemption from taxation or an exemption/reduction of withholding on payments from NSU, under the terms of a tax treaty between the US and the visitor's country of residence.

To find out if your country has a Tax Treaty with the US access https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/Tax_Treaty_Table_2.pdf.   Your country MUST have '16' listed under the 'Code' column of the table in order to be eligible for a Tax Treaty benefit based on a scholarship.

Non-resident aliens (NRAs) must also possess a US Social Security Number (SSN) or an IRS-issued "ITIN" to be eligible to receive a treaty benefit.  Please see the SSN and ITIN sections of this website for additional information on the application process for SSNs and ITINs.

Applying for Treaty Benefits

To apply for treaty benefits based on scholarships, the visitor must complete and sign IRS Form W-8BEN and submit it to the Office of International Affairs.  W-8BEN documents without a SSN or ITIN will not be accepted and students will need to go through the SSN or ITIN application process before moving forward with applying for a tax treaty.

Step #1 – Gather Documentation Needed: To issue an ITIN, the IRS must have the following documents, in the following order:

ITEM # Description Located Instructions
1 Cover Letter Cover Letter Template [word document] Update fields as necessary with your personal information
2 Form W-7

Download PDF of Form W7 and Instructions from IRS Website

Complete Form as follows:

  1. Check Box  “Apply for New ITIN” on Top Right
  2. Part 1: Check Box F
  3. Part 1: Check Box H.  Write in “Exception 2(b) scholarship / fellowship income”
  4. Enter the Country and Article # for the Tax Treaty you are claiming – See Exhibit A
  5. Complete Lines 1 – 6 per form instructions.
See Sample Form W-7 for assistance
3 Form W-8BEN

Download PDF of Form W8-BEN From IRS Website

See Sample Form W-8BEN for assistance

4 Certified Copy of Passport & Visa

Passports cannot be expired. A certified copy is NOT the same thing as a notarized copy.  See more information in “How to Apply”  below

5 Copy of Scholarship Award Letter

You should have this in your files.  If not, please request a copy from the Office of Financial Aid.

6 Non-Employment Letter Request this letter from the Office of International Affairs.

Step #2 - Important Reminders: 

  • Review Form W-7 and W-8BEN to make sure the name listed matches your passport
  • Include your dorm number, apartment number, etc on all IRS Forms – the IRS will contact you by mail
  • Make a copy of everything for your records before applying

 Step #3 - How to Apply:

  •  Option 1: In Person (RECOMMENDED)

Students can schedule an appointment (Tuesdays/Thursday) to apply in person at the local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center Office.  This office will review original passports and national identification cards only.  Original passports will be returned the same day and your ITIN package will be sent to Austin, TX for processing.

 This is not a department of NSU and is only available by appointment. 

7850 S.W. 6th Court
Plantation, FL 33324 

Call 844-545-5640 to schedule an appointment

  •  Option 2: By Mail

Send all documents to the address below.  Envelopes should be sent via USPS Certified Mail (or similar service that provides proof of delivery).

Internal Revenue Service 
ITIN Operation 
P.O. Box 149342 
Austin, TX 78714-9342

Note on Certified Copies:  DO NOT SEND ORIGINAL PASSPORT.  You will need to send a certified copy of your passport.  A certified copy is not the same as a notarized copy.  A certified document is one that the original issuing agency provides and certifies as an exact copy of the original document and contains an official stamped seal from the agency. You may be able to request a certified copy of documents at an embassy or consulate. However, services may vary between countries, so it is recommended that you contact the appropriate consulate or embassy for specific information. Certified copies of a passport from the issuing agency must include the U.S. visa page(s).

Notice

NSU does not give tax advice and does not guarantee nor are we responsible for any final tax results. It is the responsibility of each international student, scholar and dependent to comply with U.S. tax regulations. We offer information in the form of resources; however, our staff is not trained to give any tax advice and we disclaim any liability caused by any misinterpretation or misuse of the resources at the student's disposal.

Additional Assistance

If you have questions that were not answered on this page you should seek assistance direclty from a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), tax attorney, or otherwise qualified individual.  We also recommend contacting a local IRS Assistance Center (by appointment only) at:

7850 S.W. 6th Court Plantation, FL 33324 

Call 844-545-5640 to schedule an appointment

Locate ITIN Number

If you already have an ITIN but do not know what it is, or if you are uncertain if you already have an ITIN, you should call the IRS ITIN Hotline at 1-800-908-9982

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