International Tax Compliance Office

Fidel Center - Room 231 - Suite 233

Foreign Students: Resident or Nonresident Aliens for Tax Purposes

Nonresident Aliens - Submit form 8843 to the Federal Government each year:

This is a "Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals With a Medical Condition" and must be submitted to the IRS each year (even if you received no income) if an individual is a Nonresident alien for tax purposes and is present in the U.S. under F-1, F-2, J-1, or J-2 status.

This is not an income tax return. Form 8843 is an informational statement required by the U.S. Government for Nonresident Aliens holding certain visa types (including the spouses or dependents of Nonresident aliens). For students, the focus of the statement is the number of days they were present in the U.S. and the days that are exempt from counting in the substantial presence test (see Part 1 question 4).

International Students with Jobs:

At the time of receiving an hourly job offer, the Student will obtain a Student Work Authorization (SWA) form or a Graduate Student contract. The student will have their work eligibility verified by the Compliance Analyst in the E-Verify system as part of the I-9 process. (See the section below on the I-9 process)

Once you have your job offer, The first step you take is for the student to schedule a meeting with the Compliance Analyst. The Compliance Analyst will then send you a link to the GLACIER Tax Compliance software. You will need to fill out compliance forms online. When the form is filled out, make an appointment with the Compliance Analyst who will perform the substantial presence test, complete a W-4 form, and determine whether tax treaty benefits are allowed. Foreign students may either be a "Resident" for tax purposes or a "Nonresident" for tax purposes.  This tax classification is determined by the number of years in the US, and will determine your tax rate. 

Exemptions from certain taxes for Students

All individuals who are Nonresident aliens for tax purposes and hold a F-1, J-1, M-1 or Q-1 visa are exempt from paying social security tax (also called FICA tax) and Medicare tax on their wages when you are engaged in activities that are allowed under your visa. These taxes are over 7% of your wages. The exemption is defined in section 3121 (b) (19) of the tax law. Employers often are not aware of this section of the tax law, and you should provide them with this information during the hiring process. If your summer employer, your OPT employer, or Tech's Payroll department withheld those taxes from your paycheck in error you should contact them and ask for a refund. If they do not refund the taxes, you should apply to the IRS for a refund. Complete IRS forms 843 and 8316 for your refund request and mail them to the same address you mailed your income tax return.

A step by step guide to the refund process is here:

Step by step guide to request a refund

Examples of completed forms are here and here.

NRA Student - Scholarships/Grants/Fellowships:

The Federal Tax Compliance Analyst reviews grant and scholarship awards posted to the foreign student's account to determine whether a portion is taxable as income. The IRS guidelines on qualified and unqualified education expenses are applied to the student's account. The recipient will be notified if they have a tax liability, and if they are allowed a tax treaty a benefit to avoid taxation will be granted based on the student's country of tax residency and their eligibility. All income taxes owed are processed as a charge to the student's account.

Form I-9: Employment Eligibility Verification

Application for a Social Security card:

SS-5 form

Annual Income Tax Return Preparation

Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program

A student who is participating in a REU program (research experience for undergraduates) is given funding to cover tuition, living expenses, travel, and a personal stipend. The funds are posted to the student account, and the transaction is classified as a scholarship since no services are owed to the university. The tax obligation is the same as other scholarships: a) citizens and resident aliens for tax purposes receive a 1098-T form at year end and calculate the taxable amount on their tax return, b) Non-resident aliens have 14% income tax withheld from the Non-Qualified portion of payment in their student account and receive a 1042-S form at year end.

More detail is provided in the restricted funds document named “Budgeting, Pricing and Charging Sponsored Agreements"

1098T Compliance- Reporting Tuition Payments

The business office sends the 1098-T tax form to US, Green Card holders and Resident Alien students at year end that documents the tuition and qualified fee payments, and the scholarships funds that were posted to the student account.

Students who are classified as Nonresident Alien for tax purposes DO NOT  qualify to receive this document and will not be issued a 1098-T statement.

Students who are classified as Resident Aliens for tax purposes must request the 1098-T at the Compliance Office before January 25th of the New Year.

1098-T procedures are documented here (PDF)

You may contact the Compliance Office at - 575-835-5122 - Fax-575-835-6177

Staff Directory

Sherry Rodriguez Compliance Analyst 575-835-5122 Accounting Fidel 233