Tax Obligations in the U.S.

 

Federal (Forms W2, 1099, and 1040)

If you are in F or J status (including F-2 and J-2), United States law requires that you complete and submit tax forms for each year that you reside in the U.S., whether or not you have earned income.

If you are in F or J status (including F-2 and J-2), United States law requires that you complete and submit tax forms for each year that you reside in the U.S., whether or not you have earned income. 

* For additional information, refer to the spring 2019 tax obligations workshop presentation (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) .
    Webinar recording of this year's workshopnew window

  1. All students must submit Form 8843 (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) by July 15, 2020 (next year we will go back to the regular April 15th deadline).
     It takes just a few minutes and ‘counts’ how long you have been in the US. Instructions on how to complete the Required Form 8843 (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) .

  2. In addition, if you have earned income or been given a scholarship, submit a “Tax Return”  by July 15, 2020 (next year we will go back to the regular April 15th deadline). Use ONE of the following (all forms can be downloaded on IRS websitenew window): 

    • Form 1040NR-EZ if you only earned ‘wages’ and don’t have dependents (You can watch this short videonew window, on how to complete your 1040NR-EZ form),  OR

    • Form 1040NR if you have dependents or have complicated income from many sources OR

    • Form 1040 (regular US Citizen and permanent resident form) – ONLY if you lived in the U.S. for at least 5 years (even on a visa status - This is why you fill out the form 8843 each year...to count years to see if you use this form or not)

To FILL IN YOUR FORM you need one or more of the forms below.  SEND the form with your Tax Return.

  • W-2 Form (a statement of your earned wages from work.  Your employer must mail it or have it available to download for you). If you see Medicare, or Social security tax on your W2 (as shown in this example (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.)  ), see the instructions (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.)  on how to get them refunded.
  • 1099 Form (a statement of income from a ‘contract’ job or bank interest earned on a bank account in the U.S. – only interest over $10 must be reported). Instructions on how to use a 1099 form (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) .
  • 1042-S Form (a statement of any scholarship or income eligible for tax treaty benefits) 

If you should have one of these and do not, contact your employer, bank, or school.

You can also visit this site if you want HELP to complete these forms, or you can locate a a VITA (Volunteer Trained Tax Assistance) site.  Do NOT use TurboTax or another tax preparation program (unless you have been here 5 years and will complete a form 1040).

Note: If you need to file taxes, DO NOT USE TurboTax. Instead, use Sprintax new window(Contact our office for a discount code).

Make copies of everything you send!

Send all documents to:

Internal Revenue Service Center
Austin, Texas 73301-0215

Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia

You may also need to file a tax form in the State or District you live in.

If you have lived in Maryland for six months or more and have earned $9,350 or more, you must complete and submit a Maryland State Tax Return for residents. The tax return form is available in post offices and libraries throughout the State of Maryland. 

If you earned $11,250 or more and you lived in Virginia for 183 days (in of the Prior Calendar year) or more, you must complete and submit a VA 760R Form.  The form is available at post offices and libraries in the State of Virginia or may be downloaded from the website www.tax.virginia.gov.

If you moved to Virginia but lived there less than 183 days in of the Prior Calendar year and you earned more than $11,250, you must complete and submit a VA 760PY Form.

The form is available at post offices and libraries in the State of Virginia or may be downloaded.

If you live in Washington, DC and earned income in of the Prior Calendar year, you must complete and submit a DC tax return. The form is available at libraries and post offices in Washington, DC or at “Visit the Taxpayer Service Center.”

Note: If you need to file taxes, DO NOT USE TurboTax. Instead, use Sprintaxnew window (Contact our office for a discount code).

Required 8843 Form (All students).

All students must submit Form 8843 by July 15, 2020 (next year we will go back to the regular April 15th deadline). It takes just a few minutes and ‘counts’ how long you have been in the US.

Helpful Links

Scholarships or Fellowships from the U.S. are tax-free if they are used under the terms of the grant for College tuition, fees, books, supplies, and equipment, which are required for courses at the educational institution.  The portions of the scholarship or fellowship from the U.S. that is used for other expenses, such as room and board and travel are taxable. Also, students are generally exempt from tax on remittances (including scholarships and fellowship grants) received from abroad for study and living costs. So whether a scholarship or fellowship is taxable depends on its source and its use under the terms of the grant.

Interest Income (interest on bank deposits, certificates of deposit/CDs, savings bonds, deposits in credit unions) is not subject to U.S. tax if received by a nonresident alien.

At Montgomery College, we do not claim to be experts in the US tax law.  We are providing this information as a service to you.  Please be aware that you individually are fully responsible for accurately reporting your situation to the IRS.  We advise students who have a difficult tax situation to obtain guidance from a professional tax preparation service.

U.S. Tax Terms Defined

TAX RETURN: A “Tax Return” allows persons who had taxes withheld (by their employer or bank) to determine if they paid the correct taxes or not.  They may get a refund or (in rare cases) need to pay additional taxes.

The information detailed below is for F and J visa holders who have remained in the United States for five years or less.  By IRS definition, these people qualify for non-resident status when filing their taxes.  For F visa holders who have been in the United States for more than 5 calendar years, the IRS may consider you as residents even though you are not a resident by immigration (USCIS) standards; that is you do not have a green card.  This information has been extracted from the National Association of Foreign Student Advisor’s “US Federal Income Tax Guide for International Students and Scholars” and from the Internal Revenue Service’s “Foreign Student Text.”  For more complete information on the Substantial Presence Test, please consult IRS Publication 519-US Tax Guide For Aliens.  If you pass the Substantial Presence Test, you must file your taxes as a resident of the United States and must use Form 1040EZ, 1040A or 1040.  These forms may be obtained on-line at www.irs.gov or sometimes at your local post office or library. 

FORM 8843:  ALL non-resident (as defined above) F-1 and J-1 students and F-2 or J-2 dependents are required to submit Form 8843 “Statement for Exempt Individuals,” whether or not you had any income. 

  1. Get a Form 8843 (ALL students) and a Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ (only if you have income to declare).  (If you have dependents, you must use the regular Form 1040NR .  If you don’t have dependents, you should use the Form 1040NR-EZ, which is much easier to fill out.)   You may obtain the forms by calling the IRS’ forms order line at 1 800 TAX FORM (which is 1 800 829-3676).  Remember to order a Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ, a Form 8843, a copy of Publication 519 “US Tax Guide for Aliens,” and a copy of Publication 901, “US Tax Treaties.”  You may also download these forms and publications from the IRS’ website at http://www.irs.gov.  Search for the form by number and year (example 1040NR-EZ of the Prior Calendar year).  You may file several years of these if needed.
  2. Before you start to complete the forms, make several copies.  Complete a draft in pencil on the copies.  After you finish and correct your draft, complete the original form in ink.  

FORMS USED TO SHOW INCOME AND TAXES ALREADY PAID: Non-resident (as defined above) students and dependents with any taxable U.S. income must file a form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ.   Also, anyone whose income is not taxable due to treaty exemption must file the 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ.  See Publication 901, “US Tax Treaties,” for information about whether your country has tax agreements with the U.S.  In some cases the treaty will explain that certain types of income are taxed only in the person'’ country of legal residence (home country).  Also, students are generally exempt from tax on remittances (including scholarships and fellowship grants) received from abroad for study and living costs.  

W-2 FORM: Provides the information on: Total Wages earned, Taxable Wages earned, Federal (US) Tax "withheld" (already kept from the wages and given to the government, State Tax withheld, Social Security* (SSI) Tax withheld, Medicare* Tax withheld.  One copy must be sent with EACH tax return sent (Federal, State, County -if needed). Keep one for your personal record.   

1099: Interest Income (interest on bank deposits, certificates of deposit/CDs, savings bonds, deposits in credit unions) is not subject to U.S. tax if received by a nonresident alien.
A person working as a "independent contractor" (for example as a Caterer or Computer Programmer) may receive a 1099 instead of a W-2.   

1042-S Form

Scholarships or Fellowships from the U.S. are tax-free if they are used under the terms of the grant for College tuition, fees, books, supplies, and equipment, which are required for courses at the educational institution.  The portions of the scholarship or fellowship from the U.S. that is used for other expenses, such as room and board and travel are taxable.

So whether a scholarship or fellowship is taxable depends on its source and its use under the terms of the grant.  Generally, Montgomery College Scholarships are for educational expenses only and are not taxable.

Form 1098-T

Students may receive a form 1098-T to show the tuition paid during the previous year. This cannot usually be used by F-1 students but, if you have a US sponsor and have been living here over 5 years, you should ask an international tax advisor. To get more information about this form, please refer to our Information about IRS Form 1098 - T page.

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