The U.S. uses a “pay-as-you-earn” system of tax collection. Taxes are usually deducted
(i.e., subtracted) from a paycheck, sent directly to the government, and collectively
reported on a yearend statement mailed to the payee. If the yearend totals meet federal
and/or state filing requirements, the payee must prepare and file the appropriate
tax return. The result is either a tax refund to the payee (if too much tax was withheld
through the year), or a tax bill to the payee (if not enough tax was withheld through
There are specific tax laws issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding
taxation and reporting of payments made to non-U.S. citizens. Information regarding
tax and filing regulations are the responsibility of each foreign national. We have
compiled the information below as a quick reference guide for tax filing, however,
it is not a complete source. For more in-depth federal tax information visit the International Taxpayers page on the IRS website, Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens, and Publication 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities. For complete state tax filing information, visit the Comptroller of Maryland tax page.
Collecting Year-End Tax Forms
Anyone receiving U.S. sourced income will receive a yearend tax statement by mail
for tax filing purposes. There are different yearend forms for different types of
income, and an individual could receive multiple forms in a tax year. These forms
provide the information needed to determine whether or not an individual will need
to file a federal and/or state tax return.
Statement of compensation or wages earned for the prior calendar year. Issued from
your employer by January 31.
Statement of income from various sources such as personal/consulting services, interest,
and dividends. Issued from companies or banks by January 31. Only those in resident status should receive a 1099.
Statement of income for U.S. sourced non-service fellowship (travel awards); or U.S.
sourced scholarship funding exceeding IRS qualified expenses (tuition/fees/books);
or independent services (guest speaker fee/honorarium). Issued from sponsoring institution
by March 15. Only those in nonresident status should receive form 1042-S.
Statement of tuition paid. Note: NRAs generally cannot claim education credits. The
1098-T is not prepared for international students without a U.S. taxpayer ID number.
If needed, you may request a 1098-T from the Bursar's Office.
Federal Tax Filing
The following information has been simplified for ease of use. For full details on
federal filing requirements, visit the IRS Foreign Students and Scholars page.
Who needs to file?
You must file a federal tax return if you have a total annual federal income of more
than $4,050.00, or if you have a total annual federal income of less than $4,050.00
but you had federal tax withheld from your paycheck.
which forms to file
The first and most important step to completing the correct U.S. federal tax forms
is determining your U.S. tax status. The IRS recognizes four categories of tax residency
status: U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident alien (U.S. PRA), resident alien for
tax purposes, and non-resident alien for tax purposes. If you are not a U.S. citizen
or U.S. PRA, a calculation called the Substantial Presence Test (PDF), or visa-specific presence is used to determine U.S. tax status.
An individual's U.S. tax status dictates which tax laws and specific forms should
be used. There are two distinct tax categories for those who are not U.S. citizens
or U.S. PRA: nonresident alien or resident alien for U.S. tax purposes. These titles
are specific to tax preparation and are not immigration categories.
Nonresident Alien for U.S. Tax Purposes
Nonresident aliens for U.S. tax purposes are subject to a separate set of U.S. tax
laws and filing form/s, are taxed on only U.S. sourced income, and are required to
file a paper federal tax return by mail. Information on federal tax filing forms for
nonresident aliens is below. For additional assistance contact nratax AT_TOWSON.
||Who must file
||Resources & Deadline
|IRS Form 8843
||All students in F1 or J1, and their F2 or J2 dependents, present in the U.S. before
Dec. 31 of the tax year need to file this form. A separate form is required for each
spouse or dependent in the U.S.
||Use our step by step instructions (PDF) to prepare the 8843 and mail alone by June 15. If filing a federal tax return, use Glacier™ Tax Prep free software to auto-generate an 8843 with your return and mail by April
|1040NR-EZ or 1040NR
||Federal nonresident income tax form 1040NR-EZ (individuals) or 1040NR (married with
spouse and/or dependents in the U.S.).
||You can access Glacier™ Tax Prep software through your individual tax record to prepare and mail a 1040NR-EZ form
for free. Forms are due by April 18. For more information visit the International Tax FAQs and Help Page.
resident alien for u.s. tax purposes
Resident aliens for U.S. tax purposes can file under the same U.S. tax laws and use
the same tax forms as U.S. citizens, are taxed on worldwide income and may file an
electronic federal tax return online. Information on federal tax filing forms for
resident aliens is below. For additional assistance contact nratax AT_TOWSON.
||Resources & Prior-Year Info
|1040-EZ (individuals) or
1040 (for those with a spouse/dependents in the U.S.)
|Free-File tax return software is available if you earn less than $64,000 in the tax year. Free
tax prep assistance is available through CBE and Baltimore Cash Campaign.
||IRS.gov Help and Resources page. Fillable PDF forms 1040-EZ and 1040 for prior years can be found on IRS.gov
by using the search tool. Many of the providers listed as free partners on IRS.gov will offer services for prior years, but may charge a fee.
If you are an international student who worked off-campus on CPT/OPT, or if you are
no longer at TU and need assistance with tax filing, please contact nratax AT_TOWSON to complete an online Glacier™ tax record and receive personalized assistance. If
it is determined that you are a nonresident for U.S. tax purposes, we will be able
to offer GTP™ as a tax prep solution.
State Tax Filing
Note that this information has been simplified. For full details on Maryland state
tax filing requirements, visit the Maryland State Filing Requirements web page.
who must file?
You must file a Maryland state tax return if you have an annual income of $10,350.00
or more, or if you have an annual income of less than $10,350.00 but have Maryland
state/local tax withheld from your paycheck.
forms to file
According to the state of Maryland, anyone living in Maryland for more than 183 consecutive
days is considered a resident for state tax filing purposes. This means the majority of our international students
and faculty who need to file a Maryland tax return will file as residents.
||Resources & Prior-Year Info
|Resident MD Form 502
||Maryland's Free Internet tax filing system, iFile, allows you to prepare and electronically file an online MD form 502, and track your
refund if one is due.
||iFile offers built-in support for software questions, plus setup and tax filing information. For prior year Form 502 returns, search for the specific tax year using the state search tool.
If you have not lived in Maryland for 183 consecutive days, or are unsure of your
Maryland tax status, contact us at nratax AT_TOWSON prior to filing as you may need to file a Part-Year Return. Our office can complete a state tax analysis and advise on the correct state form
I would like to use GTP™ but I’m no longer at TU. How can I get access?
If you worked at TU while attending, you can login to your Glacier™ tax record to
access GTP™. If you do not work at TU or do not have a Glacier™ tax tecord, please
contact the NRA Tax Office at nratax AT_TOWSON for additional instructions.
How do I determine my U.S. Tax Status?
Your Glacier™ tax record states your U.S. tax status. Generally, students in F1 are considered
nonresident alien for U.S. tax purposes for the first five years, and those in J1
are nonresident for the first two years. The IRS website has complete information
on determining US Tax Status. Contact the NRA Tax Office for a tax analysis.
Is there a way to track my federal tax refund?
When completing your return, you can opt to receive your refund by direct deposit
or a mailed check. Federal refunds can take up to four to six weeks to process and
can be tracked using the free tracking option on IRS.gov.
Is Form 8843 Really required for all F’s and J’s, even spouses/children?
Yes, everyone in F1, F2, J1 and J2 status and determined to be nonresident for U.S.
tax purposes need to file IRS form 8843. A separate 8843 form needs to be completed
and filed for each spouse/dependent with you in the U.S.
My employer withheld Social Security and Medicare tax (FICA) from my pay. Can I get
Yes, if you are determined to be a nonresident alien for tax purposes. You will need
to contact the employer’s payroll office to request the tax be refunded, which can
take up to eight weeks. If you are a resident for tax purposes, FICA Tax was correctly
withheld and is non-refundable. If you had FICA tax withheld from your pay and are
unsure of your tax status please email nratax AT_TOWSON for individual analysis.