The United States tax system requires every non-immigrant present in the U.S. (even for 1 day), whether you worked or not, to file a form with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This also applies to your spouses and dependents/children on F-2 visas.
The forms that you need to file depend on your status. For federal tax purposes, you must first determine whether you are considered a resident or a nonresident alien. If a student spends more than 5 years in the United States in F-1 status, he or she will be considered a resident alien and must be taxed like a U.S. citizen. Note that any part of a calendar year in which a student is present in the U.S. counts as a full year. If you determine that you are a resident for tax purposes, you will not be able to use Glacier Tax Prep.
Note: The International Student Office is not able to provide individual tax advice. However, the following resources are available:
- Federal tax software (Glacier Tax Prep) to assist you in the filing of your taxes is provided free of charge by the International Student Office.
The software provides an easy and user-friendly way to prepare your federal tax returns online in under 20 minutes. Since there is a limit on the number of people accessing the software, international students will have to request a password in advance on a first come, first served basis. Information about obtaining a password and software instructions is usually released in the middle of February.
Special Note: Please do not use other software packages to help you file your taxes since they are not designed to understand complex non-resident tax issues, such as tax treaties, etc. Moreover, the IRS does not currently allow Forms 1040NR and 1040NR-EZ to be filed electronically.
- A special Tax Edition of I-NEWS is released in the middle of February. This issue is exclusively devoted to the tax requirements for international students, which forms to file (federal and state), deadlines, tax residency status and Glacier Tax Prep software instructions. This is a condensed version of everything an international student needs to know about taxes.
Tax Filing Deadlines
If you worked in 2011, the last day to meet your federal and California state tax obligations is April 17, 2012.
If you did not earn any income in the U.S. in 2011 but were present in the U.S., or for spouses and dependents/children, the deadline for filing a federal Form 8843 is June 15, 2012.
Employer Documents: W-2
To fill out your federal and state tax forms, you will need the following forms, depending on the income you receive: W-2 and/or 1042-S. Your employer normally mails these to you by January 31 of each year.
If you worked last year and do not receive a W-2 and/or 1042-S by the middle of February of the following year, contact your employer's payroll department.
If you recently moved, make sure your employer knows your new address. You will need the W-2 form in order to use Glacier Tax Prep and prepare your tax return.
If you worked at Foothill College and have questions about your W-2 form or want to change your address, contact the Financial Aid and Student Employment Office at (650) 949-7470.