Non-resident F and J visa holders in the U.S. must file an annual tax return between January 15 to April 15 each year (IRS Form 1040NR-EZ or Form 1040NR) and/or statement (Form 8843) to substantiate non-resident status with the Internal Revenue Service. This includes F-2 and J-2 spouses and children. Many, although not all, of our international students and researchers at UMass are non-resident aliens (NRAs) for tax purposes. Persons who are NRAs for tax purposes are generally taxed at much higher rates on all U.S. source income than are resident aliens and citizens. Therefore, it is important for NRAs to have a basic understanding of the U.S. tax system.
Generally, NRAs whose only income during the tax year was from wages and who earned less than the personal exemption ($3,950 for tax year 2014) are not required to file a tax return. However, if any taxes were withheld, they must file a return to claim a tax refund. The $3,950 threshold only applies to wage income. Non-resident aliens are required to file a tax return if they receive any taxable scholarship/fellowship grant, income partially or totally exempt from tax under the terms of a tax treaty, and/or any other income, which is taxable under the Internal Revenue Code. Forms 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ must be filed by the April tax filing deadline every year. In addition, non-resident students and scholars who are filing a tax return must file a Form 8843, which is a Statement of Exempt Individuals. The Form 8843 is a one-page document that is returned with the 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ. The purpose of the form is to verify non-resident alien tax status. Non-resident students and scholars who are not required to file a tax return (because they have no income) should still file Form 8843. F-2 and J-2 spouses and children who earned no U.S. source income during the tax year only file a Form 8843. Persons who are outside the United States on April 15 have until June 15 to file their tax return.
Every year Isenburg School of Management students volunteer to assist international students and scholars with their tax return preparation. This is known as the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA). These volunteers are trained to assist with preparation of non-resident alien tax returns.
Form W-2: All employees who have taxable income from employment in the United States will receive a Form W-2, which is a statement of earnings. This form will arrive at the home address of the employee in mid-January. The Form W-2 is essential for filing a tax return.
Form 1098-T: The Tuition Payment Statment that is provided by UMass to all tuition paying students. The information about your tuition will help to determine whether you or the person who can claim you as a dependent may take the Hope credit or the Lifetime Learning credit when filing Federal Income Tax forms. UMass must obtain your correct Social Security Number (SSN) or valid Tax Identification Number (TIN) to file tax credit information with the IRS as well as furnish you with this statement. If you have questions about this contact the Bursar's Office at 413-545-2368 or bursar[at]admin.umass[dot]edu.
Form 8843: All NRAs must file this form whether or not they received income in the U.S. This form must be submitted by June 15.
Form 1042-S: All non-resident aliens who have scholarships that are greater than the amount of their fees or have tax treaty exempt wages will receive a Form 1042-S, which is a statement of that type of income received during the year. Persons who have ONLY a TA or RA fee waiver or a scholarship less than their semester fee charges will NOT be issued a Form 1042-S. The NRA will receive this Form 1042 S mid-March. Therefore, persons with the above types of income may not file a tax return until AFTER they have received Form 1042-S.