The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the U.S. government agency responsible for collecting taxes and enforcing tax laws.
International students and scholars temporarily present in the United States are subject to special IRS rules with respect to the taxation of their income.
Nonresident Alien v. Resident Alien for Tax Purposes
Your tax status determines the taxation of your income and how you will file your taxes. If you have been physically present in the U.S. for an extended period of time, you might be considered a resident alien for tax purposes, even though you are a nonimmigrant for immigration purposes.
If you receive payments from the University, Sprintax Calculus will determine your tax residency status and the appropriate taxation on your income. Calculus will conduct the Substantial Presence Test, asking for a history of prior visits to the U.S. to determine whether you are a resident alien or non-resident alien for tax purposes.
A non-resident alien for tax purposes is a person who is not a U.S. citizen and who does not meet either the “green card” or the “substantial presence” test as described in IRS Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.
- F and J student visa holders are considered non-resident aliens during their first five calendar years in the U.S.
- J professors and researchers, are considered non-resident aliens during their first two calendar years in the U.S.
A resident alien for tax purposes is a person who is a U.S. citizen or a foreign national who meets either the “green card” or “substantial presence” test as described in IRS Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.
- F and J student visa holders are considered resident aliens after five calendar years in the U.S.
- J researchers and professors are considered resident aliens after two calendar years in the U.S.
Federal vs. State Tax Filing
In the U.S. we distinguish between federal and state taxes for tax filing. If you have lived or worked in more than one state last year, you might be required to file income taxes for each state, in addition to your federal income taxes. You can use Sprintax to file your federal returns for free and your state returns for a fee (available mid-February).
The term “income” refers to money received for work or through investments or from other sources, such as dividend income, scholarship or fellowships, prizes or awards. A detailed summary of what is considered U.S. source income for the purpose of tax returns can be found on the IRS website.