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General Tax Information

We understand tax filing is confusing to everyone, so please do take some time to understand what your tax obligations are as international students.

BE ADVISED: Other than providing this information the International Center cannot answer any questions in regards to filing your taxes. Our staff are not trained accountants and, legally, we cannot advise you through the filing process. We can only provide you with links to the appropriate sources and forms. All tax questions must be directed to a professional. If you come to the International Center seeking help with your taxes you will be told this same information and our staff will not answer any specific questions regarding the filing of your taxes.

The International Center partners with Sprintax, a tax preparation software specializing in non-residents holding  F1, F2, J1 & J2 visas.  During tax season, you will be able to purchase Sprintax software and attend one of their free online webinars to help you prepare and file your US taxes. 

Please note: do not use any of the popular TURBO TAX or HR Block or other tax preparation services which are for residents and they are not familiar with tax obligations for non-resident international students with F1, F2, J1 and J2 visas. 

 Do I need to submit a tax filing for the current tax year even if I didn’t receive income? 
  • YES! EVERYONE, who were present in the United States on a F1, F2, J1 or J2 visa, for any length of time, are required to submit at the very minimum Form 8843
  • It doesn’t matter if you did not work on-campus or did not receive scholarship from a U.S.. source.  You all need to submit Form 8843.
  • If you received income from a U.S.. source, you will most likely need to file additional forms.
 Why do I have to file a tax return?
  • It is a legal requirement of the United States. 
  • Failure to file tax paperwork may impact the current status of your visa and make future visa or immigration paperwork applications difficult.
  • Failure to file tax paperwork may also result in monetary penalties.
  • You may be owed a tax refund – this is not a guarantee for every student.
What forms do I file?  Am I considered Resident or Non-Resident for Tax Purposes?
  • For tax filing purposes, there are two categories you would be considered under: 
    • RESIDENT for tax filing purposes
    • NON-RESIDENT for tax filing purposes
    • To determine which category you belong to for tax filing purposes, you must do the Substantial Presence Test. 
    • The easiest way is to do this is to create a free account on Sprintax and go through the questionnaire which will let you know if you are considered resident or non-resident.   
The below information is for those students considered as NON-RESIDENTS based on the Substantial Presence Test.  If you were categorized as a RESIDENT for tax filing purposes, contact the International Center so that we can provide you with the appropriate website links for you.

FILING INFORMATION FOR NON-RESIDENT  (based on Substantial Presence Test)
IF you are a NON-RESIDENT for tax purposes, these are the forms you need to file:
  • Form 8843 – If you are considered Non-Resident for tax purposes and you have an F1, F2, J1, J2 visa.  And if you were present in the U.S. during the current tax year.  You are required to submit Form 8843 for that year (see below for more info).
  • Form 1040-NR – If you are considered Non-Resident for tax purposes and you received income from an U.S.. institution (on-campus job, gains for stock sales, non-tuition scholarship awards…), you will need to file at least Form 1040-NR for Federal Taxes and possibly another one for State taxes.  See below for more info. 
1040-NR vs 1040 – read this blog  to understand 1040-NR:

How do I file my tax return as a NON-RESIDENT for tax purposes?
If you have income, the filing process can be difficult and overwhelming, so we highly suggest using a tax preparation service familiar with F-1, J-1 visas tax filing obligations such as Sprintax (Do not use TurboTax or other popular tax preparation services as they are not familiar with your situation). 
  • The International Center has been offering a limited number of $5 access codes for Federal Tax preparation through Sprintax, which is an online software that specializes in tax preparation services for international students.  During tax season, you will receive an email from the International Center with information on how to purchase this software. 
  • Once these discounted access codes are sold out, you can also sign up and pay for their service through their website click here.
  • Please note, you should start with the Federal Tax form service first and depending on your situation, you will find out if you also need to sign up for the State Tax form service which will result in an additional fee. 
  • You can also choose to go to a tax preparation company for a fee, however, make sure the tax preparer understands your status as an international student on F-1, F-2, J-1 and J-2 Visa.   Please note, you are not eligible to use the popular TURBO tax software/online service which is only for residents.  
  • You also have the option to file your taxes on your own using the forms links provided below.  If you choose to do this, carefully read through the instructions for each form. The process can be quite confusing and unclear. 
Federal Tax Forms for NON-RESIDENTS: State Tax Forms for NON-RESIDENTS:
  •  If you earned taxable income in the U.S.. during the current tax year, you might also need to file state tax paperwork for the respective state in which you worked in.
  •  For information on Connecticut State tax filing, see the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services: You will need to fill out the CT-1040NR/PY
  • If you have income for the tax year coming from states other than Connecticut you must research the tax policies/procedures for the state from which you received the taxable income.