All non-immigrants in the United States are required to file annual U.S. income tax forms, whether or not they earn income in the U.S. Each year ISSS organizes tax workshops for the international community at UNC, usually in March or April.
Students receiving non-service scholarships, fellowships, or grants are responsible for paying income taxes on the amounts of their award that qualify as taxable, such as room and board. The amount of withholding may vary depending on tax treaties between the U.S. and your country.
Eligibility for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
Students who are not employed by the University who receive a non-service scholarship, fellowship or grant and do not have a U.S. social security number will need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) for tax withholding and reporting purposes. The ITIN is not a photo identification. It does not change your immigration status or your right to work in the United States.
The ITIN is a number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to people who are not employed or who do not qualify for a Social Security Number but need to have a number for federal tax or banking purposes. Students who are not employed by the University who receive a non-service award or wish to claim tax treaty benefits will need to apply for an ITIN. Dependent visa holders who are not eligible for a Social Security Number but have a need for a number for a federal tax return, including claiming reduced withholding under an income tax treaty should also apply for an ITIN.
Tax withholding and reporting is required by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service with respect to most payments made to non-resident aliens. Taxes may be automatically deducted from award payments by the University or other funding source. If tax is not withheld before payment is made, students should be prepared to save sufficient funds to pay their taxes each year. A tax treaty with your country may reduce the amount of withholding.
Obtaining an ITIN
Instructions for Students, Scholars and Dependents in F or J status
Students and scholars and their dependents in F-1, F-2, J-1 or J-2 immigration status must apply for the ITIN through International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). Please make an appointment with an ISSS advisor to apply for your ITIN. An ISSS advisor will provide a letter required as part of the W-7 filing, copy the necessary documents for the W-7 application, and assist you in mailing the packet to the IRS.
NOTE: It takes the IRS an average of 6 to 8 weeks to process an ITIN application, and longer during peak periods (January 15-April 30). You should follow up with the IRS for applications still outstanding after 8 weeks. If you receive a notification from the ITIN Department of the IRS saying your ITIN was not assigned, bring the notice to an ISSS advisor who will advise you how to proceed.
Immigration Status Other than F or J
Individuals in an immigration status other than F or J who have federal tax reporting or filing requirements and do not qualify for social security numbers may apply for an ITIN in person at a Taxpayer Assistance Center (Durham is the closest) or by mail. Please carefully read the General ITIN Information and follow the instructions for form W-7 and in Publication 1915.
Reporting your ITIN
If your application for an ITIN is approved, you will be sent a notice containing the number which will be mailed to the address you indicated on the W-7 form. If you are a student, report the number to the University Registrar (Records Section) along with your scholarship organization (if not UNC).
Disclaimer: This information is based on guidance from the IRS, but it is not guaranteed that you will receive an ITIN.