Federal and State Income Tax Information
International students and scholars in the U.S. are required to file Federal income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for each year they have earned income in the U.S. Students, scholars, and dependents in F-1, F-2, J-1 and J-2 status may be required to file certain IRS forms each year even if they have not earned income from United States sources. U.S. Income Tax forms and North Carolina State income tax returns for the previous calendar year must be postmarked by midnight April 15 of the following year (unless April 15th falls on a Saturday or Sunday; then forms can be filed on the following Monday).
Students and scholars may receive the following tax documentation:
- IRS Form W-2: This form is issued by an employer by January 31st to verify your employment income.
- IRS Form 1042-S: This document is issued to verify scholarship and/or fellowship income and must be mailed to you no later than March 15th. This will only cover amounts that are above those for tuition and fee payments. If you receive only tuition and fee payments then you will not be issued a 1042-S.
- 1098-T: This form is a tuition payment statement and can be used by those eligible for an educational tax credit.
- 1099-MISC: Issued for income earned from a U.S. account.
Teaching Assistantship (T.A.) and Research Assistantship (R.A.) stipends are considered U.S. employment (wages) and may be reportable and/or taxable. Also taxable are merit awards (athletic scholarships, Fulbright awards, etc.), on amounts not used for educational expenses.
International Students and Scholars filing as Non-Resident for tax purposes
Most international students and scholars will be considered “Non-Resident Aliens” for tax purposes by the IRS. In order to determine your tax status, please review the IRS website.
Tax Filing Forms
These are some of the most commonly used forms for tax filing.
- IRS Form 8843: Individuals in F-1, F-2, J-1 and J-2 status who are non-residents for tax purposes should file this form for each year they are present in the U.S., regardless of whether they earned income in the U.S. If also filing an income tax return as a non-resident for tax purposes, the 8843 must be included with the return.
- IRS Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ: Federal income tax return for individuals filing as non-residents for tax purposes who have U.S. income
- North Carolina Form D-400: State income tax return for individuals with U.S. income earned in North Carolina.
The IRS and the NC DOR will not be accepting or processing tax returns until February 12, 2021. Read more here.
Resources for Tax Filing
- Online Tax Preparation Software: for those filing as nonresident for tax purposes. The following are examples of tax preparation software companies that can assist you with your tax returns. ISSS does not provide any codes for the software listed, and students and scholars must purchase an access code in order to use it.
- Sprintax: Federal tax returns: $37.95 and State tax returns $29.95
- GLACIER Tax Prep($34 for an individual license — Federal returns only)
- Individual/In-person Tax Preparation
- Orange County VITA
- State Employee Credit Union (SECU) VITA
- There are many private tax preparation services and software programs that can assist taxpayers with filing tax returns; most require a fee. Find tax preparation options from the IRS with “Who Will Prepare Your Tax Return?”
*Note: This general information is meant as a basic introduction to the different types of taxes to which people living in North Carolina may be subject and does not constitute legal tax advice. Individuals are responsible for understanding the tax instructions that apply to their own situations. Staff members at International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) are not qualified to and do not give individual tax advice. While many individuals may be able to file tax forms on their own, you may wish to seek professional advice from a tax counselor who understands nonresident tax regulations, especially if you have a very complicated case. Each individual is responsible for the proper handling of his or her income taxes. ISSS disclaims any and all liability resulting from providing this general information.
International Students and Scholars filing as a Resident for tax purposes
To file as a Resident for tax purposes, students and scholars must meet the substantial presence test as described on the IRS website.
Tax Forms and Resources for filing as a RESIDENT for tax purposes
- Internal Revenue Service: See “Forms and Instructions”
- Local IRS office: 3308 Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard, Durham, NC 27707
- NORTH CAROLINA TAX FORMS (NC D-400) and INSTRUCTIONScan be obtained at the following location: http://www.dor.state.nc.us/forms/
- OTHER STATES’ TAX FORMS and INSTRUCTIONScan be obtained at the following website: http://www.taxadmin.org/state-tax-forms
- Private tax preparation services: There are many private tax preparation services and software programs that can assist taxpayers with filing tax returns; most require a fee. Find tax preparation options from the IRS with “Who Will Prepare Your Tax Return?”