Tax Information

 

Federal Tax

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the government agency of the U.S. that collects taxes. As an F-1 or J-1 student, you may need to file forms with the IRS each year no matter if you earned income or not in the past year. It is your responsibility to meet the tax obligations. If you receive taxable income, the deadline to file tax this year is April 18, 2016. If you did not receive salary last year, you only need to complete and mail the IRS Form 8843. You need to mail IRS Form 8843 by June 15, 2016. Please be aware that ISSS does not offer individual tax assistance. To learn more about tax, please go to IRS’s website at https://www.irs.gov/Filing.

 

Arizona state taxes

Other than federal tax, you are also subject to Arizona income tax on all income from Arizona sources. If you are in this state for a temporary or transitory purpose, or did not live in Arizona but received income from sources within Arizona, you are subject to Arizona tax as well. The deadline to file tax this year is April 18, 2016.

Income from Arizona sources includes:

  • Wages
  • Rental income
  • Business income
  • The sale of Arizona real estate
  • Interest and dividends having a taxable or business status in this state
  • Any other income from an Arizona source

For more information, or a list of available forms, please visit the Arizona Department of Revenue's website. For individual assistance with filing your Arizona tax return, please contact the Arizona Department of Revenue at 1-800-352-4090.

 

Resource Provided by NAU

To help the international students and scholars meet the tax obligations, Northern Arizona University purchases Glacier Tax Prep (GTP) software, a web-based tax return preparation system designed exclusively for international students and scholars to file tax for free. This software will automatically determine which tax form you need based on the information you put into the website of GTP. After you get and complete the form(s), you also need to mail the form(s). At the beginning of every calendar year, information will be sent to international students on how to access GTP from anywhere in the world to file their taxes.

If you were employed by NAU, you should have received an email from NAU Human Resources with instructions on how to access GLACIER Tax Prep through GLACIER at http://www.online-tax.net.

If you were not employed by NAU (and are not registered in GLACIER), you need to use the common access code to access to GLACIER Tax Prep at www.glaciertax.com/login . You can find the common access code from the email we sent you at the beginning of each calendar year. Please don’t share the common access code with other people.

 

Form(s) to Use

Your individual situation determines which form(s) to file. Forms come with instructions.

  • If you received no U.S. source income in 2015 and you are a nonresident alien for tax purposes, you must file Form 8843 by June 15, 2016.
  • Federal tax:
  • If you received wages or taxable scholarships from U.S. sources and you are a nonresident alien for tax purposes, you must file Form 8843 AND 1040NR-EZ (see instruction here) or 1040NR (see instruction here) by April 18, 2016. Form 1040NR-EZ is shorter and limited to specific situations, while the Form 1040NR accommodates all types of income. You must determine whether Form 1040NR-EZ or 1040NR better fits your tax situation. You can use the 1040NR-EZ if all the following conditions are met:
    • You do not claim any dependents.
    • You cannot be claimed as a dependent on someone else's U.S. tax return.
    • If you were married, you do not claim an exemption for your spouse.
    • Your taxable income is less than $100,000.
    • You are not claiming any itemized deductions (other than for state and local income taxes).
    • Your only U.S. source income is from wages, salaries, tips, taxable refunds of state and local income taxes, and scholarship or fellowship grants. (If you had taxable interest or dividend income, you must use Form 1040NR instead of 1040NR-EZ.)
    • The only adjustments to income you can claim are the exclusion for scholarship and fellowship grants or the student loan interest deduction.
    • You are not claiming any credits.
    • The only taxes you owe are the income tax from the Tax Table and/or unreported Social Security and Medicare tax from Forms 4137 or 8919.
    • You are not claiming a credit for excess Social Security and tier 1 RRTA tax withheld.
    • This is not an "expatriation return." See instructions for Form 1040NR for more information.
    • If you do not meet all of the above conditions, you must file Form 1040NR.
    • State tax: You (may) need to file form 140NR before April 18, 2016. Please see instruction here.

 

Mail it After You Complete the Form(s)

After you complete the form(s), you need to mail the completed form(s) to the IRS and the State of Arizona Department of Revenue. Please find the mailing addresses from the federal and state tax forms.

 

Other Information You Need Before You File

Other than forms described above, you also need to have other information before beginning the filing process.

  • 1042-S: The 1042-S form will be given to nonresident alien students who have received benefits of a tax treaty for employment, scholarship, or fellowship income. You will not receive a copy of the 1042-S form if you only have a tuition waiver on your account and do not receive any checks. You can download 1042-S from GTP.
  • Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement: W-2 forms are mailed to current and former employees. This form shows how much you earned last year and how much was taken out for taxes. You will only receive this form if you have been employed.
  • Form 1099 (if applicable): The 1099 form documents miscellaneous income. For example, if you had CPT authorization to work as an independent contractor, rather than as an employee of an organization, you might receive Form 1099 instead of Form W-2 to document your earnings.
  • Social Security number or Individual Tax Identification number (generally not required if you will file only Form 8843)
  • U.S. entry and exit dates for current and past visits to U.S.
  • Address information (current U.S. address and foreign address)
  • Passport
  • I-20 (F-1 status)
  • DS-2019 (J-1 or J-2 status)
  • Academic institution or host sponsor information (name, address, phone)
  • Scholarship/fellowship grant letter (if any)
  • A copy of last year's federal income tax return, if filed

 

Important Concepts You Need to Know

Taxable Income

There are taxable income and non-taxable income in the United States. For students and scholars who are considered nonresidents for tax purposes, interest income is not taxable if it comes from a U.S. bank, a U.S. savings and loan institution, a U.S. credit union, or a U.S. insurance company. Generally income from foreign sources is not taxable. Wages that appear on form W-2 are taxable. Scholarship or fellowship income that requires services (i.e. teaching or service assistant) will be treated as wages (like employment). Scholarships, fellowships, and grants may be partially taxed. For degree-seeking students, portions used for tuition, fees, books, supplies, and required equipment are not taxed; portions used for other expenses, like room, board, and travel, are taxable.

Tax Treaties

The United States has income tax treaties with many foreign countries. Residents of these foreign countries may be taxed at a reduced rate or be exempt from U.S. income tax withholding on specific kinds of U.S.-source income. Treaties vary among countries. If the treaty does not cover a particular kind of income, or if there is no treaty between your country and the U.S., you must pay tax on the income in the same way and at the same rates shown in the instructions for Form 1040NR.

Social Security Number and Individual Taxpayer Identification Number

A Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) usually is used when you are filing a tax return. You can apply for a Social Security Number when you legally get a job in the United States. If you are filing a tax return and are not eligible to apply for a Social Security number, you may obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). If you earned no U.S.-source income and are only submitting form 8843, you do not need to apply for the Social Security number or ITIN.

Resident for Tax Purposes

“Alien” is a legal term for noncitizen of the United States. For tax purposes, there are three types of alien: nonresident, dual-status, and resident. Please be aware that the categories here are for tax purpose only and are not related to immigration status. You can learn what your status is from Substantial Presence Test and Exempt Individual and The Closer Connection Exception to the Substantial Presence Test for Foreign Students. If you have determined, based on the substantial presence test or marriage to a U.S. citizen or resident alien, that you are considered a resident for tax purposes, then you will generally have the same federal income tax requirements as a U.S. citizen. Please note that in this context, the term “resident” applies only to your tax requirements and is not related to your immigration status. See Publication 17: Your Federal Income Tax Guide