A Christian College of the Liberal Arts & Sciences

International Students and Taxes

To file or not to file, that is the question?  US income tax laws regarding F-1 international students are complicated.  Here are a few basic guidelines and resources that may help you determine what to do.

Please note that the following information applies only to holders of F-1 student visas.  Permanent Residents are treated just like U.S. citizens regarding taxes and should ignore all information below.  Students on any visa other than F-1 should consult with a tax specialist regarding their filing requirements.

New York State Taxes

Full time undergraduate students whose permanent home is not in New York State are considered nonresidents for NYS tax purposes.  Non residents do not need to file NYS taxes unless;

  • You wish to claim a refund for taxes withheld or
  • Your NY adjusted gross income (federal column amount) exceeded $7,500 (or $3,000 if you can be claimed as a dependent). 

Nonresidents who wish to claim a refund on NYS taxes or whose NY adjusted gross income (federal column amount) exceeds $7,500 should file the following forms:

  • IT-203 "Nonresident and Part-year Resident Income Tax Return"
  • IT-203-B "Nonresident and Part-year Resident Income Allocation and College Tuition Itemized Deduction Worksheet"
  • IT-2 "Summary of W-2 Statements"

Graduate or part-time undergraduate students, as well as any student who maintains a permanent home in New York State should consult with a tax specialist regarding their situation.

Federal Tax Residency

First, determine whether you are a resident or nonresident alien for U.S. tax purposes.  Please note that tax residency is different from immigration residency.  It is entirely possible to have an immigration residency that is different from your tax residency status. 

This determination is done by taking the Substantial Presence Test.

Federal Filing Requirements for Nonresident Aliens

Form 8843

All Nonresident Aliens must file IRS form 8843 (even if you did not earn any income).  There are no exceptions to this requirement.  Some of the questions on this form may be difficult to answer and we strongly recommend that you attend a tax workshop hosted by the Intercultural Student Programs Office.

Federal Tax Return

Many nonresident aliens (including some who do not work on campus) will need to file other tax forms--particularly the 1040NR-EZ. To determine whether you will need to file this form, we recommend attending the tax workshop and utilizing the tax software that Houghton has purchased.

How To File Tax Forms

  • The exact due date for filing forms sometimes changes, but is generally on or around April 15, unless the only form you need to file is 8843 (in which case you have until June 15 to file)
  • Students filing both forms 8843 and 1040NR/1040NR-EZ should mail the forms together at the same time
  • Be sure to mail all W-2's and 1042-S's with your tax forms
  • Make and keep copies of all forms
  • Be sure to sign your forms
  • Forms should be mailed to the following address:
  • Instructions for where to mail forms may be found on the Instruction Sheet provided with the tax forms once you have completed filling your information into the tax software program.

Resources for further information