Taxes

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TAX REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

TAX FILING DEADLINES
May 17, 2021 - if you earned income in 2020
October 15, 2021 - if you had no income in 2020

The following information does not constitute legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for advice obtained from the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) or a qualified tax professional. Rutgers Global–International Student and Scholar Services staff are neither licensed nor qualified to provide personalized tax advice and therefore cannot answer specific tax questions or help you prepare your tax forms. The following information has been prepared to assist Rutgers–New Brunswick's F and J visa holders in understanding general tax filing obligations and to answer some of the most common questions international students and scholars generally have about taxation in the United States. If you have questions that are not covered by the information provided, please contact a tax professional. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to meet your tax obligations and do so accurately.

If you were present in the US even for 1 day during 2020, then you have tax filing obligations. 

Consequences of Not Filing Your Tax Forms

Penalties for not complying with the filing requirement can include but are not limited to:

  • Denials of future requests for a Change of Status (especially to Permanent Resident)
  • Denials of visa renewals at American Consulates/Embassies
  • Fines and interest will accrue on unreported income and could result in more money being owed to the IRS in the future
  • If filed more than 3 years late, a refund will not be remitted by the IRS to the taxpayer

If you don't file your tax forms with the IRS by the tax deadline, or need to correct a mistake, you may be able to submit an amended tax return or mail the necessary tax documents even after the deadline date. Consult with a tax professional for assistance if you need to adjust a previously filed tax return.

Be Aware of Tax Scams and Fraud

Each year, scammers claiming to be IRS or other government employees ask students and scholars for money that is "owed" to avoid any so-called tax penalties or fees. Please be aware and cautious of such calls, emails, letters or unusual contacts. These scammers might even say that they will call the police if you hang up or you will get deported if you do not comply with their requests. Review our Tips to Avoid Scams and Fraud to protect yourself.

Additional Resources 

About Filing Taxes with the IRS

Who needs to file +

All international students, scholars and their dependents are legally required to report to the IRS for each year they have been present in the US.  

If you were present in the U.S. at any time in the previous calendar year, in F-1 or J-1 status you must file Form 8843 on or before June15, even if you had no earned income. Mailing instructions can be found on page 2 of the form. If you are only filing Form 8843, no social security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is required. Form 8843 is not an income tax return. It is an informational statement for certain non-resident aliens (including spouses and dependents of non-resident aliens). 

If you have earned income in the United States, you will need to file federal and state tax returns.

When to File +

TAX FILING DEADLINES
May 17, 2021 - if you earned income in 2020
October 15, 2021 - if you had no income in 2020

Federal tax forms for the tax year being reported must be filed no later than April 15 of the following year. Individuals who for any reason are unable to file their tax forms by April 15 must submit an application for extension of the filing deadline on IRS Form 4868. 

NOTE:
Students/scholars who are abroad can complete and print their income tax return forms, sign them, and then mail them to the IRS from abroad to the appropriate U.S. filing address by the filing deadline.  Students/scholars filing State income tax returns will want to check each State’s tax website to confirm filing deadlines (though most States will adjust to be in line with Federal income tax filings).

What is Your Tax Designation? (Nonresident or Resident) +

Your tax residency (whether you are a nonresident alien or a resident alien for tax purposes) determines how you are taxed and which tax forms you need to fill out. You can find out more about tax residency on the IRS "Introduction to Residency Under U.S. Tax Law" page and in IRS Publication 519 (available on the IRS website).

Most F and J students and scholars are nonresident aliens for tax purposes; however, a few are considered "residents" or "resident aliens." Please note that "resident for tax purposes" is only a tax filing status. It does not mean that you are a resident by other definitions. Being a "resident" for tax purposes is NOT the same as being a resident for tuition purposes or a U.S. permanent resident (green hard holder). 

  • F-1 and J-1 students are normally considered nonresidents for federal tax purposes only during the first five calendar years inside the United States (and this includes previous visa statuses inside the United States). Calculations should include any part of a calendar year. After five years, F-1 and J-1 students are presumed to be residents for federal tax purposes by the IRS. 

  • J-1 professors and research scholars are normally considered nonresidents for federal tax purposes during their first two calendar years in the United States Calculations should include any part of a calendar year.  After two years, J-1 professors/scholars are presumed to be residents for federal tax purposes by the IRS. 

How to File Federal Taxes +

Nonresident Filing Status
Rutgers Global–ISSS provides access to GLACIER Tax Prep, a software program that will allow you to complete nonresident federal tax forms by answering a series of questions about your situation. This software is only intended for use by those filing as "nonresidents."

Individuals on F-2 or J-2 status must file their own tax return or Form 8843 separate from the F-1 or J-1 student or scholar, if both are nonresidents for federal tax purposes. In these situations, the F-2 or J-2 spouse must make sure that their tax return or Form 8843 is mailed out inside an entirely separate envelope from the F-1 or J-1’s tax return or Form 8843. Nonresidents for federal tax purposes cannot file jointly. 

Resident Filing Status

Do not use the GLACIER Tax Prep Program if you determined that you are a "resident" for federal tax purposes. The GLACIER Tax Prep program does not prepare taxes for “resident” taxpayers. “Residents” for federal tax purposes may wish to purchase a commercial tax software program such as TurboTaxH & R Block, or you may wish to access other commercial products (some free, some low-cost) listed online at http://www.irs.gov/

Students and scholars requiring more detailed assistance beyond the GLACIER Tax Prep program and the information provided below should consult a qualified tax specialist. Be aware, however, that nonresident tax regulations are only a very small part of U.S. tax laws, so not all tax specialists are experts in nonresident tax matters. If you do work with a tax specialist, be sure to ask him or her what qualifications and experience they have with nonresident taxes. 

How to File New Jersey State Taxes +

You may need to file for every state you lived and/or worked. We are providing information here that is only relevant for New Jersey. If your domicile (where you live) is New Jersey, and you work in NJ, and you spent more than 183 days of the tax year in NJ, you are considered a resident for State tax purposes. More information about State taxes and required forms available are available at public libraries and on the NJ Division of Taxation website.  

Your residency status and income determine whether you are required to file a NJ Income Tax return. Please review the most current information on the NJ Division of Taxation website for detailed information about your state tax filing obligations, and to calculate your residency status.

If you made income in another state or lived in another state and would like to know about that state's filing requirements, please click here.

Glacier Tax Prep +

PLEASE REVIEW THE INFORMATION AND INSTRUCTIONS IN THIS SECTION CAREFULLY BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO LOG INTO GLACIER TAX PREP.

Rutgers Global–International Student and Scholar Services provides access to GLACIER Tax Prep, a software program that will allow you to complete nonresident federal tax forms by answering a series of questions about your situation. This software is only for those filing as "nonresidents."

DO NOT attempt to log in if you are filing as a "resident." We have a limited number of allotments per our license agreement and each log in exhausts one of them.

 

TAX TREATIES +

Some countries have tax treaty agreements with the U.S. in which certain types of income may be exempted from federal (not state) taxes.

  • The actual tax treaty text may also be found on the IRS website

International students and scholars who are nonresidents for tax purposes and intend to take advantage of a tax treaty benefit should provide IRS Form 8233 and a tax treaty statement to their U.S. income provider in order to reduce or avoid tax withholding on income.  For students and scholars at Rutgers University this is often completed through the GLACIER process.  If not, GLACIER Tax Prep will help determine if you were eligible for a tax treaty and provide the necessary documentation. 

Note: Tax treaty benefits are only eligible for federal taxes and not NJ state tax.