International Students’ Tax Obligations

The information provided in this tax section is intended only to give you a general sense of taxpaying requirements and may not be relied upon in preparing your individual tax return.

All nonimmigrants in F or J status (both the principal and all dependents) who are deemed “nonresidents for tax purposes” are required to file an individual income tax form–even if they have no U.S.-source income of any kind–if they were in the U.S. during the tax year, January 1 to December 31.

During the tax year individuals who work in the U.S. or have other U.S.-source income have taxes withheld from their earnings. By April 15th of the following year, one has to file an “income tax return” with the federal tax authorities and possibly also with the tax authorities in the state(s) in which one was employed. A tax return reports your income and either requests a refund if more tax was withheld than is required or may require you to pay additional taxes that are owed. The Internal Revenue Service is the United States government agency responsible for the collection of federal income taxes.

The staff the International Student Program Coordinators’ office is neither qualified nor permitted to answer individual questions from international students regarding their tax liabilities.

Here are some useful links to federal tax forms and instructions:

For Montana tax returns, follow this link:

USEFUL PUBLICATIONS – See the publications listed if you want to learn more about federal tax filing.

NAFSA Federal Income Tax Brochure – Thorough and concise overview of U.S. taxes for non-resident alien students.


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Last modified: May 21, 2014