How to File Your Taxes
ISSS has purchased WINDSTAR, a tax preparation software system specifically designed for international students and scholars. WINDSTAR will determine which forms you need to complete and will complete them for you according to the answers you give.
The filing deadline for the 2011 tax year has already passed. If you were present in the United States in 2011 and have not yet filed, you should do so as soon as possible.
Next year, ISSS will post the filing instructions for 2012 in February 2013.
The following steps will ensure your tax filing is as painless and informed as we can make it:
Taxes and the IRS
As in most countries, the tax laws in the United States are very complex.
Tax treaty benefits, Social Security taxes and filing requirements depend on:
- your visa status
- the purpose of your visit
- the number of days you will be in the United States
- the history of prior visits
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the U.S. government agency that collects taxes.
As a non-resident F-1 or J-1 student, you may need to file forms each year with the IRS, even if you earned no income.
IT IS YOUR INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY TO UNDERSTAND AND MEET YOUR TAX OBLIGATIONS.
Generally, TAX RETURNS ARE DUE every April 15th based on earnings from the previous year, though there are exceptions to this deadline.
These resources should help you better understand your tax obligation, to learn what and where to research, and to successfully submit your tax forms.
*THIS IS MEANT TO BE A GENERAL INTRODUCTION AND CANNOT BE CONSIDERED LEGAL TAX ADVICE.
Taxation of Exchange Visitors
While employers do deduct money from your paycheck throughout the year and send it to the IRS, it may not equal the exact amount owed at the end of the year. If too much was deducted, you may be eligible for a refund. Or, perhaps if not enough was deducted, and you may owe more.
Salary from a job is not the only kind of earning taxed; many types of income are taxable.
Even if you did not work and do not owe any taxes, you may need to submit Form 8843 to the IRS.
Under normal circumstances, visitors in J-1 status do not pay Social Security or Medicare taxes. If your country has a Tax Treaty with the United States, then a portion of your income is generally exempt from tax withholding for a certain period of time specified by the treaty.
Some kinds of income are taxed while others are not.
- Generally income from foreign sources is not taxed.
- Wages that appear on form W-2 are taxable.
- Scholarship or fellowship income that requires services (i.e. teaching 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.
This information is intended only for international students and scholars who are non-resident alien taxpayers with income sources and level typical of students and scholars at Baylor University. Although the information contained in this site has been reviewed carefully and should be adequate to assist most international students and scholars, it is not a substitute for advice obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or a qualified tax accountant. If your visa status has changed in the past year, or you believe you have a complicated tax issue, please consult the IRS or a qualified tax accountant.