The U.S. government (Internal Revenue Service-IRS) requires individuals pay Federal and State taxes if they are employed in the U.S. or if they receive other types taxable “income” such as; unqualified scholarship, investment earnings, interest earned on certain savings accounts, etc...
The IRS has different tax laws and forms for resident tax payers and non-resident tax payers. F students, J students and scholars, and some other limited visitors to the U.S. are considered non-resident taxpayers for a set period of time. Being a non-resident means that you may be eligible to claim tax treaty benefits and any other non-resident provisions. An IRS calculation (substantial presence test) based on the number of years present in the U.S. determines if a student is a non-resident or resident for tax purposes.
The tax rate an individual pays is dependent on many things. The University must have an I-9 employment eligibility form and W-4 statement for each university employee. The W-4 form helps the UAH payroll department estimate the tax burden before any payment is made to an employee. Taxes are deducted each pay period throughout the year. At the end of the tax year, individuals who have earned taxable income must file the appropriate tax forms to reconcile the amount of taxes they paid throughout the year with the amount that the IRS determines should have been withheld. Each time a F student obtains new on-campus employment, changes the end date listed on the I-20, starts working with OPT permission, or obtains a new visa status, a new I-9 employment eligibility form must be updated with the hiring department.
ALL students in F and J status must file an 8843 form with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for each tax year they are present in the U.S. in a non-resident tax status. The 8843 form must be sent to the IRS by the June 15 th deadline for each F1/J1 and F2/J2 dependent in the U.S. The U.S. tax year starts on January 1 st and ends December 31 st each year. That means that a student present any time during the tax year must file an 8843 form.
In addition, any F or J student and other foreign national who is employed while in the U.S. or receives other taxable income is required to file tax paperwork in order to report all income and taxes paid to both the Federal and State governments. The deadline for filing taxes is April 15 th. The ISSO will offer information, resources and general tax guidance in February, March and early April for non-resident taxpayers. It is ESSENTIAL that F and J students and scholars complete the proper tax paperwork specific to non-resident taxpayers. F and J students and scholars should take advantage of the free tax assistance offered by the UAH VITA site each year. Volunteers are trained to provide assistance to students who must file non-resident tax forms.
Students who have been authorized by immigration to work off-campus (CPT or OPT) and are non-residents for tax purposes are not required to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes. Often off-campus employers will deduct these taxes from a student’s paycheck unknowingly. Students can obtain guidance from the ISSO about filing an IRS form 8316 & 843 to recover SS/FICA taxes that were withheld incorrectly.
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