Do International Students Need to File US Taxes?

by: Grayson Leverenz

updated for 2012

It’s that time of year again. Accountants work tirelessly. People storm the post office at midnight. Those that underpaid mourn writing that check to the government. Those that overpaid rejoice that a return is on the way. And, yes, the government expects International Students to file. 

In fact, everyone living in the US must report to the government, even if you didn’t make any money last year. Not to worry if this is news to you as an International student, follow the steps below and you can easily adhere to the requirements before the April 17th 2012 midnight deadline.

Who: International students temporarily living in the US under an F, J, M or Q visa.

What: File a US tax Form 8843 if you lived in the US for any part of 2011, and did not receive any income. If you earned money during the year, you will have to complete the appropriate tax form (e.g. 1040, 1040EZ).

When: By midnight April 17, 2012.

Where: If you do not have to complete a 2011 US tax return (e.g. 1040, 1040EZ), mail your Form 8843 to The Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service Center, Austin, TX 73301-0215.

How: Download the Form 8843 form from irs.gov by clicking here. Read the instructions on pages 3 & 4 prior to filling out the form. Complete pages 1 & 2, and take it to the post office. If you have any problems, check in with your International Programs office. I’m sure they’re ready to help!

image: mtsofan / Creative Commons

Author: Grayson Leverenz

Grayson Leverenz founded MBA in the USA® to help international students build networks, find jobs, and have fun in the USA. Hundreds of global professionals have benefited from Grayson’s intercultural workshops, and she has worked with people from Brazil, China, India, South Africa, South Korea, the UK, and the USA to build effective virtual teams and craft brilliant careers.

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