Tax Information for International Students
International students are subject to both state and federal income taxes, and may not claim exempt using Form W-4. If you are present in the United States for less than five years and in F-1 or J-1 immigration status, you are exempt from FICA (Social Security and Medicare taxes).
Students from countries that have tax treaties with the United States may be eligible to exempt a portion of their earnings from taxes.
If Your Country Has a Tax Treaty with the U.S.
Bring your passport, I-94, visa, and I-20 or DS-2019 to Student Payroll. It takes approximately 30 minutes to complete a tax treaty packet consisting of the following documents:
- Form 8233 (Exemption from Withholdings on Compensation for Independent Personal Services of a Nonresident Alien Individual)
- Foreign National Data Sheet
- Treaty letter
These forms must be completed each calendar year in order to claim exempt status.
You may claim only one tax treaty each calendar year.
Your country’s treaty letter identifies the limit on tax exempt earnings. Your tax treaty will be turned off by Student Payroll when your earnings reach that limit.
If Your Country Does Not Have a Tax Treaty with the U.S.
Complete Form W-4.
- You must claim 1 allowance from withholding at the single rate on line 5.
- Enter NRA (a tax term which stands for “Non-Resident Alien”) on line 6.
International students from Canada, Mexico, India, or Korea, or who have been present in the United States for more than 5 1/2 years, may claim married and may claim more than one allowance.
Other Required Tax Forms
Each year, you must file a 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ tax return and Form 8843 with the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These forms are available on the IRS website or by calling the IRS at 1-800-829-3676.
You may also be required to file a Massachusetts Income Tax Form with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR). Consult the DOR website to determine your filing responsibilities. Forms are available on the DOR website or by calling 1-800-392-6089.
Additional Tax Information
See the ISSO website for more information on filing requirements.
The IRS also has publications available to assist you with your tax status:
- Publication 515: Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens
- Publication 901: United States Tax Treaties
- Publication 597: United States-Canada Tax Treaty
- Publication 519: United States Tax Guide