This webpage aims to provide you with a general sense of tax requirements in the U.S. and should be used for reference purposes only. For the most recent and comprehensive information about taxes, please refer to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) webpage for foreign students and scholars. The IRS is the U.S. government agency responsible for tax collection and tax law enforcement.
All nonimmigrants in F or J status including both the principal and all dependents are required to file an individual income tax form if you were in the US during the tax year (from January 1st to December 31st). By April 15th of the following year, you have to fill an income tax return with the IRS - even if you have no U.S.-source income.
Your complete federal tax return will typically include only Form 8843, but may also include Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ if you received income. If you made less than than the personal exemption (for 2013 this was $3950), you are not required to file your Form 1040. You can consult with the Pierce Country Library System which provides free tax advising online or in person, free online service Turbotax, or tax agencies such as H&R Block. If you are back in your home country, the nearest US embassy may have tax resources available to you.
Being a non-resident alien for immigration purposes does not necessarily mean that you are non-resident alien for tax purposes. Depending on your length of stay in the U.S. and what visa types you have maintained, you may be a resident alien for tax purposes and therefore may have different reporting requirements. See Student Financial Services for assistance on whether you are a RA or NRA for tax purposes.
The following list includes forms and instructions for your reference:
*Disclaimer: Please note that the International Programs staff is neither qualified nor permitted to answer questions regarding students' tax liabilities. If you have any questions, please contact the Payroll Office (Jones 107) or consult with a tax accountant.