International Student Taxes

TAX INFORMATION FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS FOR TAX YEAR 2021

All International students (F-1 and M-1) and their dependents present in the U.S.A. during any part of the 2021 calendar year are responsible for filing annual tax forms.  Filing tax forms is a requirement to maintain your legal non-immigration visa status.  Chabot College cannot provide formal tax advice to individuals.  Accordingly, no information on this page may be considered formal tax advice.  Consult appropriate tax counsel as necessary.  Although the Chabot College International Student Program can not advise on individual’s tax returns, we want to help you find the information and resources you need.  The purpose of this page is to provide general information regarding the complex subject of personal U.S. and California income tax responsibilities of non-U.S. citizens.  

 

U.S. Federal Taxes
The United States tax agency, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), requires every nonimmigrant present in the U.S. in 2021 (even for one day), WHETHER YOU WORKED OR NOT, to file a tax form.  This also applies to your spouses and dependents/children on F-2 visas. The forms that you need to file depend on your status.

 

Nonresident vs. Resident for Tax Purposes
For federal tax purposes, you must first determine whether you are considered a “RESIDENT or a NONRESIDENT alien” for tax purposes.  In legal terms, non-citizens of the U.S. are called “aliens”.  These categories are for tax purposes and are not related to your immigration status.  Anyone who meets the substantial presence test, https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/substantial-presence-test is considered a U.S. resident for tax purposes.  You will be considered a resident for tax purposes if you have physically present in the U.S. for 31 days of the current year, and 183 days within the past 3-year period.   However, F-1 students are temporarily considered an Exempt Individual from the substantial presence test for 5 years.  If you have been in the United States more than any part of 5 calendar years in F status, then you are considered a “RESIDENT alien” for tax purposes and must be taxed like a U.S. citizen. So, if, in 2021, you were physically present in the U.S. for fewer than 5 calendar years as a student (i.e. you arrived on January 1, 2017, or after), you are likely a non-resident for tax purposes. (Note: You must count a calendar year even if you were not present in the U.S. for the entire year.)  If you arrived in the U.S. after December 31, 2021, you do not have to file any tax forms for 2021.

 

Which Forms to Use
If you are considered a Non-Resident for tax purposes and had no U.S. income, wages, scholarship income exempt by treaty in 2021 or are NOT due a refund of taxes, then you and any dependents (spouse and/or children in F-2 status) are only required to file Form 8843 (Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition).  

For free help with this form, go to the Form 8843 Online Wizard

“Non-residents aliens” must file Form 1040NR in addition to Form 8843 for themselves and any spouse and/or dependents in F-2 status, if you had U.S. earned income, had wages or scholarship income not exempt by treaty, had taxable scholarship income or are due a refund of taxes.

IRS Tax Form Links (common for International Students)

Also note:

  • A tax statement, Form 1098-T has been mailed to all Chabot College students that paid tuition in 2021.  This was for “residents” that might be able to claim the HOPE or Tuition Tax Credits.  International students, as nonresidents, may not claim these credits.  There is nothing more for you to do with this form.
  • You are only required to declare U.S. source income.
  • Social Security and Medicare taxes (listed as FICA – Federal Insurance Contributions Act on your W2 Form) should NOT be withheld from your wages.  If your employer has withheld Social Security and Medicare taxes in error, you may request that your employer refund these taxes to you.  If your employer is unable to refund these taxes, file an IRS Form 843 and/or  Form 8316  to request a refund from the IRS.
  • The United States has income tax treaties with a number of foreign countries.  Tax treaties reduce the taxes of foreign residents working in the United States.  Under these treaties, residents of foreign countries are taxed at a reduced rate or exempt from U.S. income taxes on certain items of income they receive from sources within the United States.
  • If you are filing a tax return and not eligible to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN), you may obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).  A Social Security Number or ITIN is necessary only if you are filing a tax return.  If you earned no U.S. source income and are only submitting Form 8843, you do not need to apply for the SSN or ITIN.  To obtain an ITIN, you will need to file Form W-7.  For more information on the ITIN, visit https://www.irs.gov/individuals/individual-taxpayer-identification-number

California State Taxes
The State of California through the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) requires an annual report of income, and assesses tax on the same type of income that is taxed by the federal government.  However, unlike the federal government, California does not require an annual tax report from those who made less than the minimum filing requirement or had no income at all.  Generally, you do not need to file a California Personal Income Tax Return if your gross Income is $19,310 or less.  To determine whether or not you are subject to file a California Tax Return, visit the State of California Franchise Tax Board website at:
https://www.ftb.ca.gov/file/personal/tax-calculator-tables-rates.asp

FTB Tax Form Links

Employer documents:
In order to fill out your federal and state tax forms, you will need the following forms depending on the income you receive: Form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) and/or Form 1042-S (Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding). These forms were mailed to you by your employer by January 31 of this year. If you worked in 2021 and did not receive a W-2 and/or 1042-S, you should contact your employer's payroll department. IF YOU RECENTLY MOVED, MAKE SURE THAT YOUR EMPLOYER KNOWS YOUR NEW ADDRESS.


Filing Deadlines:
If you worked in 2021, the last day to meet your federal and California state tax obligations is Monday, April 18, 2022. (It is typically April 15, but this day is recognized as a holiday, Emancipation Day, in Washington, DC this year).

If you did not earn any income in the U.S. in 2021 your deadline for filing a federal Form 8843 is Wednesday June 15, 2022.  This is the same deadline for F-2 dependents.

Identity Theft & Scams
Please be careful of fraudulent scams and internet “phishing” that use the IRS name or other tax-related references to gain access to your personal information in order to commit identity theft.  The IRS does not send unsolicited emails or request personal information by email.  It also does not request PIN numbers, passwords, or similar secret access information to individuals’ credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.

Tax Assistance
THE ISP STAFF ARE NEITHER QUALIFIED NOR PERMITTED TO GIVE INDIVIDUAL TAX ADVICE.   Students with questions or complicated tax situations are recommended to consult the following tax assistance services provided below:

 

  • Sprintax is an online software service which guides you through the process, prepares the necessary documents and even checks to see if you are due a refund. Chabot College has arranged a $5 discounted access to Sprintax at the above line for the first 30 users. I will send an email directly to you with more information about this.

 

  • Glacier Tax Prep is a company which helps International students with their U.S. tax filing.  It may be ordered for individual use at: https://www.glaciertax.com/.  The cost of this service is $39.

 

 

  • You may consult a tax preparation service, Certified Public Accountant (CPS) or Tax Attorney who is knowledgeable about nonresident tax law.  One such CPA is Gary R. Engler who offers Nonimmigrant Tax Preparation assistance.  More information on his services is given on his website at: http://www.englercpa.com/students.html.

 

  • Well known tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax®, H & R Block at Home™, and Taxslayer™ DO NOT prepare the correct forms for Nonresident internationals.  That software is designed for U.S. residents.