Filing Income Taxes
All students attending on an F-1 visa – and their dependents – are required to submit documentation to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for tax purposes, even if they did not work or receive any income. This means that you will need to file a form with the IRS.
Tax Filing Deadlines and Instructions for 2020
Any U.S. Income*
You will need to complete IRS Form 8843 and you may need to also file a tax return, such as a Form1040NR, by the tax filing deadline of April 15, 2021. You can find Form 8843 on the IRS website.
The International Student Programs office cannot advise you on how to complete your tax return. You may consult with a tax preparation service, professional tax accountant or tax attorney who is knowledgeable about nonresident tax law.
*Note that scholarships, grants or stipends may count as income under IRS rules.
No U.S. Income
You will need to complete IRS Form 8843 and mail it to the IRS. You can find Form 8843 on the IRS website. This form is not a tax return and a U.S. Social Security number is not required. It is an informational form required by the U.S. government for certain nonresidents and their dependents.
- F-1 visa students should be wary of free tax services or tax prep software like Turbo Tax, which are designed for resident tax payers and may not properly handle your nonresident tax status.
- Two paid software services that are specifically designed to help nonresidents file their taxes are Glacier Tax Prep and Sprintax.
- IRS Foreign Students and Scholars Webpage
- State of California Franchise Tax Board
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
- NAFSA Federal Income Tax Brochure
The International Student Programs staff are not tax experts and cannot provide you with advice on how to file your taxes. Each individual has a unique tax situation and is responsible for his or her own taxes.