All international students and scholars are required to report to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) each year — even if they did not work during the prior year. You will not necessarily need to pay taxes; but reporting your presence in the US is a legal requirement.
Although the OGS cannot advise on tax issues, we hope to give you basic information here as a helpful starting point.
Who Needs to File Tax Reports
If you were present in the US even for 1 day during 2016, then you have tax filing obligations.
When to File
The deadline is April 18. The earliest we recommend you file your taxes is mid-February. If you are unable to file your forms by the deadline, you must submit an application for Automatic Extension of Time to File Your Tax Return to the IRS.
How to File
Gather the following documents
(You may not have or need some of these; this is a list of all documents you might need)
- Passport, Visa, I-94 record
- Exit and Entry Dates for all past US visits
- I-20, DS-2019, or other immigration documents
- Social Security Number (if you don't have one, you will need an Individual Tax Identification Number, which can be obtained through GLACIER Tax Prep; see step 2)
- Current US Address AND Permanent Foreign Address
- Name of Educational Institution or Sponsoring Organization
- Form(s) W-2, 1042-S, 1099
- Scholarship or Fellowship grant letters (if no related Form 1042-S)
- Copy of past year’s tax forms (if you had any)
Use GLACIER Tax Prep (GTP) to file your federal tax return
GTP will help you easily fulfill your tax obligations by asking you a series of questions and filling in all necessary forms for you. It will also inform you of any tax benefits that may apply to you.
1. Get access to GTP by logging in with your NYU net ID and password. GTP will be made available for the next tax year in mid-February. Then you can log into GTP with your user ID and password (hint: if you have never used GTP before you need to create a user ID and password with your NYU email address). Once you log into GTP follow the steps. If your NYU Net ID is not active, first visit https://start.nyu.edu.
2. Print the forms GTP generates. Review, sign and mail them no later than April 18. (GTP will tell you the mailing address)
3. If GTP determines that you are a resident for US tax purposes, it will ask you to file 'resident tax returns' instead.
Resources for this include:
If you had US income during 2016, you must also file a state tax return
State taxes may have different residency guidelines than US taxes. You can use Sprintax to file your state taxes. You must file for every state you lived and/or worked in for 2016.
NEW YORK STATE and CITY TAX
You must file a NY Tax Return if:
a. You are a NY resident and you filed a US tax form (other than Form 8843) for 2016; or
b. You had NY income greater than $4,000 in 2016; or
c. You want a refund of NY State or City taxes withheld from your paycheck in excess of what you actually owed.
- Each individual must confirm their own NY tax status, but, in general, if you lived and/or worked in New York:
- Full-time international students are considered NON-RESIDENTS of NY state and city for tax purposes, and should fill out NY nonresident tax form IT-203
- Other international visitors, including part-time students, J-1 professors and scholars, and individuals in H-4 status are considered NY RESIDENTS for state and city tax purposes; if they both:
1) had a place to stay in NY for at least 11 months; and
2) were physically in NY for at least 6 months of the year. NY Residents should fill NY resident tax form IT-201.
NEW JERSEY STATE TAX
- International students, professors and scholars are considered non-residents for NJ state tax purposes unless they had a “permanent home” in NJ.
- Make sure to confirm your own tax residency to determine your tax filing status NJ state.
- Use the appropriate NJ tax form:
For most students and scholars the advice on this page is enough to successfully file their taxes. But if you have complex tax circumstances you may want to contact one of these companies:
H & R Block
Call 212-268-2038 and ask to schedule an appointment and identify yourself as foreign national.
- To file taxes with H & R Block may cost around $350-$400
- A 15-20 minute consultation typically costs $50
Gary R. Engler & Company
Call 310-440-5557 or email Gary@englercpa.com to schedule a time to meet. Again, this is not a free service. You can also visit http://www.englercpa.com/international.html for more non-resident tax information.
The United States has over 50 tax treaties with different countries. The treaties vary in terms of the benefits they offer to students, the types of income covered, the total amount of the exemption, and the number of years you could claim the benefit. If you file your tax forms with a suitable tax software, the software will automatically factor in any benefit offered through a tax treaty with your country.
For more information on tax treaties, including a list of the countries that the United States has tax treaties with, see IRS Publication 901, US Tax Treaties. Note that tax treaties vary in their implications for state taxes.