All nonresident aliens must complete a U.S. tax return each year, even if they do not have any income or if all of their income is tax exempt under a tax treaty. At Rutgers, all nonresident aliens in a non-immigrant visa category (e.g. F-1, J-1, H-1B, etc.), who were present in the U.S. during 2015, are required to file certain tax forms with the federal government, even if they received no taxable income during the tax year.
Please note: The Office of International Students & Programs does not have expertise in taxes and is not able to provide one-on-one advising regarding filing tax returns, questions about forms, etc.
The following situational requirements will walk you through what is required in each situation:
Q: I am an international student/scholar, and I had no earned income in 2016. Nor did I receive a W-2. What am I required to file?
A: Any international student or scholar who did not have any earned income (and who did not receive a W-2) in 2016 is still required to file a Form 8843 with the IRS. Anyone who received a W-2 should proceed to the next question.
Deadline: Anyone filing only Form 8843 has until June 15, 2017.
All students and scholars in F-1 and J-1 non-immigrant status, and their F-2/J-2 dependents are required to file the IRS Form 8843 regardless of whether they have income in the U.S. or not!
Q: I worked for Rutgers (or for another employer) in 2016, and I have a W-2 for wages earned and taxes paid. What am I required to file?
A: An individual who received a W-2 and who was employed in the U.S. in 2016 is required to file a Federal Tax Return and a State Tax Return. State Tax Returns may be required for each state in which you were employed. The correct tax forms to be filed depend on an individual’s residency status for tax purposes. The IRS determines tax residency based on two classifications:
- Residents: All U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, and nonresident aliens for immigration purposes who have met the Substantial Presence Test (see attached for more information).
- Nonresident Aliens: All others, regardless of immigration status. Many international students/scholars are considered "nonresident aliens" for tax purposes.
The IRS uses the Substantial Presence Test (SPT) to determine when nonresident aliens for immigration purposes have been in the U.S. long enough to be considered residents for tax purposes. RU employees may contact the Payroll Office for information on their SPT; all others should consult the IRS Publication 519 for additional information.
All nonresident aliens for tax purposes who earned income in the U.S. in 2016 must complete and file the Form 1040NR or if eligible Form 1040NR-EZ. All nonresident aliens are also required to complete and submit Form 8843 as well. Each of these forms provides detailed instructions and information on when and where to submit.
All nonresident aliens for tax purposes who earned income in the state of New Jersey in 2016 must complete and file NJ Form 1040. Again, this form comes with detailed instructions.
Deadline: Both Federal and State Tax Returns must be filed by April 16, 2017.
Q: I am a student who received a scholarship or fellowship funds, but did not receive a W-2 for earned income. What am I required to file?
A: If a nonresident alien only has a 1042-S, and not a W-2, such as someone who has only received scholarship/fellowship payments or if all of their income is exempt under a tax treaty, they have until June 15 to file their tax return.
By Jan 31, 2017, you should have received a W-2 from each employer who paid you in 2016. The W-2 is a summary of your wages and taxes paid and will be required when filing federal and state taxes.
Form 1042-S is created for anyone considered a nonresident alien for US tax purposes who received payments from the University fellowship/scholarship, independent contracted services, or royalties as well as anyone with a benefit under a tax treaty with their resident country. By March 15, 2017 you will receive your 2016 1042-S Form.
Disclaimer: The information contained on this site does not constitute professional tax advice. The OIS is able to provide general advice and information, and direction to resources. We cannot make determinations or recommendations on your individual tax situation, and it is your responsibility to file correctly based on your individual situation. The information housed here is not a substitute for advice obtained by the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) or by a qualified tax professional.