It is required that you file an income tax return since federal, state and local taxes were deducted from the pay you received while working in the United States. You must have a copy of a W-2 form from your employer in order to complete the income tax return. The form will show the total amount of your taxes withheld from your paycheck during the calendar year. Employers are required to issue the W-2 form by January 31 for the prior calendar year (January through December).
Before you leave the U.S., please make arrangements with your employer to receive a paper or electronic copy of your W-2.
New Tax Information
Starting January 1, 2018 (until 2026) the personal exemption has been suspended. In the past, students may have received refunds from the federal government. Due to the change (IRS Publication 515) you will not receive any federal refunds if you have earned less than $9,525. State taxes are not affected by this act, and are dependent on the state you worked in. You may still be eligible for a State refund regardless of the amount you earned.
Deadline to File Tax Return
You are required by law to file a U.S. income tax return. The deadline is April 15 for the previous tax year (January 1 to December 31). If you work during two separate calendar years, you will need to file an income tax return for both years, even if you only work part of both years.
How to File Your Tax Return
AHA is not qualified or authorized to provide tax advice. However, we recommend Sprintax, a software that offers expert tax assistance. Sprintax is the only compliant self-preparation software for Non-Residents at this time.
Or you can file the tax return on your own by following these steps:
- Upon receiving your W-2 Form, fill out a 1040NR-EZ (Non-Resident Aliens with No Dependents) tax form.
- Make sure to review the Instructions for Form 1040NR-EZ to avoid any mistakes.
- If the total amount of money withheld from your paychecks was more than you were required to pay the government, they will issue you a check. However, if the amount withheld from your pay was less than required, you must pay the government the amount of tax you still owe.
- Your tax paperwork must be received by the IRS on or before April 15th of the year following the year when you earned the wages.
- Once you have completed the form, mail them to the address on the 1040NR-EZ instructions.
Note: In addition to Federal tax withholdings, most states also require that additional taxes be paid to the state. There are separate forms for state and local taxes. The forms and requirements are different for each state. Your employer should be able to help you locate the necessary forms online.
AHA is not qualified or authorized to provide tax advice. You may contact the IRS directly. You may also contact a tax provider who could assist you with your individual situation, typically for a flat fee or a percentage of your tax refund. Make sure you tell them beforehand that you are a J-1 participant (non-resident alien) and be mindful of any fees they may charge. You are also encouraged to use the following resources as you plan to file your taxes: