International Programs and Services

Tax Assistance

Residency and Non-Residency for Tax Purposes

U.S. tax law divides people into residents or non-residents for tax purposes, which is not necessarily the same as residency according to immigration law. Residents for tax purposes follow the same rules as U.S. citizens, but there are special rules for non-residents for tax purposes. There are also special rules that apply specifically to F-1 students and J-1 students and scholars who are non-residents for tax purposes.

There are special rules used to determine tax residency for F-1 students and J-1 students and scholars. In general, international students in F or J status for five years or less (since 2016 or later) and their dependents, file tax forms as non-residents. Research scholars or faculty in J-1 status for two years or less (since 2019 or later) also file as non-residents. International students who have been in F or J status for more than five years, and research scholars and faculty who have been in J-1 status for more than two years are generally considered residents for tax purposes.

All non-residents present in the U.S. under F-1, F-2, J-1, or J-2 nonimmigrant status must file Form 8843 every tax season by June 15, even if no income was earned. If taxable income was earned, the deadline is April 15 - send with your federal tax forms.

Most international students and scholars are expected to pay taxes on any income earned in the United States from the time they arrive in the country. Income can include salary, scholarships, fellowships, and money earned from US mutual funds or US bank accounts.

Taxes are reported by April 15 each year for the 12-month period beginning January 1 and ending December 31 in the previous year. Tax forms are filed with both the federal government, through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and in the state where income was earned. Please see Financial Services and Operations for more information regarding tax prep and filing taxes. 

If you have questions, email us at ips@mtu.edu. We cannot offer professional tax advice, but we can refer you to appropriate people who can help you do it correctly.