Tax Information | Current International Students
The information provided on this website is general in nature and is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified tax professional. By law, OIE staff cannot prepare your taxes for you or answer specific questions about your tax obligations. Consult an expert tax preparer if you have questions about your tax-filing responsibility.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who must file tax forms?
All international students who are considered non-residents for tax purposes (most international students who have been in the U.S. less than 5 years), regardless of whether you have earned any income.
When should you file tax forms?
Tax statements will be sent by your employer, university, bank, etc. after January 1st. The deadline for filing most forms is April 15th.
What tax forms should you file?
- If you are a non-resident for tax purposes, physically present in the U.S. during the tax year (January 1-December 30), who did not receive income
- If you are a non-resident for tax purposes who has dependents (spouse and/or children), were physically present in the U.S. during the tax year (January 1-December 30) and earned income (employment, internship, scholarship, grant, honorarium, etc.)
- If you are a non-resident for tax purposes who does not have dependents, were physically present in the U.S. during the tax year (January 1-December 30) and earned income (employment, internship, scholarship, grant, honorarium, etc.)
Note: These guidelines may vary, especially for students who have been in the U.S. for more than five years. If you have been in the U.S. for more than five years, you may be considered a resident for tax purposes and are strongly encouraged to seek professional assistance with your tax preparation.
What information do you need to file?
You will need a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to complete the Federal 1040 NR, Federal 1040NR-EZ, and State 1NPR forms. If you do not have a SSN or ITIN at the time you file taxes, you may apply for an ITIN in conjunction with filing your tax return. You do not need a SSN or ITIN to file the Form 8843.
You will also need any tax statements supplied by your employer, university, bank, etc. The most common forms students and scholars receive are:
- Form W-2 for wages and earnings
- Form 1042-S for tax exempt payments due to a tax treaty
- Form 1099 for interest earned on bank accounts
- Form 1098T for Tuition Payments
Note: You may receive additional and/or different forms depending on your own personal circumstances, such as if you own a home, earned income through investments, etc.
How do you file your tax return?
There are numerous ways to file your tax returns.
- You may download instructions and forms directly from the Internal Revenue Service and Wisconsin Department of Revenue to complete and mail independently
- You may utilize tax assistance software. Carroll University has contracted with Sprintax to assist international students (a non-resident for tax purposes) complete tax returns. The intuitive software will ask a series of interview questions and utilize responses to complete necessary tax forms. Sprintax will also enable you to file your returns electronically and receive any refund directly into a U.S. bank account. There is a fee for filing your taxes via Sprintax; the amount charged varies depending on the complexity of your return and whether or not you file both Federal and State returns.
- You may consult local tax consultants/representatives for personalized filing assistance. Please note that charges vary widely for tax professionals and many will not file nonresident returns due to the complexity of tax treaty articles, etc.
You may receive a refund from either the Federal Government or State of Wisconsin. Be advised the refunds are issued in U.S. dollars and my only be direct deposited in U.S. bank accounts. If you are completing your returns from outside the United States, please be advised that you will be mailed a check.
Tax Scam Warning
Tax scams often target international students. If you get a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS who uses threatening language and demands immediate payment, that is a sign that the caller isn't really from the IRS. Read more about this type of scam.