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International Programs


  • All international students & scholars must file with the IRS

  • You should not have Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from your pay unless you have been in the country 5 years for tax purposes - if these taxes are deducted you can ask your employer to refund them and if they cannot ask them for a letter stating why.  You can then file with the IRS to have the money refunded to you

  • Students who do not work must file at least one form (8843) with the Internal Revenue Service

  • If you earned income through a campus job, (example: graduate assistant or campus employment) you must file a tax return, (either 1040-NR EZ or 1040-NR) if your income meets a certain amount that changes each year

  • Students who receive scholarship money are taxed on any amount that you receive that is above the cost of your tuition and fees unless your country has a tax treaty with the US

  • If your income is lower than required to file you may still wish to consider filing - you may receive some money back

  • If you file a federal return you should also file a state return - you may owe money to the state if none was deducted

  • The Center for International Education will hold tax workshops to show you how to properly file your tax returns and will e-mail out dates and times when determined

  • If you do not file taxes it could negatively affect you if you at some point if you should file for a change of status to an H1B, permanent resident etc.  If you apply for a change of status and they find that you owe taxes they may assess your tax and would charge penalties on the amount that you owe

  • If you have been in the US for 5 years or longer (total days) on an F or J Visa (or combination of) then you may be a resident for tax purposes - if so, then you will have to use a different tax software to file your taxes then Columbus State provides or consult a private tax accountant

  • Columbus State staff are not tax experts and cannot advise you on tax issues - you should consult a private tax accountant if you have questions beyond what we can answer

  • The University of Texas at Austin's International Office has an excellent website that provides information, resources and examples on nonresident alien tax preparation. Please visit if you are interested in learning more about the tax preparation process.