Tax FAQs

This year, ISSS is continuing to provide important resources for filing taxes, stimulus payment questions, and ITIN applications found on the ISSS Tax Information website. We will not, however, be offering a tax orientation or contracting with a specific tax vendor to provide international students access this year. We regret the inconvenience this might cause, but this decision was necessary due to circumstances beyond our control.

Below are answers to some of the questions we receive.

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Do I need to file tax paperwork?

All nonresident international students and scholars (and their dependents) who were physically within the United States must file tax paperwork. An individual’s tax status and any earned taxable income will determine what tax forms need to be completed. 

In general, two forms that are common for Nonresident Alien (NRA) to file include,  

  • Form 1040-NR: If a nonresident needs to report taxable income the 1040-NR if they earned taxable income. 
  • Form 8843: An informational statement that reports an individual was in the U.S. and was a Nonresident Alien. This form is completed regardless if income was earned or not. 

Additionally, some (but not all) of the other forms you may need include:

  • 843 - if Social Security money was withheld by your employer (Check your W-2 or paystub to find out)
  • Minnesota State Form

The IRS Publication 519 has criteria to help you determine your status and give you information you will need to file your U.S. tax return.

When do I need to file tax paperwork?

For taxes being filed in 2021, the deadline to submit U.S. income tax returns has been extended to May 17, however individuals who did not have earned income have until June 15 to complete the 8843 Form.

International students and scholars (and their dependents) who were physically within the United States on an F-1 or J-1 visa during the 2020 calendar year (January 1, 2020-December 31, 2020) must file tax paperwork. This requirement applies regardless of whether you earned any income.

Will ISSS host a Tax Orientation?

ISSS will not be hosting tax orientations this year. Review the information on the Taxes webpage to access several helpful resources including NRVTAP’s tutorial videos and a list of webinars being offered and other resources created by Sprintax for nonresident preparers.

ISSS has provided access to Tax Software in the past for free. How do I access it this year?

ISSS is not contracting with a tax vendor this year so we are not offering a code for free access. We regret the inconvenience this might cause, but this decision was necessary due to circumstances beyond our control.

Students and scholars on F- or J-visas can receive free support for preparing taxes through the Nonresident Volunteer Tax Assistance Program (NRVTAP). You should make your reservation early as these clinics often fill up. Before making a reservation, review NRVTAP’s information about the 1042-S to ensure you will have the necessary documentation at your appointment.

Alternatively, you can pay to use a tax preparation software like Sprintax or Glacier Tax Prep.

If I do not use a tax preparation software, how can I obtain the federal forms?

You may either:

  • Download them from the IRS website
  • Call the IRS (1-800-829-1040) and request forms to be mailed to you

What is my tax residency status?

A student or scholar’s tax status may be different from your immigration status. Depending on your tax residency, you may have different tax requirements, exemptions, and forms to complete. For more information on how to determine your tax residency visit the IRS website, Introduction to Residency Under US Tax Law. The IRS also has a Tax Guide nonresident tax filers. 

In general, for the first five years in the United States, most (but not all) international students are considered to be non-residents for tax purposes and typically the first 2 years in the U.S. scholars are considered to be non-residents for tax purposes. Some resources to help you determine your tax status include the IRS WebsiteNRVTAP’s Tax Residency Tool or a Tax Software, such as Glacier & Sprintax.

Can someone help me file my tax paperwork?

Please review the information on the ISSS tax website under “Nonresident Tax Resources & Options” or “Resident Tax Resources & Options” for a list of possible options. ISSS advisors are not trained and cannot provide tax preparation assistance.

I received a stipend, scholarship, fellowship income, and/or travel grant from UMN. Are there forms I should receive from the University of Minnesota? If I haven’t already, what should I do?

Individuals who received a stipend, scholarship, fellowship income, and/or travel grant from UMN during 2020 should receive a 1042-S from the University by Mid-March.  If you did not receive this document or have questions about the 1042-S and/or your W-2, please email [email protected]

After the forms are delivered, you can also access your 1042-S and/or W-2 form through MyU.

What if I own property/earned dividends/have a working spouse/never reported last year's income/etc.?

If you have a complex return, we urge you to employ a paid tax preparer who is familiar with non-resident tax laws. The Minnesota Department of Revenue has details listed on their website regarding the Property Tax Refund.

What do I need to know about the MN Property Tax Refund?

Renters receive a notice from your landlord that say they can file for a "Property Tax Refund" on your taxes. Be cautious about applying for this refund, and consult an expert on non-resident tax issues first. The rules are very complicated, and you can be liable for repayment with penalties and interest.

Should I have received a recovery rebate/stimulus payment?

ISSS cannot give tax advice, so we cannot help international students and determine whether they should have received a recovery rebate. We have compiled resources to help individuals find answers to their questions.

Last updated: June 14, 2021