Nonresident alien students, teachers, employees, and trainees who are in the U.S. temporarily on an F visa or a J visa must file a federal tax return if they received income (including a scholarship or grant) that is subject to tax withholding, even if no tax is withheld due to a tax treaty benefit

You will need to file Form 8843 for yourself and any dependents whether or not you earned income.

Learn more about Form 8843


You will need Form W-2 and possibly Form 1042-S. Depending on your personal situation, you may also need additional forms such as a 1098, 1099, or W-2G. Most forms are required to be mailed to you by February.

If you were employed in the United States, your employer will send you a W-2 form. This form shows how much money you were paid during the year. The W-2 also shows how much money was withheld from your pay for federal, state, and local taxes.

You may also receive a Form 1042-S in late February. You will receive a 1042-S if you have a scholarship or a grant that is not a part of your employment and is not for tuition or other “qualified” expenses. In some cases, the 1042-S will show other types of income that are exempt from tax withholding due to a tax treaty or other reason.

You may also receive a Form 1098-T. You should keep it with your tax records, but you do not need to send it with your return or mention it on the return. The 1098-T lets you know that you were an IU student. It usually shows how much you paid for tuition and fees.

IU Tax Filing Information and Forms

You should file either a 1040NR or a 1040NR-EZ. You may need to file additional forms based on your individual circumstances.

In general, you can file Form 1040NR-EZ (and Form 8843) if you meet the following criteria:

  • You do not claim any dependents.
  • You cannot be claimed as a dependent on another person's tax return (such as your parents' return).
  • Your taxable income is less than $100,000.
  • You do not claim any tax credits.
  • You are married, but do not claim an exemption for your spouse.

Some exceptions exist, so make sure to review the 1040NR-EZ instructions for detailed criteria.

File Form 1040NR-EZ

If you do not meet all of the criteria for filing a 1040NR–EZ, you must file Form 1040NR (and Form 8843).

File Form 1040NR

The due date for filing taxes is normally in April every year. The IRS website provides information on when and where to file.

OIS provides access to a third-party tax preparation software for all international students and scholars, who are considered nonresident aliens for tax purposes, in February every year. 

File now with Sprintax

For help with your federal return, contact the nearest IRS office.

Certified tax professionals at IU provide free tax assistance through the IRS's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. VITA typically offers walk-in or virtual appointments February through April. Email to inquire about an appointment.

The Substantial Presence Test is used to determine whether you will be considered a U.S. resident or a nonresident for tax purposes. The test uses a formula that includes the number of days you have been physically present in the United States during the current year and the two previous years.

Form 8843 supports a claim to exclude your days of presence here, so you can be classified as a nonresident for tax purposes.

If you had no U.S. source income last year, you only need to file Form 8843 by April 18.