Human Resources

Frequently Asked Tax Questions
for International Students and Scholars 

The information contained on this website offers general tax information, which applies to many UAlbany foreign students and scholars. For more information, you may refer to IRS Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.

You may also refer to the Income Tax Webinars offered by the University at Buffalo:

The Office of Human Resources staff cannot offer individual tax advice. Students and employees with complicated tax situations may wish to consult with a tax professional or tax attorney with nonresident alien tax experience.

Questions & Answers:

1. I am an F-1 or J-1 student and I have been in the U.S. for less than 5 years. I had no U.S. income during the taxable year. Do I need to file a tax form?

Yes. As a nonresident alien for tax purposes, you need to file form 8843. This is the only form you will need to complete if you have no income. The filing deadline for this form (when filed alone) is June 15th.

2. I am an F-1 or J-1 student and I have been in the U.S. for less than 5 years. My only U.S. income for the taxable year was bank interest. Do I need to file any tax forms?

Yes. You are required to file form 8843; however, as a nonresident alien for tax purposes, you do not need to claim your bank interest on a tax return if it is your only income.

3. I worked at the University and I earned U.S. income (other than bank interest). Which forms should I use?

F-1 or J-1 students with U.S. income such as salary or wages, scholarships or fellowships, prizes or awards, or dividend income, will need to file form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ, in addition to form 8843. You may also be required to file a New York State tax return using Form IT-203 or IT-201. The filing deadline for federal and NY tax returns is April 15th.

4.Which form should I use?

1040NR-EZ or 1040NR

Most students are able to use form 1040NR-EZ, which is shorter and easier than the 1040NR. Please refer to the instructions to see if you meet all of the conditions for the form 1040NR-EZ. If you do not, you will have to file using form 1040NR.

New York IT-203 or IT-201?

If you are a nonresident alien for Federal tax purposes, you might still be a resident for New York State tax purposes.

You are a New York resident for tax purposes and can file form IT-201 if your permanent home is not in New York State, but you maintain a permanent place of abode (including an apartment rental, but not including a dormitory room) in New York State for more than 11 months of the year and spend 184 days or more in New York State during the taxable year (see IT-201 instructions, page 32).

If you do not meet these criteria, you are a New York nonresident for tax purposes and must file form IT-203.

5. Do my F-2 or J-2 dependents need to file tax forms?

Yes. All F-2 and J-2 dependents must file form 8843, even if they had no U.S. income of any kind, or if the only income they received was from bank interest. If your dependent(s) received any other U.S. income, they will also need to file form 1040NR-EZ or 1040NR and NYS Form IT-203.

6. I just arrived in the United States in December. I was only in the U.S. for a few days during the taxable year? Do I have to file any tax forms?

Yes! If you are in F or J status and were in the U.S. for any part of the year, even if it was just a few days, you will need to file form 8843. If you had any U.S. income during the taxable year, you will also need to file form 1040NR-EZ or 1040NR and NYS Form IT-203.

7. What is the deadline for filing tax forms?

The forms 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ, form 8843 and NYS Form IT-203 must be filed with by April 15. If you are only required to file form 8843 (because you have no U.S. income) this form must be filed by June 15th.

8. What forms or statements do I need to complete the form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ?

Before you can file your tax return, you have to wait until you receive all of your year-end statements.

If you are an employee of the University, you will receive your W-2 statement from the State of New York for any taxable wages that you earned. This statement is mailed by January 31st.

If we did not withhold tax on any portion of your earnings based on a tax treaty exemption, this portion of your income will be reported to you on a 1042-S statement. This statement is mailed on March 15th.

9. Where can I find the Federal and NY State forms and instructions?

These Federal forms and their instructions can be found below or on the following websites:; or NYS forms:

Form 1040NR-EZ IT-203 (Fill-in & Save)
Instructions-1040NR-EZ IT-203-I (Instructions)
Form 1040NR Form IT-201 (Fill-in & Save)
Instructions-1040NR Form IT-201 (Instructions)
Form 8843

10. The IRS sent me information about their free e-file program. Can I file my 1040NR-EZ or 1040NR tax return electronically?

No! At this time nonresident aliens are not eligible for the free e-file program. Although the 1040NR-EZ and 1040NR forms are available on-line, they cannot be filed electronically, nor can they be faxed. The original paper forms must be mailed to the IRS. ***Remember to make copies for your records before you mail your tax return!!!

11. There is a tax treaty between the U.S. and my home country. Does this mean that I don't have to file any tax forms?

No! In order to claim tax treaty benefits, you must file either from 1040NR-EZ or 1040NR and NYS Form IT-203. Nonresident aliens must also file form 8843.

12. I have a graduate assistantship which includes a full tuition waiver. Do I have to report this as scholarship income?

No. Waivers, grants, scholarships, or other awards used to pay for qualified educational expenses, such as tuition and fees, are not taxable. These amounts should not be included on line 5 (form 1040NR-EZ) or line 12 (form 1040NR).

Any waivers, grants, scholarships, or other awards used to pay for non-qualified expenses, such as room and board, are taxable and should be included on line 5 (form 1040NR-EZ) or line 12 (form 1040NR).

For more information, refer to IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.

13. I am an F-1 or J-1 nonresident alien student with a full tuition and room and board scholarship. How do I file my tax return?

Only the room and board portion of your scholarship is taxable. We are required to withhold tax on this portion of you scholarship and report it to you on a 1042-S statement. We will mail this statement to you on March 15th. You will enter the amount from this statement on line 5 of form 1040NR-EZ (or line 12 of form 1040NR).

If you are not employed and do not have a U.S. social security number, you must obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) in order to file your tax return.

If you do not already have an ITIN, you can submit form W-7 (Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) with your completed tax return and form 8843 to the ITIN unit using the following address (do not use the mailing address in the instructions for your tax return):

Internal Revenue Service
ITIN Operation
P.O. Box 149342
Austin, TX 78714-9342

14. If I am a nonresident alien, do I need to file a NYS income tax return?

* See the chart on page 5 of the IT-201 instructions (NY residents), or page 5 of the IT-203 instructions (NY nonresidents and part-year residents).

* If you want to claim a refund of New York State tax, you need to file a NYS income tax return.

15. If am a nonresident alien for federal income tax purposes, does this mean I should file as a nonresident for my NYS tax return?

It depends! See the answer to question 4 for more information about the NYS resident and nonresident forms.


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Last updated March 1, 2011