Human Resources

Tax Information
for International Employees

The Office of Human Resources staff cannot offer individual tax advice.  For nonresident alien tax advice, students and employees should consult a tax professional or tax attorney with nonresident alien tax experience.

The United States has strict rules regarding the tax status and filing requirements for all foreign students and scholars. This website offers general tax information, which may be helpful to foreign students and scholars. More information may also be found on our "Frequently Asked Questions" pages:

  1. Frequently Asked Tax Filing Questions

  2. Frequently Asked Tax Treaty Questions

On this Page:

Important Information for New International Employees

All NEW international employees are required to complete the following employment and tax forms:

*For an example of how these forms should be completed, click HERE

These forms must be returned to the Payroll office (UAB 300) with copies of your passport ID page, your I-94 card, and your I-20 or DS-2019.

The forms listed above need only be completed one time. Returning employees hired for summer session or reappointed for additional semesters do not need to complete these forms again. If there has been a change to your immigration status (e.g. your program has been extended), please bring your new form I-20 or DS-2019 and new I-94 to the Payroll office in UAB 300.

Determining Your Tax Status

The tax filing requirements for foreign students and scholars will vary depending on your visa category, the purpose of your visit, and the length of your stay in the U.S. This information is used to determine your tax status as either a Nonresident Alien or a Resident Alien. This status is not the same and should not be confused with your immigration status.

Nonresident Aliens

F-1 and J-1 students who have been present in the U.S. for fewer than five years are considered nonresident aliens for tax purposes by the IRS.*

J-1 non-students who have been present in the U.S. for fewer than two years are considered nonresident aliens for tax purposes.*

*Prior visits in the same or another visa status may change your residency status. For more information you should refer to IRS publication 519.

H-1B visitors who will be present for fewer than 183 days (including all of the days of presence in the current year, 1/3 of the days in the first preceding year, and 1/6 of the days in the second preceding year) will be considered nonresident aliens for tax purposes. For more information about this calculation of days, see page 4 of IRS publication 519.

Resident Aliens

F-1 and J-1 students who have been in the U.S. in this status for five or more years are considered resident aliens for tax purposes by IRS.*

J-1 non-students who have been present in the U.S. for more than two of the last seven years are considered resident aliens for tax purposes.*

*Prior visits in the same or another visa status may change your residency status. For more information you should refer to IRS publication 519.

H-1B workers who have been present for at least 183 days (including at least 31 days in the current year, and 1/3 of the days in the first preceding year, and 1/6 of the days in the second preceding year) are considered resident aliens for tax purposes. For more information about this calculation of days, see page 4 of IRS publication 519.

W-4 and IT-2104 Instructions for Nonresident Aliens

All Nonresident Aliens are required to check the "Single" box on both forms W-4 and IT-2104, regardless of their actual marital status. One (1) allowance must be claimed on line 5 of form W-4 and line 1 of form IT-2104. In addition, all Nonresident Aliens must write "NRA" on line 6 of form W-4, indicating their nonresident alien status.

Form W-4 (for nonresident aliens)

Form IT-2104 (for nonresident aliens)

W-4 and IT-2104 Instructions for Resident Aliens

Resident aliens should refer to the forms' instructions.

Form W-4 (for resident aliens)

Form IT-2104 (for resident aliens)

Nonresident Alien Tax Filing Requirements

Please visit the Frequently Asked Tax Questions Page for more information.

Resident Alien Tax Filing Requirements

Resident aliens should refer to the IRS tax filing requirements published in the instructions for forms 1040, 1040-A, or 1040-EZ. These forms and their instructions can be found at www.irs.gov.

FICA - Social Security and Medicare Tax

Important Tax Information for International Athletes

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Last updated March 1, 2011