Even if you don’t work in the U.S., you must still file taxes and comply with all Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and California Franchise Tax Board requirements. While we are not authorized to give tax advice, we can connect you to helpful tax resources.
PLEASE NOTE: The IRS communicates with real mail. The IRS will NEVER contact you via e-mail or phone. If you receive a phone call or email from someone claiming to represent the IRS, it is a scam. Please do not release any information or engage further.
Find out which forms to file and how to complete them during our March tax workshop. The forms you are required to complete may vary due to your individual tax circumstances and the amount of time you have been in the United States. Workshops feature California Franchise Tax Board and IRS tax experts, but do not replace legal tax advice.
State Taxes: We usually sponsor a workshop on taxes. A non-resident alien tax specialist from the California State Franchise Board will conduct the workshop and answer any questions that you have in regards to state tax filings.
Use our Free Tax Software
Check your R’mail in late February or early March for information about GLACIER Tax Prep, an online tax preparation system designed exclusively for international students. If you are not sure if you should file as a resident or nonresident alien, GLACIER Tax Prep will help you make that determination.
If you earned a salary in the U.S. (including fellowships for university fees or monthly stipends), you must also complete a 1040NREZ or a 1040NR form.
Your employer will send you a W-2 early in the year. It will show the salary you earned for the previous year plus your federal and state tax deductions.
If you received a fellowship for university fees or a monthly stipend, or if you can claim a tax treaty benefit, UCR’s Payroll Office will send you a 1042-S by March 15.
We strongly advise you to gather all necessary forms before filing your taxes.
If you are an international student who has received “fellowship funds only” this
year and do not have a social security number, please take the following steps to
obtain a tax ID:
Internal Revenue Service
290 N. D. St.
San Bernardino, CA 92401
Internal Revenue Service
Austin Service Center
P.O. Box 149342
Austin, TX 78714-9342
You may also apply using the services of an IRS-authorized Acceptance Agent or visit some key IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center in lieu of mailing your information to the IRS in Austin. Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) in the United States provide in-person help with ITIN applications on a walk-in or appointment basis. The IRS's ITIN Unit in Austin issues all numbers through the mail.
California Franchise Tax Board
600 W. Santa Ana Blvd, Suite 300
Santa Ana, CA 92701-4543
(800) 338-0505 (forms and assistance)
If you’re from a country that has an income tax treaty with the U.S., and if your job meets treaty requirements, you may qualify for tax benefits. Even if you don’t pay federal income tax because of the treaty, you must still file federal and state income tax returns. The penalties for not filing are severe; you may even lose your treaty benefits.
If you have been in the United States for a while, you may need to file as a resident (for tax purposes only). This is determined by a variety of factors, including your nonimmigrant status and the length of time that you have been in the United States. When you are considered a resident for tax purposes only, you generally file the same forms as a US citizen does. If you are not sure if you should file as a resident or nonresident alien, our free GLACIER Tax Prep software will help you make that determination.
Some people in the U.S. use online tax software such as Turbo Tax or consult certified tax professionals such as those at H & R Block. Remember: only use TurboTax if you are eligible to file as a resident. Nonresident aliens should NOT use TurboTax.
If you seek assistance from a certified tax professional, make sure that professional has expertise with filing nonresident taxes. Not all of them do.