Tax Information and Resources for International Students & Scholars

All international students and scholars in nonimmigrant visa categories (e.g. F-1, J-1, or H-1B), who were present in the U.S. during 2012 are required to file certain tax forms with the federal government even if they received no taxable income during the tax year, or if their income is tax exempt under a tax treaty.

Any student who received taxable income in 2012 is required to file certain tax forms with both the federal and state governments. 

The International Office will be offering Glacier Tax Prep to current international students and scholars to help with federal tax preparation.

See Asked & Answered: Special Tax Edition

Use the link below to access the website, but you will need to reference an email sent to you by The International Office containing your access code.

GLACIER Tax Prep Login

GLACIER Tax Prep is a web-based tax return preparation system designed exclusively for international students, scholars, and their dependents, and is being offered to NU's international population this tax season. This online tax assistance will help you in preparing U.S. Federal Income Tax forms (both 1040NR and 1040NR-EZ), as well as do the following:

  • Calculates the substantial presence test to determine the foreign national's U.S. residency status;
  • Verifies each type of payment for any applicable income tax treaty exemptions;
  • Checks if the individual is eligible for "away-from-home" expenses (if he or she has been in the U.S. for less than 12 months);
  • Completes the correct U.S. income tax form - either Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ;
  • Prepares any additional statements or attachments, as applicable - Form 2106, Form 8843, Schedule C, and/or Scholarship/Fellowship Grant Statement;
  • Prints the tax return and all attachments (please note, the IRS does not allow nonresident aliens to file a tax return electronically); and
  • Provides detailed instructions about how, when and where to submit the tax return, as well as information about the documents necessary to attach and complete the tax return filing process.

What documents and info do I need BEFORE I login to GLACIER Tax Prep?

  • Passport
  • Immigration Docs (I-20 or DS-2019)
  • SSN or ITIN (if you have been assigned one)
  • Address Information (US and Foreign)
  • U.S. Entry and Exit Dates - current and past!
  • Academic Institution Information
  • Forms W-2, 1042-S and/or 1099 (if you received one)
  • A copy of your 2010 federal tax return, if you filed one in 2010

Please Note: The staff at the IO are not trained tax professionals and are not able to provide one-on-one advising regarding filing tax returns, questions about forms, etc.

TAX FORMS

W-2 Statement of Wages - Questions about this form? Contact the Office of Payroll at 847-491-7362.

1098-T Tuition Payments Statement - Questions about this form? Contact Student Accounts: 847-491-5224

1098-E Student Loan Interest Statement - Questions about this form? Contact Student Loans: 847-491-3125

1042-S Information for Nonresident Aliens for Tax Purposes - Questions about this form? Contact Payroll at 847-491-7362 (Online information here!)

TAX SCENARIO EXAMPLES

The following situational requirements will walk you through what is required in each situation:

TAX SCENARIO #1
I am an international student/scholar, and I had no earned income in 2012. Nor did I receive a W-2. What am I required to file?

Any international student or scholar who did not have any earned income (and who did not receive a W-2) in 2012 is still required to file a Form 8843 with the IRS. Anyone who received a W-2 should proceed to the next question.

Deadline: Anyone filing only Form 8843 has until June 15, 2013.

NOTE
All students and scholars in F-1 and J-1 nonimmigrant status, and their F-2/J-2 dependents are required to file the IRS Form 8843 regardless of whether they have income in the U.S. or not!

Form 8843

TAX SCENARIO #2
I worked for Northwestern (or for another employer) in 2012, and I have a W-2 for wages earned and taxes paid. What am I required to to file?

An individual who received a W-2 and who was employed in the U.S. in 2012 is required to file a Federal Tax Return and a State Tax Return. State Tax Returns may be required for each state in which you were employed. We will cover information specific to Illinois.

The correct tax forms to be filed depend on an individuals residency status for tax purposes. The IRS determines tax residency based on two classifications:

  • Residents: All U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, and nonresident aliens for immigration purposes who have met the Substantial Presence Test (see below for more information).
  • Nonresident Aliens: All others, regardless of immigration status. Many international students/scholars are considered "nonresident aliens" for tax purposes.

The IRS uses the Substantial Presence Test (SPT) to determine when nonresident aliens for immigration purposes have been in the U.S. long enough to be considered residents for tax purposes. NU employees may contact the Office of Payroll for information on their SPT; all others should consult the IRS Publication 519 for additional information. Keep in mind that GLACIER Tax Prep will conduct the SPT for you. 

Federal Return:
All nonresident aliens for tax purposes who earned income in the U.S. in 2012 must complete and file the Form 1040NR (1040NR Instructions) or if eligible Form 1040NR-EZ (1040NR-EZ Instructions). All nonresident aliens are also required to complete and submit Form 8843 as well. Each of these forms provide detailed instructions and information on when and where to submit.

State Return:
All nonresident aliens for tax purposes who earned income in the state of Illinois in 2012 must complete and file Illinois Form 1040. Again, this form comes with detailed instructions.

Deadline: Both Federal and State Tax Returns must be filed by April 15, 2013.

TAX SCENARIO #3
I am a student who received scholarship or fellowship funds, but did not receive a W-2 for earned income. What am I required to file?

If a nonresident alien only has a 1042-S, and not a W-2, such as someone who has only received scholarship/fellowship payments or if all of their income is exempt under a tax treaty, they have until June 15 to file their tax return.

Payments for scholarship and fellowships as well as wages paid under a tax treaty are reported on Form 1042-S, which are prepared and mailed from the university no later than late-February.

For questions regarding the 1042-S, contact the Office of Payroll.


Related Tax Forms:

Form 1040NR
Instructions

Form 1040NR-EZ
Instructions

Form 8843

Illinois State Form 1040

Additional State Tax Sites (NOTE: You are required to complete a State Tax Return for each state in which you worked in 2012.) If the state you worked in is not on our list, try googling the state name and "State Tax Return."

New York State Tax Return
California State Tax Return
Massachusetts State Tax Return

Form W-2
By Jan 31, 2013, you should have received a W-2 from each employer who paid you in 2011. The W-2 is a summary of your wages and taxes paid and will be required when filing federal and state taxes.

Form 1042-S
Form 1042-S is created for anyone considered a nonresident alien for US tax purposes who received payments from the university for fellowship/scholarship, independent contracted services, or royalties as well as anyone with a benefit under a tax treaty with their resident country. By mid-March, 2013, you will receive your 2012 1042-S Form.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site does not constitute professional tax advice. The IO is able to provide general advice and information, and direction to resources. We cannot make determinations or recommendations on your individual tax situation, and it is your responsibility to file correctly based on your individual situation. The information housed here is not a substitute for advice obtained by the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) or by a qualified tax professional.