What is a Form 1098-T?
Northwestern is required by the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to report payments received for qualified tuition and related expenses for the tax year ending on December 31 of the preceding calendar year. It includes financial information, such as tuition charges, scholarships received, and payments made.
The Form 1098-T is the tax document used to report these payments. Students (and their families) who file income taxes in the United States can use the Form 1098-T as an informational tax document used to determine eligibility for income tax credits based upon amounts they have spent for education. Currently, these federal tax benefits include the American Opportunity Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit, and the tuition and fees deduction.
Most international students are NOT eligible to claim education tax credits with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
International students who may be eligible are:
- Lawful permanent residents (green-card holder)
- married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- those who may be claimed as a dependent by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- those who have been in the U.S. long enough to file federal income tax returns as a resident
Nonresident aliens are generally not eligible to claim any of the education-related tax credits or deductions for which Form 1098-T is intended to serve as documentation.
You cannot claim these tax benefits if you fill your tax return on Form 1040-NR.
For more eligibility information, see IRS Publication 970. Northwestern University, including the Office of International Student and Scholar Services, cannot provide tax advice. For additional information, contact a professional tax adviser or the IRS.
I received an email from NU Student Finance stating that I need to provide a valid address or Social Security Number before a certain date in January related to the tax document Form 1098-T. What does that mean and why did I receive that email?
Northwestern University is required by law to provide SSN/ITIN and valid address information to the IRS for all Northwestern students who registered for classes, received financial aid, or received scholarships during tax year.
- If you are a nonresident alien international student, the email does not apply to you.
- If you are considered a U.S. resident for tax purposes and plan to claim education tax credits, you will need the Form 1098-T and should follow the directions in the email.
For more information determining your tax residency status, please refer to the Internal Revenue Service’s website at: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/determining-alien-tax-status or consult a professional tax adviser.
Again, MOST F-1/J-1 international students are considered nonresidents of the United States for U.S. tax purposes.
Why didn't I receive a Form 1098-T?
Not all students will receive an IRS Form 1098-T. According to IRS guidelines, a 1098-T statement will not be provided to non-resident aliens, international students, or where qualified tuition and related expenses are entirely waived or paid fully with scholarships.
I am a nonresident alien for tax purposes. Is there a different tax form I should receive?
Maybe. Some, but not all, international students will receive Form 1042-S (Foreign Person's U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding). The two largest groups of foreign visitors who receive Form 1042-S include  students who received scholarships in excess of their qualified tuition for at least one academic term and  Northwestern University employees who received tax treaty benefits in their paychecks during the year.
For more information on Form 1042-S, please see https://www.northwestern.edu/hr/essentials/pay-taxes/tax/1042-s-form-information.html.
Northwestern University, including the Office of International Student and Scholar Services, cannot provide tax advice or answer tax questions beyond the information provided on Northwestern’s website. Contact a professional tax adviser or the IRS for additional information or questions.