Your taxes are probably a topic that you haven’t given much thought to, but the time has come to get serious about it. The good news is that filing taxes for international students in the U.S. is easier than you might imagine. The bad news is that if you don’t do it correctly, there could be consequences, including fines and deportation. Filing taxes as a foreign student in the country is a straightforward process.

You will have to file a form known as the “1040NR” for nonresident aliens and pay taxes on your income. You may also need to file additional forms based on your status, such as the 1040A if you’re married and filing jointly or the 1040EZ if you have no dependents. This article will cover how to file taxes for international students in the United States, as well as tips for saving money on tax preparation services.

Who Needs to File Taxes?

Tax Codes

The IRS says that all non-resident aliens who are physically present in the United States for 183 days or more during the calendar year must file a federal income tax return even if they don’t have any earnings from working or other ways. This includes students who have already graduated and are living in the country on Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT).

In general, foreign learners are required to file their taxes every year, even if they have not been working during the period. The amount that you pay will depend on several factors. They include whether or not you have been working during the year, whether or not you had income from outside sources such as a scholarship or grant, and how much money was withheld from your paycheck if any.

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How to File Taxes for International Students: The Steps

File Taxes for International Students

The first step to filing taxes as international students in the U.S. is to find a tax professional or service that can help you with your tax return. Hiring the best expert can be expensive, but if you are not familiar with the relevant laws or how they apply to international students, it’s worth the money. You can also use online services cheaply like TurboTax and H&R Block, but they may not be as helpful as they are for filing other forms, especially W-2s and 1099s.

Once you have found a professional or service that meets your needs, you will need to gather all of your tax documents together before starting. It includes copies of your passport, visa (if applicable), Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR) (if applicable), social security number and Social Security Award Letter (if applicable) for dependents. Others are proof of foreign source of income for each year covered by the return (such as 1099 forms), proof of U.S. source income for each year covered by the return (such as W-2 forms), and evidence of foreign withholding tax credit claimed on previous returns.

Taxes for International Students in the USA: Key Things to Know

As international students in the United States, you must file taxes on your income earned. It’s important to understand how the process works and what steps to take so that you can make sure you receive all of the tax benefits that are available to you. However, there are some basic things you should know about the process of filing US taxes for international students:

taxes for international students

  1. You might need to file taxes even if you don’t make money! If you receive any kind of financial aid, grants, or scholarships that require repayment over time, then you may be required to file a tax return. Additionally, if your employer paid for your school expenses or housing costs, then they may be required to report that information on your W-2 form, which will trigger a requirement for you to file taxes as well.
  2. An important part of filing taxes is knowing which deductions and credits are available to you as an international student or a non-resident alien in the United States. They usually include deductions related to education expenses and credits related to paying back taxes on scholarships or tuition benefits received while attending school in America.
  3. You may be able to claim certain deductions on your taxes. They include tuition costs, books, supplies, travel expenses, housing expenses while abroad, health insurance premiums paid by your school or employer, and other costs associated with studying abroad such as visas. If you have been living in the country for fewer than 5 years, you will have to pay back any money that was taken from your Social Security funds during this period. If you do not do so within 8 weeks after leaving the US, then there will be hefty fines involved.
  4. Filing your taxes as an international student is relatively straightforward once you understand what kinds of things are taxable and which ones aren’t. The IRS website has lots of information about how to calculate your income, deductions, and credits so that when it comes time to do the necessary things, everything will go smoothly.


Many people think that taxes are a hassle, especially when they have to file them from another country. However, as an international student in the United States, it is relatively simple. It can even be beneficial to you! If you’re looking into attending college here, you’ll probably want to know how much your tuition will cost and what kind of financial aid you’ll be eligible for. To get started with the process, first ensure that you have all of the necessary documents. If you have been working in the nation for less than five years, then it’s likely that you will need to file as a nonresident alien or resident alien depending on how long you’ve lived here.

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