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U.S. Taxes

International Student Services

» Understanding your U.S. Tax Reporting Requirements

International students, scholars and their dependents who are present in the U.S. are responsible for filing annual tax forms every year.

Income earned in the United States can include: 

  • Salary
  • Scholarships
  • Fellowships
  • Money earned from U.S. mutual funds or U.S. bank accounts. 

Students who did not receive any of the forms of income listed above must submit the Form 8843. Filling out this form will fulfill your tax filing requirements. Sprintax provides instructions and guidance on how to file this form.

Chapman’s ISS cannot advise on tax-related issues, and we recommend that you work with a qualified tax professional. 


Federal and state taxes

Taxes for the calendar year (January–December) are reported in the spring of the following year (April). 

You will need to file two types of tax forms:

  • Federal: Through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to the U.S. government
  • State: The U.S. state(s) where income was earned. (California for most Chapman students).


Determining your tax filing status

Before you begin your tax documentation, you will need to determine your federal tax filing status: nonresident or resident. This status determines how you are taxed and which forms you need to fill out. 

This status is only a tax filing status and does not mean that you are a resident for immigration or other purposes. 

Generally, most international students and scholars who are on F, J, M or Q visas are considered non-residents for tax purposes. 

  • J-1 and F-1 students and their dependents are considered nonresident tax filers for their first five years in the U.S. 
  • J-1 scholars are considered nonresidents for tax purposes for the first two years in the U.S.


How to file U.S. Taxes

Your individual situation determines which form(s) to file. ISS staff are not tax experts and therefore cannot help you prepare your return. Each form will come with instructions, and we always encourage you to seek the advice and guidance of a qualified tax accountant. 

  • If you did not receive U.S. source income, and you are a nonresident for tax purposes, you must file Form 8843.
  • If you received income or taxable scholarships from U.S. sources, and you are a nonresident for tax purposes, you must file Form 8843 AND 1040NR.
  • If you are considered a resident for tax purposes, you will file a 1040EZ or 1040.

Sprintax is a service for nonresident returns that will enable you to easily file a federal and state tax return for a fee. It will help you identify whether you should pay taxes as a resident or nonresident. This service is not connected to Chapman. You would need to choose to work with them independently. 

The Sprintax team hosts a series of free open tax webinars to provide helpful information around nonresident tax filing obligations. 

Check out Sprintax Youtube channel for more tax information.

The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

The Volunteer Income Tax Income (VITA) is an IRS program that provides free income tax preparation to students, the elderly, non-residents, and limited English proficiency individuals. 

IRS-certified tax preparers can assist you in preparing both federal and state tax returns at no-cost.

Frequently ask questions

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International Student Services provides general guidance. Any advice provided to you by the ISS should not be construed as legal advice.

Additionally, due to the fluid nature of governmental interpretation, government agencies such as USCIS/ICE/CBP may change their interpretation of immigration laws/regulations and eligibility requirements for benefits at any time. We will do our best to provide the most current guidance.

Each case is fact-specific and it is advised that you contact an experienced immigration attorney if you have questions regarding your situation.


Contact ISS

Visit our contact page to email us, call us or make an appointment with a team member.