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International Students: Learn About Filing Taxes

March 14, 2017

Each year—usually by April 15—anyone who earns income in the United States is required to file and pay taxes to the federal government. However, F and M international students must follow special regulations when paying taxes on their income.

Who Must Pay Taxes

In general, you may be required to file taxes if you earned any income from wages while working or training in the United States. Keep in mind that you cannot work or train as an international student without the proper authorization.

As an F or M international student, you must file taxes if you have:

  • Income from wages, unless the income you earned does not exceed the personal exemption amount.
  • A taxable scholarship or fellowship.
  • Income from stock options.
  • Lottery or gambling winnings.
  • Other types of non-wage income.

If you earned any of these types of income during the previous calendar year, you must file your taxes by the deadline, which is April 18, 2017.

Who Does Not Need to Pay Taxes

Some income in the United States is not taxable if you are an international student. You are not required to file taxes if you have income only from:

  • Foreign sources.
  • Interest income from a U.S. bank, savings and loan institution, credit union or insurance company.
  • A tax-free scholarship or fellowship.
  • Certain types of tax-free investments.

If you earned income only from these sources, you may not be required to file taxes this year.

Resources for Filing Taxes

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the part of the U.S. government responsible for collecting taxes and has resources to help you learn more about filing taxes.

For more information about taxes in the United States, visit the Foreign Students and Scholars page on the IRS’ website. You may also qualify to receive free tax return preparation through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

Do you have questions about filing taxes? Visit the IRS website for free resources or talk to your designated school official.

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