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General Tax Information

Please remember this information is basic general information to help you get started in completing your tax forms. Bechtel International Center staff cannot assist you with your tax forms and legally cannot answer any individual tax questions. Please contact appropriate tax counsel for specific tax questions.

What Forms to Complete for U.S. Taxes

Two factors determine which forms you complete for U.S. federal taxes

  • Whether you are resident or non-resident for tax purposes
  • Whether you received U.S. source income in 2018

Factor 1: Determining Resident or Non-Resident for Tax Purposes

Although most international students and scholars are non-resident for tax purposes, it is important to determine your tax status in order to know which forms to complete. Tax status is calculated based on how many days you have been in the US during the previous few years, and determines which tax forms you need to file.

For students on F or J visa (including Visiting Researchers)

If, in 2018, you were physically present in the U.S. for fewer than five calendar years as a student, (ie you arrived on or after 1/1/2014) you are probably a non-resident for tax purposes. (Note: You must count a calendar year even if you were not present in the U.S. for the entire year.)

For scholars on J visa

If, in 2018, you were physically present in the U.S. for fewer than two calendar years as a scholar (if you first arrived on or after 1/1/2017), you are probably a non-resident for tax purposes. (Note: You must count a calendar year even if you were not present in the U.S. for the entire year.)

For scholars on H visa

If you are on an H-1 temporary worker visa and were physically present in the U.S. for more than 183 days in 2018, you are probably a resident for tax purposes.

To determine whether you are resident or non-resident for tax purposes, use the Substantial Presence Test found on the IRS web site. All individuals who have non-resident status for tax purposes must file Form 8843 to maintain non-resident status for tax purposes.

Factor 2: Determining if you have U.S. Source Income in 2018

Determine whether or not you have U.S. source income for the purpose of tax returns by reviewing the information from the IRS.

Forms for US Non-Resident Status

If you have determined that you are a non-resident for tax purposes, here are the forms that you’ll need to complete. Reminder: if you’re a resident for tax purposes you need to file your taxes as an U.S. citizen. These forms below do not apply to you if you are considered a resident for tax purposes.

Individuals who must file Form 8843 include:

  • All international students, and scholars who are non-resident for tax purposes, regardless of whether they had any earned income or how many days they were in the U.S. during 2018
  • All F-2 and J-2 visa holders, regardless of age. 

If you had U.S. source income in 2018:

  • Form 1040NR or Form 1040 NR-EZ
  • Form 8843
  • California state tax information 
  • If you worked an a different state, you may also be subject to state taxes for that state as well.
  • Due date April 15, 2019

If you have no U.S. source income:

Tax Extension

If you need more time, you may want to request a tax filing extension by filing Form 4868.
If you wish to file for an extension:
  • You will need to have processed enough on your taxes to know if you owe the IRS or if you expect a refund.
  • Filing the Form 4868 extends your deadline for filing taxes by 6 months but does not extend the deadline of payment owed to the IRS. For those filing just the Form 8843, you have until June 17, 2019 and do not need to file a tax extension.
  • You will still need to pay any estimated owed taxes by April 15th. This form only allows you to file an extension for federal tax returns.
  • You can find the Tax Extension Form 4868 online through the IRS: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4868.pdf

Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Information Number ITIN

You do not need the SSN or ITIN to complete Form 8843 if you have not earned U.S. source income. However, a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Information Number (ITIN) is required when filing your Form 1040NR or Form 1040 NR EZ. The IRS will return your tax form to you if you file without listing one of these numbers. 

SSN application instructions

The ITIN requires completion of the IRS W-7 Application form with supporting documents.

We strongly recommend applying  for the ITIN about 10-12 weeks before you plan to file your tax forms.

ITIN application instructions

The second way to apply for the ITIN is in conjunction with filing your tax return. If you choose this option, Bechtel International Center cannot act as a certifier of your documents. You must obtain a certified copy of your passport from your passport issuing agency or consulate. We cannot help you with the W-7 form or if any issues arise in obtaining the ITIN.

Download all IRS forms and instructions (e.g., 1040NR, 1040 NR-EZ, 8843) from the IRS.

Get more information on tax forms from the Gateway to Financial Activities

To prepare the IRS Tax Forms, you will need to collect certain documents

If you received wages from Stanford for an RA/TA, hourly job, salaried position, etc:

If you received wages from non-Stanford employment, you should receive a W-2 from that employer. Contact the employer directly if you do not receive this form.

If you received a non-qualified scholarship/fellowship* from Stanford:

*A scholarship/fellowship is considered to be non-qualified if it was used for expenses other than tuition and mandatory fees at the university. Any amount that exceeds tuition and mandatory fees is taxable. You may be exempt from being taxed if your home country has a tax treaty with the U.S.

Any amount that exceeds the amount of your tuition and mandatory fees at the university is considered taxable income and is reported on a Form W-2.

Form 1099

Regardless of your status as a resident or non-resident for tax purposes, you should receive a Form 1099 from your bank noting the amount of interest you earned in 2018. Please keep this for your records.

More information on tax considerations for those receiving fellowships and assistantships, including tax treaty information is available here.

Mailing Address for Federal Tax Forms 1040NR, 1040NR-EZ and Form 8843

All non-resident federal tax forms must be mailed to:

Department of Treasury
Internal Revenue Service Center
Austin, TX 73301-0215

If enclosing a payment mail the form to:

Internal Revenue Service Center
P.O. Box 1303
Charlotte, NC 28201-1303

Mailing Address for California State Tax Form 540

If your tax return shows a refund or no amount due, mail your forms to:

Franchise Tax Board
PO Box 942840
Sacramento CA 94240-0001

If you are enclosing a check or money order, mail your forms to:

Franchise Tax Board
PO Box 942867
Sacramento CA 94267-0001

Other considerations

Tax Treaties

Many students and scholars come from countries that have tax treaties with the U.S. This means that you may be able to earn a certain amount of money in the US without having to pay federal tax if your country has a tax treaty with the US. This link to Publication 901 will provide you with information on any tax treaty your country may have with the US. 

Information is also available here:

Glacier Tax Prep also guides you through this process for federal taxes.

Social Security and Medicare Taxes

  • Students and scholars who are not considered tax residents for tax purposes are exempt from paying Social Security and Medicare taxes. (This exemption does not apply to J-2s with work authorization). Information is also available here.
  • If you are a non-resident for tax purposes and your employer has withheld Social Security and Medicare taxes, you can claim these taxes back from the employer or through filing IRS Form 843 and 8316. If your employer is Stanford, you must contact Payroll to claim these taxes. More information is available here.

Additional Tax Resources

Tax workshops are being offered in webinar format. More information will be sent out via Stanford Email and posted on our Event Calendar in February. These webinars can be viewed at the Bechtel International Center or from any electronic device.