As an international student or scholar, you are responsible for complying with U.S. tax regulations. Failing to comply with U.S. tax regulations may impact your current immigration status and make future U.S. visa applications challenging.
- If you were in the U.S. for any period of time during any calendar year, you may need to file Form 8843 (pdf).
- If you received U.S. source income, including wages, stipends, or scholarship funds, your employer or the University may take tax withholdings from your paycheck, stipend, or financial aid. Filing a tax return may allow you to receive a tax refund for overpaid tax withholdings.
- If you did not receive any U.S. source income during the calendar year, you will ONLY need to file Form 8843 (pdf).
When filing taxes, you are filing for the previous year, January to December. For example, if you are filing taxes in 2022, you are submitting tax information for January-December 2021. If you miss the tax filing deadline, you may face late filing penalties.
How the ISSO Can Assist YouU.S. tax regulations are complex and change annually. ISSO staff are not tax experts and therefore cannot help you prepare your tax return or offer tax advice. Your primary resource is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS.) Website.
To provide tax assistance for our students and scholars, we have partnered with Sprintax, an online tool specifically designed to help international students and scholars with their federal and state taxes. You can submit a request in the ISSO Portal and pay a small fee to receive a code to use Sprintax at a discounted rate.frequently asked tax questions
Filing Your Tax Return
State Income Tax Filing
Each state in the U.S. has separate tax filing regulations. It is your responsibility to be familiar with these requirements. If you worked in multiple states during the previous tax year, you may need to file taxes for each state separately.
Individuals who worked in Massachusetts who earned less than the minimum filing requirement do not have to file. However, if any tax was withheld by the employer, the individual would want to file a return in order to be refunded for the withholding.
Sprintax can help file your Massachusetts state income tax return, as well as for other U.S. states for an additional fee.
FICA Tax (Social Security or Medicare)
All U.S. residents and international “residents for tax purposes” are required to pay FICA tax (Social Security and Medicare). “Nonresidents for tax purposes” are exempt from this tax. If your employer had Social Security or Medicare taxes withheld in error, you can file a refund request with the IRS.
Protect yourself from IRS scam phone calls & emails!
Tax scams take many different forms. Many common scams consist of phone calls and emails from thieves who pretend to be from the IRS. They use the IRS name, phone number, logo, or a fake website to try to steal your money. They may try to steal your identity, too, by asking for personal information such as your Social Security number. See the IRS list of Tax Fraud Alerts to help you avoid being a victim of these tax scams. You can also find more information on the ISSO website.