I am an international student with an F1 visa and who has been living in the US as a "Nonresident Alien" for 5 years or less, and worked during the tax year, do I owe income taxes? Do I have to file an income tax return? How do I file? Can I claim spouse and dependent exemptions?
In general, the earnings of International F1 visa students is subject to Federal and State income tax, the earnings however are not subject to FICA (Social Security and Medicare taxes.)
F1 visa students who work and have earnings in the US must file or are required to report the income only if the earnings are $4,000 or more during the tax year. However, if you made less than $4,000, you may want to file the return to claim a tax refund if you qualified.
F1 visa students must use form 1040NR (US Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return) if you have exemptions to claim (spouse or depedents,) or form 1040NR-EZ if your filing status is "Single" and have no exemptions to claim. You must also file form 8843 (Statement for Exempt individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition.)
F1 visa students must file their Income Tax Returns only by mail (form 1040NR can not be efiled)
In order to determine if you may claim spouse and dependent exemptions, F1 visa students must check their country's current tax treaties with the US. Mexico, Canada, and India are some of the countries that have income tax treaties with the US and which entitles the F1 visa student to claim the above exemptions (spouse and dependents must also obtain an Tax Identification Number "TIN" by visiting your local IRS office.)
To complete Form W4 Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, please see the instructions on Notice 1392, complete, print and turn the form in to your employer every time there is a life changing situation. (Please see Line 5 instructions if you are a resident of Mexico)