Tax Form 8843 for STUDENTSTax Form 8843 for SCHOLARSTax Form 8843 for DEPENDENTSTax Filing Checklist

References


General


Do you provide any assistance with filing tax returns?

Yes! Each February, we provide free access codes to an international student and scholar tax preparation website that will complete your tax return. You need to print and sign the forms generated by the website and mail them (on actual paper) to federal and state tax authorities.

Who is a “Non-Resident Alien” (NRA)?

Anyone who is not a US citizen or lawful permanent resident is considered a “non-resident alien” under the language of the US tax code. This definition of “non-resident” is specific to the tax context and is different from the definition of “resident” in immigration law or for tuition purposes. F-1 and J-1 students are generally classified as non-resident aliens for their first five calendar years in the US. J-1 research scholars are generally classified as non-resident aliens for their first two calendar years in the US.

What is the different between a “non-resident” and “resident” alien for tax purposes?

Non-resident aliens are taxed on income only from US sources. Resident aliens are taxed as US citizens and have to report all worldwide income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

What is a tax return?

A “tax return” is a government form that determines whether too much or not enough tax was withheld from your paycheck during the calendar year. Generally, there are two types of tax returns: federal (Internal Revenue Service, Form 1040NR-EZ) and state (Alabama Department of Revenue, Form 40NR). Both the federal and the state governments tax your income separately. If not enough tax was withheld from your earnings, you will have to pay additional tax. If too much tax was withheld, you will get a refund. Most people will have to file two separate tax returns, on paper, via US Mail: one to the IRS and a separate one to Montgomery.

What is a tax treaty?

The US has signed treaties with certain countries allowing residents (not necessarily citizens) of those countries tax benefits, such as being taxed at a reduced rate or being completely exempt from income tax on money received from US sources. Not every country’s tax benefit is the same.

Why are my federal wages different than my state wages on my Form W-2?

Tax treaties apply only to federal income tax—not state income tax. In other words, you will not enjoy the same tax benefits on your Alabama taxes as you do on your federal taxes. Most US states do not recognize federal tax treaties and do not have to give international students and scholars the same tax benefits. For example, if you are from a country that has a tax treaty with the US where the first $5,000 of your income is not taxed, but you earn $6,500 in a calendar year, you will see that your federal wages are only $1,500 (because the federal tax treaty excludes that first $5,000 of income), but your state wages are $6,500 (because Alabama will tax all the money and not honor the federal tax treaty).

Do I need a Social Security Number to file my US tax return?

Not necessarily. You can file a tax return with either an SSN or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Only individuals with an employment offer are eligible for an SSN. Individuals who do not have employment offers, but who will receive scholarships, must apply for an ITIN.

What is a Form W-2?

UAB and other employers use this form to report an employee’s annual wages and the amount of federal, state, and other taxes withheld. Form W-2 reflects employment (not scholarship) income and includes all money earned that is not covered by a federal tax treaty.

What is a Form 1042-S?

UAB uses Form 1042-S to reflect payments for fellowship/scholarship/traineeship, and independent contractor services (such as a one-time award) to anyone with a federal tax treaty benefit. For example, athletes with scholarships, graduate students with teaching assistantships, and individuals from countries whose first X dollars of income are exempt from federal tax under a federal tax treaty will receive a Form 1042-S.

I did not receive Form W-2 and/or 1042-S in the mail this spring. What should I do?

UAB Payroll mails tax forms to the last known residential address on file in February every year. If you changed houses or apartments last year and forgot to notify your employer, the form may have been sent to the wrong address. However, you can download a copy of Form W-2 by going to the UAB Administrative Systems website and clicking on “Oracle HR & Finance.” Log in using your BlazerID and password, and look for the link for “UAB Self-Service Applications” on the left side of the page.

If you did not receive Form 1042-S in your mailbox, email isss@uab.edu and our office will send you a pdf. Remember! You will only get a Form 1042-S if you had earnings covered by a tax treaty during 2018.

Am I eligible for lower taxes if I’m married or have children?

Not necessarily. Your spouse and/or child(ren) must have their own, individual tax ID numbers (either an ITIN or an SSN) in order for you to “claim” them on your tax return. You must ask the IRS to issue an ITIN to dependents who need one for tax purposes. F-2 spouses cannot obtain work authorization, so they cannot have an SSN and must apply for an ITIN. J-2 spouses, however, can file an application for an EAD (work card) and obtain an SSN.

I’m married, but my spouse stayed in our home country and is was not present in the US during the tax year. Should I tick the box for “Married” or “Single” on my tax returns?

You should tick the box for “Married,” even if your spouse was not present with you in the US.

UAB International Students


Do I have to pay taxes on a scholarship?

That depends on the type and source of scholarship. If the scholarship funds are paid by an institution located in your home country, you will not have to pay US tax. If the scholarship money is paid by an institution located in the US, it will be subject to US taxes.

Part of my scholarship was subject to US tax, but my friend’s scholarship was not taxed. Why?

There are essentially two types of US-based scholarships: “qualified” and “non-qualified.” They can be taxed differently based on whether the scholarships are specifically designed to pay only tuition, room and board, or all expenses combined. Everyone’s “scholarship” is not the same.

My friend and I both received scholarships, but she got a Form 1042-S in the mail and I didn’t. Why?

Not everyone who receives scholarship funds will receive a Form 1042-S. It depends on the type of scholarship/fellowship. If your scholarship/fellowship was paid directly to your personal bank account, you will likely receive a Form 1042-S. If the funds were paid straight to UAB/ Student Accounting and never touched your personal bank account, you will not receive a Form 1042-S.

Why did I receive three separate copies of my Form 1042-S?

Please keep Copy B for your personal records, enclose Copy C with your federal tax return, and enclose Copy D with your state tax return.

Why does my Form W-2 have four segments? What do I need to do with them?

Gently tear the four segments apart using the perforated lines between each segment. Enclose Copy B with your federal tax return, keep Copy C for your personal records, enclose Copy 2 with your state tax return, and keep the other Copy 2 also for your personal records (since you do not need to file a city or local income tax return).

I was not employed in the US during the past calendar year, and I did not receive a scholarship from any US source. Do I still have to file a tax return in April?

You do not have to file a “tax return,” but you still must print and sign Form 8843 and mail it to the IRS at: Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service Center, Austin, TX 73301-0215.

What is Form 8843? Do I have to file it?

Form 8843 is used to confirm how many days you were present in the US so that you can be exempt from certain federal taxes. You should file a Form 8843 with the IRS every year. F-1 and J-1 students should complete the sections for name, taxpayer ID, and US and international addresses, plus Parts I and III. J-1 exchange visitors should complete the sections for name, taxpayer ID, and US and international addresses, plus Parts I and II. There are samples on our website.

Is money I receive from my parents from abroad taxable?

No. This money is considered foreign-source income and will not be taxed if you are still a non-resident alien for tax purposes.

I worked in the Den/at the Commons/Sodexo/Campus Dining. Where can I find my Form W-2?

Our office does not have access to students’ Form W-2. You should receive your Form W-2 in the mail in February every year. If you don’t receive it, make sure your residential address is correct with Sodexo and visit Richard or Roseanne in the HR office. They will help you log in to the ADP system and download your Form W-2.

I received a Form 1098-T (Tuition Statement) in the mail from UAB. Can I claim tuition expenses on my tax return so that I get a refund?

No. International students are not eligible for the tuition expenses tax deduction. Please just keep the Form 1098-T for your personal records, and do not mail it in with your tax return.

I received a Form 1095-B/C (Health Insurance Coverage) in the mail. Can I claim healthcare expenses on my tax return so that I get a refund?

No. International students are not eligible for the healthcare expenses tax deduction. Please just keep the Form 1095-B/C for your personal records, and do not mail it in with your tax return.

I received a Form 1099-G (Certain Government Payments) in the mail. Do I have to report last year’s state income tax refund as income on this year’s federal tax return?

Yes. Add the amount on the Form 1099-G on Line 4 of this year’s Form 1040NR-EZ.

My friend filed Form 1040 or used Turbo Tax and received a larger refund. Can I do that, too?

No! If you are still a non-resident alien for tax purposes you must file either IRS Form 1040NR or IRS Form 1040NR-EZ. Generally, all F-1 students who have been in the US for any part of five or fewer calendar years are considered “non-resident aliens for tax purposes.” Failure to file the correct tax form is fraud and can place your immigration status in jeopardy. Your friend may have been in the US for more than five calendar years, changed immigration status to H-1B, or experienced another change that caused them to become a “resident alien” for tax purposes.

UAB accidentally withheld some of my FICA (Social Security and Medicare) taxes last year. How can I get a refund?

UAB does not refund FICA taxes withheld in previous years. The following is from the IRS website:

If you are unable to get a full refund of the amount from your employer, file a claim for refund with the Internal Revenue Service on Form 843, Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement. Attach the following items to Form 843:
Send all of the above to via certified US Mail (with a tracking number) to: Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Ogden, UT 84201-0005.

I’m a non-resident alien/F-1 student, but UAB withheld some FICA (Social Security and Medicare) tax from me this summer. Why, and how can I get a refund?

Sometimes the tax software fails to apply the FICA exemption when F-1 students are enrolled less than full-time. If you took an official “vacation” semester and were enrolled less than full-time while you worked on campus, the software may have failed to keep you FICA exempt. If you think you are owed a FICA tax refund, please email the UAB Payroll office at payhelp2@uab.edu. Our office has no access to the Payroll system and does not issue refunds. Only Payroll can do that.

Can I file a tax return to get a refund of my Jefferson County and City of Birmingham income tax?

No. Those taxes are not refundable. County and city taxes are not covered by any tax treaty.

I left UAB last semester and no longer have access to Oracle to download my Form W-2. How can I get it?

Please email payhelp2@uab.edu with your DOB, last four digits of your Social Security number, and the residential mailing address where you want the W-2 sent.

UAB International Scholars/Exchange Visitors


I am classified as a Postdoctoral “Trainee.” Why is my pay taxed differently than my other postdoc colleagues?

Postdoctoral trainees are taxed at 14% (FICA exempt for the first two years), while postdoctoral scholars/fellows are taxed at the usual federal rate (FICA exempt for the first two years). This is due to differences in the source of salary funding for the two positions (i.e., a postdoc trainee usually has some sort of external grant funding, while a postdoc fellow/scholar is paid exclusively through UAB funds).

I am not paid by UAB and have no US income. All of my support is from mu home country government or personal funds. Do I still need to file a tax return in April?

You do not have to file a “tax return,” but you still must file Form 8843.

I’m married, but my spouse does not work in the US and does not live in the US. Can I claim my spouse as a dependent on my tax return?

No.

My spouse has J-2 immigration status and obtained an EAD and Social Security number to work in the US. Does my spouse need to a file a separate tax return, or can we file our tax returns together as “Married Filing Jointly”?

You must tick the box for “Married Filing Separately,” and each of you must file separate federal and state tax returns. Each of you must also file separate Form 8843.

My spouse has J-2 immigration status and an EAD work card. His employer withheld FICA (Social Security and Medicare) tax from his paychecks. I thought everyone in J status was exempt from FICA taxes. Why was my spouse taxed?

Only the primary (J-1) visa holder is exempt from FICA taxes. J-2 dependents who work on EADs are not exempt from FICA taxes.

My child holds J-2 immigration status and did not work in the US during the tax year. Does my child need to file any tax forms?

Yes! All dependents in J-2 status must file a Form 8843 each year. They do not need a tax ID (ITIN or SSN) to submit Form 8843.