Non-immigrant Taxes


2016 Tax Filing Deadline: Monday, April 18, 2016

(Tax forms must be postmarked in the mail by this date!)

General Information

As in most countries, the tax laws in the United States are very complex. The resources on this page and any subsequent pages should help you to better understand your tax obligation, to know what and where to research, and to successfully submit your tax forms. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the U.S. government agency that collects taxes. For the official regulations regarding all aspects of U.S. taxes for international students and scholars, please go to this link: IRS Student and Scholar Tax Information. Listed below are some important points to remember. This information is meant to be a general introduction and should not be considered legal tax advice.

  • Taxes are paid on the income from the preceding year. The 2017 forms are used for income that you earned during the 2016 calendar year (not the school year).
  • As an F-1, J-1 Student or J-1 Scholar, you may need to file forms each year with the IRS, even if you earned no income. Your specific requirements will depend on many factors including, but not limited to:  your visa status, the purpose of your visit, the number of days you were in the United States, the amount of income you earned, and if there is a tax treaty between your home country and the U.S.
  • While employers do withhold money from your paycheck throughout the year and send it to the IRS, this withholding may not equal the exact amount owed at the end of the year. If too much was withheld, you may be eligible for a refund. If not enough was withheld, you may owe more to the government.
  • It is your responsibility to understand and meet your tax obligations.


Frequently Asked Questions

If I arrived at ACU in January 2017, do I have to do anything this year? No, if you were not in the U.S. during the tax reporting year (i.e. the calendar year), then you do not have to do anything this year.

What is Taxable Income? Some sources of income are taxed, while others are not. Generally, income from foreign sources is not taxed as long as you are classified as a non-resident (see more on this below).  Sources of taxable income may include:

  • Wages that appear on form W-2
  • Scholarship or fellowship income that requires services (i.e. teaching assistant, athletic scholarships)
  • Scholarships, fellowships, and grants
  • Money used for other expenses, like room, board, and travel

I didn’t have any taxable income or scholarships for the previous year.  Do I need to file?

Yes.  If you were in the U.S. during the previous calendar year, you must file IRS Form 8843.  Each dependent in F-2 and J-2 status must also file Form 8843.

Do I need a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)? 

If you were employed or paid by ACU, you will need a social security number. Students not employed who have taxable scholarships should apply for the ITIN.

What is an ITIN? An ITIN is an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. You would only need this if you do not have and do not qualify for a Social Security Number, and you received a scholarship/fellowship in the U.S. in 2016. See Lucy Dawson in the CIE if you do not qualify for a social security number and need to apply for an ITIN.

What if I only have a Social Security Number but not an ITIN? You will have one or the other but not both. If you have submitted tax forms previously using an ITIN but now you have a social security number, you should use the social security number.

What is Glacier Tax Prep (GTP)?

GLACIER Tax Prep is a tax return preparation software program designed primarily for nonresident alien students, scholars, trainees, researchers, and other educational immigration statuses to prepare their U.S. federal income tax return Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ.

Nonresidents should not use software designed for resident tax forms (one example is TurboTax, but there are many others).  Your forms will not be correct and you will then have to submit an amended tax return to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Can I use GTP software to help me complete my taxes?

If you are a "nonresident" for tax purposes, you may be able to use this software offered through the CIE to assist you in completing your tax forms.  Remember – GTP does not file the forms for you.  After completion, you will need to mail them in to the IRS. 

Find out if you are a nonresident for tax purposes through GTP’s “quick check” here.

If the result is that you are a nonresident for U.S. tax purposes, you can use GTP to prepare your taxes.  The CIE purchases a limited number of licenses for enrolled ACU international students, and distributes these in March each year.  Students unable to use a free license may purchase their own license using the link listed below.

The CIE organizes several tax workshops each year.  Check the CIE calendar for the upcoming dates.  Students with no taxable income still need to fill out the 8843, which does not require the use of GTP tax prep. 

If you are a resident for tax purposes, you cannot use GTP. You may be able use free tax preparation software listed on the IRS web site. Other options include purchasing commercial tax software or hiring a private tax accountant. Two examples of the many such products available are Turbotax or H&R Block At Home™.

What additional resources are there to help me?

What if I can't file my taxes by the deadline?

If you owe taxes, there may be penalties assessed if you do not file
your tax return or file it late. These penalties are assessed each
month, so we encourage you to file on time or as soon as possible after
the deadline. Check out this IRS resource for more information.

This information is intended only for international students and scholars who are non-resident alien taxpayers with income sources and level typical of students and scholars at Abilene Christian University. Although the information contained in this site has been reviewed carefully and should be adequate to assist most international students and scholars, it is not a substitute for advice obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or a qualified tax accountant. If your visa status has changed in the past year, or you believe you have a complicated tax issue, please consult the IRS or a qualified tax accountant.