International Student Tax Information
Disclaimer: The information contained on this page and related links is intended for UW-Superior international students only. It is provided as a general guide, and is not intended to substitute for advice from a qualified tax professional. We cannot assume responsibility for use of this information by other people or entities. Thank you for your understanding.
Please note: If you arrived in the US for the first time on or after January 1st of this year, you do not have to send in any tax forms this year.
A further note: The information in these pages applies to F-1 international students who are considered to be 'non-resident aliens for tax purposes'. Generally speaking, students who have been in the US for more than all or parts of 5 years are considered to be 'resident aliens for tax purposes' and must file different tax forms. If you are in doubt about your status for tax purposes, do the IRS "Substantial Presence Test".
Most international students who have been in the US for 5 or fewer years are considered 'non-resident aliens' for tax purposes', and may have to complete one or more of the following tax forms:
Federal tax form 1040NR-EZ. If you had Federal taxes withheld from your pay, and want a refund, you must file this form.
If you earned less than $3,700 last year, and had no tax withheld, or do not want a refund, you do not have to file a federal tax return. The Office of International Programs provides free access to tax preparation software, GLACIER, to help you prepare Form 1040NR-EZ. Contact the OIP or attend a tax information session (see schedule below) to get an access code. You should request an access code only if you have received a 2011 Form W-2 or Form 1042-S. If you had only a Beecroft position, you do not need an access code.
Once you receive your access code, visit the Glacier website to login or create a new account. Note: Even if you used GLACIER last year, must get a new code from the OIP to do this year's tax forms.
Wisconsin Form 1NPR, for non-residents of WI. If you had Wisconsin State taxes withheld from your pay, and want a refund, you must file a state tax form. This is a fillable form that can be e-filed for FREE. See the Wisconsin Department of Revenue website for details and instructions.
You must also file a state tax form if you earned more than $2000 last year, even if your wages were exempt from federal taxes.
Minnesota Schedule M1NR, for non-residents of MN. It must be filed with Minnesota Form M1, Individual Income Tax Form
The tax reciprocity agreement between Wisconsin and Minnesota ended in 2010, so you may have to file both Minnesota and Wisconsin State tax forms if:
- you lived off campus in Minnesota, and worked on campus at UWS in 2011, or
- you lived in Wisconsin, and did Practical Training (CPT or OPT) in Minnesota in 2011.
Be sure to complete your federal tax form before filling out your state tax forms, as you will need information from your federal form for your state form(s).
The OIP does not provide tax preparation software or advice for state tax forms. The links above are provided for your convenience, but we cannot guarantee their accuracy or suitability for your particular tax situation. Please understand that OIP staff can offer guidelines only, and that the responsibility for submitting the correct tax forms remains with you.
For more specific federal tax questions, call the Non-resident Alien Tax Help Line of the IRS at 1-267-941-1000, or visit the websites below.
For Wisconsin state tax questions, call the Individual Income Tax Help Line at 1-608-266-2486, or visit the websites below.
Important note about employment and taxes: Check your pay statements each pay period. Even if you have your pay deposited directly to your bank account, it's important to check your pay statements to be sure that the proper amounts of tax are being withheld (or not withheld). Different tax rules apply to most F-1 international students, so you should be sure to tell your employer that you are an F-1 student when it is time to do your employment paperwork, especially the Form W-4. Here is a sample Form W-4, with instructions, for your reference.
In particular, you should check the following:
* Federal and State Tax: These are usually withheld from your pay each pay period. If you are from a country that has a tax treaty agreement with the US, you may be exempt from tax on some or all of your wages. You must ask your employer for the correct forms if you want to claim a tax treaty exemption.
* Social Security and Medicare (also called FICA) taxes: These should NOT be withheld from your pay, unless you are considered to be a 'resident for tax purposes'. If they are being improperly withheld, then you will have to file some extra paperwork to get a refund, which can be a significant amount of money. Follow the instructions below to request a refund.
Refund of Taxes Withheld in Error
If social security or Medicare taxes were withheld in error from pay that is not subject to these taxes, contact the employer who withheld the taxes for a refund. 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.
- A copy of your Form W-2 to prove the amount of social security and Medicare taxes withheld.
- A copy of your visa.
- Form I-94 (or other documentation showing your dates of arrival or departure).
- If you have an F-1 visa, Form I-20.
- If you have a J-1 visa, Form DS-2019.
- If you are engaged in optional practical training or employment due to severe economic necessity, Form I-766 or Form I-688B.
- A statement from your employer indicating the amount of the reimbursement your employer provided and the amount of the credit or refund your employer claimed or you authorized your employer to claim. If you cannot obtain this statement from your employer, you must provide this information on your own statement and explain why you are not attaching a statement from your employer or on Form 8316 claiming your employer will not issue the refund.
- If you were exempt from social security and Medicare tax for only part of the year, pay statements showing the tax paid during the period you were exempt.
File Form 843 (with attachments) with the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service Center, Philadelphia, PA 19255.
Source: IRS Publication 519, Chapter 8.