Generally, U.S. Citizens and non-U.S. Citizens alike who receive any type of payments, e.g., salary, stipend, honorarium, scholarship, etc., are required to file a federal tax return as well as in most states a state tax return. The U.S. tax year is a calendar year, thus tax returns filed in the spring are for the previous calendar year.
You have to file a tax return in the U.S. if:
1) You received income and received treaty benefits on that income no matter how much your income was (you received Form 1042S and the tax rate is 0% on the form) or
2) You received income of more than $3,700, which was likely reported to you on Form 1042S (with a tax reate of 14% or 40%) or Forms W-2 or 1099MISC.
You do not have to file a tax return if:
1) You were a student in the U.S. and you did not have any income or the ONLY income you received in the U.S. was financial aid / merit scholarship that was less than the tuition charged or
2) You were a speaker or participants in a conference and the ONLY income you received were reimbursements for your travel etc. or
3) Your U.S. income was less than $3,700 for 2011 and you did not receive treaty benefits (i.e., you did not receive form 1042s or the tax rate on form 1042s is higher than 0%).
Note: In order to get a refund of any taxes withheld from your paycheck or your financial aid, you will need to file a tax return.
Below we assembled information on how to file federal and state tax returns and how to deal with special tax situations.
HELP: I did not get my refund! Only the IRS can help you - you have to answer specific questions on this website
to get information on your refund.