Federal Income Tax Return for Nonresident Aliens - How to File


Generally, nonresident aliens who receive any type of payments, e.g., salary, stipend, honorarium, scholarship, etc. are required to file a Federal Tax Return. Most states, including Vermont, California, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia, also require you to file a tax return. See more information on State tax returns.

In addition to the Federal Tax Return (Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ), every nonresident alien on a F, J, M, or Q visa needs to file Form 8843. If you do not have to file a federal tax return, but are a nonresident alien on a F, J, M, or Q visa, you and your dependents on a F, J, M, or Q visa each need to send Form 8843 to the IRS. You do not need a social security or individual taxpayer identification number to do so. The federal tax return preparation software the college provides to you, FNTR, prepares Form 8843 for you or you can wait for the Tax Office's email in late spring which will give you access to Form 8843 for yourself only. The access is through the FNIS system.

Non-resident Alien Federal Tax Software

FNTR is a web-based tax return preparation system designed for nonresident alien students, scholars, trainees, researchers, and other educational visa holders to aid in preparing their U.S. federal income tax return (Form 1040NR-EZ or Form 1040NR with the instructions for NR-EZ or NR) and/or Form 8843.

Middlebury College and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS) provide this software to all students, scholars, and visitors free of charge.

IMPORTANT: Do NOT use TurboTax or most other preparation software for your federal tax return. These software do NOT support Form 1040NR which you have to use as a nonresident alien for tax purposes.

NOTE: If you are a resident alien for tax purposes, you cannot use FNTR. You will need to fill out Form 1040 or 1040-EZ the same as a U.S. Citizen. If you received a Form 1042S from the college but you are a resident alien, the website will explain what to do.

DOCUMENTS you need to prepare your federal income tax return:

  • Passport
  • I-20 or DS-2019 or other visa status form if applicable
  • Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification number (ITIN) if applicable for yourself and your child if the child is a U.S. citizen or resident alien for tax purposes
  • Form W-2 (employment income) if any
  • Form 1042-S (treaty employment income or scholarship income) if any
  • Form 1099G (state tax refund from previous year) if any
  • Form 1099MISC if any
  • Note that even if you received a Form 1099INT or 1099DIV, or 1042S with interest income, interest income does not need to be reported by non-resident aliens. If you use FNTR do not report interest or dividend income at all.
  • Checking account information, i.e., account and routing number for direct deposit of tax refund if any.

What to do to claim BUSINESS EXPENSES:

  1. Only individuals who provided a service can deduct business expenses, e.g., faculty, lecturer, performer. A student working for the College in student employment cannot deduct business expenses
  2. Only business expenses related to the U.S. activities which were not paid by your employer directly and were not reimbursed to you can be deducted
  3. Examples of business expenses: books/supplies for classes taught, all travel expenses related to coming to the College to teach or give a lecture and returning home (if you came to the U.S. for less than one year) such as mileage, tolls, parking, bus fare, taxi fare, train fare, airfare, SEVIS fees
  4. If you are eligible to take the business expense tax deduction, FNTR will fill out Form 2106-EZ.

What to do to claim the CHILD TAX CREDIT:

  1. Check out Publication 972 on page 4-7 for further explanations and definitions
  2. The most important condition is that the child is a U.S. Citizen, National, or Resident Alien (unless adopted).

What to do to COMPLETE your federal income tax return:

  1. Sign and date the return (from FNTR)
  2. Sign Form 8843 if on a F, J, M, or Q visa (from FNTR)
  3. Sign Statement regarding scholarship if any (from FNTR)
  4. Sign Form W-7 if you don't have SSN or ITIN yet
  5. Attach Copy B of each Form W-2 if any
  6. Attach Copy C of each Form 1042-S if any
  7. If you owe money, make a check or money order payable to "United States Treasury", include your SSN or ITIN on your check (view more information on how to pay taxes to the IRS)
  8. Make a copy of the entire package and keep it for five years
  9. Mail the return and Form 8843 to "Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Austin, TX 73301-0215, USA" on or before April 15. If you only need to send Form 8843, the information needs to be sent on or before June 15 to the same address.
  10. If you are due a tax refund and you are a Nonresident Alien, it will take up to 6 months to receive the refund. If you do not receive your refund within 6 months, check the IRS's website.
  11. If you are a green card holder, Resident Alien or U.S. citizen, you should receive your refund within six weeks.