Filing Your Tax Return

U.S. and state tax returns for the year ending December 31, 2020 are due (postage scanned) by midnight on May 17, 2021 (extended).

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. An individual may be required to file more than one state tax return.

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 or
2) You received income of more than $4,050, which was reported to you on Form 1042S or Forms W-2 or Form 1099MISC (some states have a lower threshold for income) or
3) If you wish to claim a refund of any taxes withheld on these forms.
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 or merit scholarship that was less than the tuition charged or
2) Your U.S. income was less than $4,050 for 2018.

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.

International visitors are required to file a Form 8843 whether you have income or not. This form records your visa information and days of presence in the U.S. for purposes of the Substantial Presence Test. For most individuals, this form can be found in the FNIS system.

Below you will find 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 (or the state taxing authority) - you have to answer specific questions on the IRS website to get information on your refund. You will be asked to provide your Social Security number or ITIN, your filing status and the amount of refund expected based on the return you filed. If you are a foreign national and filed Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ the process of obtaining a refund can take six months or longer.
In the United States, the individual taxpayer is responsible for filing an appropriate and accurate tax return and negotiating all tax matters with the IRS. Taxpayer assistance can be found by calling the toll free taxpayer assistance number, 800-829-1040. Expect to wait on hold if you call this number. You can also visit your area IRS office.