DISCLAIMER: International Student Services (ISS) and other personnel at Florida Poly are neither licensed nor qualified to provide tax advice and will not do so. All information provided explains the requirements and provides resources for students to obtain additional tax filing assistance options.
International Student Tax Filing Requirement
It is a student’s responsibility to understand and meet their tax obligations. U.S. tax laws can be complex, and the laws that apply to internationals are not the same as those that apply to US citizens. Please view the International Student Tax Filing Requirement online learning module (OLM) and Tax Filing Guide for important information and resources to assist with the tax filing requirement.
Each year by the tax filing deadline (usually April 15th), anyone who earns income in the US is required to file and pay taxes to the federal government. However, international students must follow special regulations when paying taxes on their income. All international students must file a tax return each year if they were in the US during the previous calendar year and earned income. In addition, even if a student does not earn income during their time in the US, they will still have a filing requirement to complete.
Who must pay taxes?
Every international student and their dependents (including spouses and children of all ages) are required to file their tax return if they were in the US during the previous calendar year and earned income from wages while working or training in the US. Please keep in mind that you cannot work or qualify as an international student without the proper authorization.
All international students must file at least Form 8843 to remain legal and maintain their visa status, even if they did not earn any money in the US. The form a student files will depend upon if they earned taxable wages, non-taxable wages, or no wages at all.
International students must file taxes if they have:
- Income from wages, unless the income you earned does not exceed the personal exemption amount
- A taxable scholarship or fellowship
- Income from stock options
- Lottery or gambling winnings
- Other types of non-wage income
If you have income from these sources, you must file Form 1040NR.
Some income in the US is not taxable; international students who did not pay taxes but received non-taxable income will still have a filing requirement if they received - examples of non-taxable income/wages are:
- Income from foreign sources
- Interest income from a U.S. bank, savings and loan institution, credit union, or insurance company
- A tax-free scholarship or fellowship
- Certain types of tax-free investments
If you earned income only from these sources, you must file Form 8843.
While filing your tax return may sound complicated, there are several benefits to doing so other than it’s the law:
- You might get a refund - Some international students will qualify for a refund due to tax treaties and a lack of high income if they have earned income in the US
- Protect taxation of your worldwide income
- You fulfill your visa obligations and maintain your visa status
Resources for filing taxes in the US
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the part of the U.S. government responsible for collecting taxes and has resources to help you learn more about filing taxes. For more information and assistance with tax-filing requirements, please view the International Student Tax Filing Guide.
Glacier Tax Compliance Requirement
Glacier Tax Compliance is a secure, cloud-based application used by Florida Poly to determine the correct taxation on wages for Foreign National employees. Only Foreign Nationals present in the US should submit information in Glacier Tax Compliance.
Employees who indicate that they are neither US citizens nor permanent resident aliens are not required to utilize Glacier. For tax purposes, the employee will either be a Non-Resident Alien (NRA) or Resident Alien (RA). Florida Poly must withhold and report tax per federal tax regulations as part of institutional compliance for employees that are NRA/RA for tax purposes. Any payments may also be subject to other payroll taxes.
You will receive an e-mail from Payroll Services to complete the Glacier Tax Compliance requirement if you are:
- Employed by the university; or
- A student who has on-campus employment; or
- A student who is receiving financial aid (such as a graduate assistantship, scholarship, fellowship, or other funding to pay for school)
Information that a Foreign National must provide in Glacier Tax Compliance includes:
- Visa start and end dates
- Passport page with visa stamp
- Country of residence
- Country of citizenship
- U.S. address
- Foreign address
- Social Security number or ITIN
This information will be able to determine if the Foreign National:
- Is eligible for any federal withholding tax treaty benefits
- Has passed a substantial presence test
- Has become an alien resident for US tax purposes
- Is exempt from FICA taxes (Social Security/Medicare)
Failure to complete Glacier Tax Compliance information and provide documents to the Florida Poly Payroll Services may result in inaccurate tax withholding and loss of tax treaty benefits. Please see the Glacier Tax Compliance Guide for steps on how to complete this requirement.
Please Remember: University personnel (which includes Payroll Services, International Student Services, Designated School Officials) cannot advise assisting any students/employees (domestic or foreign nationals) regarding tax filing or completion of the Glacier tax compliance requirement or Glacier tax preparation. You must consult with a licensed tax professional or lawyer (please the International Student Tax Filing Guide - resources are listed at the end of the guide)
GLACIER Tax Prep (GTP)
GTP is a software service offered to foreign nationals to assist them in completing their federal income tax return only. GTP will be accessible at the beginning of each year (January); information will be disseminated regarding user access.
This secure cloud-based tax preparation system is specifically designed to help foreign students, scholars, teachers, researchers, and their dependents (will be referenced in the system as non-resident alien “NRA”).
GTP is user-friendly and will provide step-by-step instructions to help determine if users are an NRA for tax purposes and required to file the US federal tax return form 1040NR-EA or 1040NR (or not).
NRA’s who receive US source income need to file a federal income tax return using Form 1040NR-EZ or 1040NR. While these forms cannot be submitted electronically to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), they can be prepared electronically and printed (users must print, sign, and mail the tax returns/forms generated by GTP).
This means you must have access to a printer, preferably when the data is entered. It is strongly recommended to make a photocopy of your tax documents before you send them in.
Florida Poly’s license of GTP will be free to NRAs associated with the university.
Users should have all documents regarding current and prior visits to the US available before accessing GTP; these will include:
- Form I-20 (F students) or DS-2019 (J students)
- Forms W-2, 1042-S, and 1099 (if you received any)
- Scholarship/fellowship grant letter (if any)
- Social Security or ITIN # (if you have been assigned one)
- Address Information (US and Foreign address)
- US Entry and Exit Dates for current and past visits to the US
- Copy of last year’s federal income tax return (if filed)
- Academic Institution (F students) or Host Sponsor Information (J students)
Remember to have all payment documents ready before accessing GTP (Forms 1042-S, W-2, and 1099, if received.), and set aside approximately 30 minutes to devote to completing the process - it will be much easier to do it all at once than to have to start and stop repeatedly.
All information entered into GTP is encrypted and secured via SSL technology. If you are concerned about entering your email address (and getting unwanted email messages), please be advised that GTP will not use the email address for any purpose other than to contact the user if GTP finds an error has occurred or needs to reach them in connection with their tax return preparation.
GTP pledges that all information is secure and will not be distributed or used by anyone other than GTP.
Keep your GTP Password and User ID in a safe place; this information will be necessary should you need to re-enter GTP later or if the internet connection fails during the process.