Filing Taxes as an International Student

About the U.S. Tax System

International students and scholars in the U.S. have certain U.S. tax obligations. 

  • If you receive U.S.source income including wages, stipend, or scholarship funds, you will likely have federal taxes withheld from your checks (unless you benefit from a tax treaty.)
  • The U.S. federal tax system is a pay-as-you go system. This means that income may be reduced by tax withholdings.
  • When you file your annual U.S. federal tax return in April of each year, the exact amount of tax due is calculated. You may get a refund or you may owe additional taxes.
  • The tax year runs from January 1 to December 31. Tax returns are due the following year in mid-April. Taxes are paid to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

If you are employed by UNT and have questions about your automatic tax withholdings, please contact the UNT Tax Office. The UNT Tax Office is located off-campus in the Business Support Center (BSC). All international students that work on-campus at UNT must fill out the Foreign National Information Form with the UNTSystem Tax Office.

Understanding your Obligations

All international students and scholars (F, J, M and Q visa status) with U.S. source income must complete a U.S. Federal Tax Return

UNT staff and employees are not permitted to act as tax consultants or provide tax advice. It is your individual responsibility to meet your tax obligations.

Filing a U.S. Federal Tax Return - How UNT Can Help

International Affairs has contracted with GLACIER Tax Prep to provide U.S. Federal Tax Return assistance to international students at UNT. 

GLACIER Tax Prep provides step-by-step instructions to prepare the appropriate forms (including Form 8843) to prepare your U.S. Federal Tax Return correctly. GLACIER will guide you through the required forms based on your personal situation.

GLACIER Tax Prep access codes will be  sent to your EagleConnect/UNT email address MID-MARCH.

The access code allows you to utilize the GLACIER software free of charge. Codes are limited to the first 699 users. Once codes are exhausted, GLACIER charges a minimal fee.

GLACIER Tax Prep Eligibility

You are eligible to use GLACIER Tax Prep if you have been in the U.S. less than 5 calendar years.

International students on F, J, M, or Q visas are excused from the Substantial Presence Test for the first 5 calendar years in the US (or the first 2 years if you are a scholar.)

After 5 calendar years, F, J, M or Q visa holders must take the Substantial Presence Test to determine how to file: as a non-resident alien for tax purposes (eligible for GLACIER) or as a resident for tax purposes (NOT eligible for GLACIER.)

Documents and Information Needed for GLACIER

  • I-20 or DS 2019 and Passport
  • U.S. Entry and Exit dates
  • Form W-2 (UNT W-2 forms will be available online the last week of January and/or sent via USPS)
  • Form 1042-S (UNT System Tax Office will mail Form 1042-S mid-March - NOT EVERYONE WILL RECEIVE FORM 1042-S)
    • Claimed tax treaty benefits
    • Scholarships that exceed tuition and fees
  • Form 1099 (if applicable)

How to use GLACIER

  • You must have the documents and information listed above before accessing GLACIER.
  • Plan to spend at least 30 minutes preparing your tax return with GLACIER.
  • You must print, sign and mail your tax return to the IRS

Important Notes

If you have questions about the software, please visit the Tutorial Videos link on the GTP welcome page. All information entered in GLACIER is encrypted and secured via SSL technology. GLACIER will NOT use your email address for any purpose other than to contact you if an error has occurred with your tax return preparation. Record your GLACIER user ID and password. This information is required to access the site at a later date, or in the case of a dropped internet connection. If you used GLACIER last year, your previous user ID and password should work. If you cannot login, follow the prompts on the screen to recover your account.

Not Using GLACIER?

Filing Form 8843 

Form 8843 must be filed if an individual is:

  • present in the U.S. during the tax year
  • in the U.S. less than 5 calendar years
  • present in the U.S. with F, J, M and Q visa status (including dependents)

If an individual meets all three qualifications above, the individual must file Form 8843, regardless of the individual’s age and even if the individual is not required to file a U.S. income tax return. 

  • Form 8843 is not an income tax return. 
  • Form 8843 is an informational statement required by the U.S. government.
  • If you already have an SSN or ITIN, the number must be included on Form 8843

If you are ONLY filing Form 8843, you must print, sign, and mail it to:

Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service Center
Austin, TX 73301-0215
USA

Additional Resources

If you have been in the U.S. more than 5 calendar years, you may be considered a resident for tax purposes

Not sure you meet this distinction? Take the Substantial Presence Test.

If you are considered a resident for tax purposes, you may utilize any of the following options:

United Way of Denton County offers free tax services by volunteer tax accountants
TurboTax online tax returns
H&R Block processes tax returns for a fee
Jackson Hewitt Tax Service processes tax returns for a fee
Liberty Tax Service processes tax returns for a fee

Please Note:

  • Incorrect filing could impact future immigration benefits.
  • U.S. tax laws can be complex and confusing. Laws that apply to international students are not the same as those that apply to U.S. citizens.
  • This page is meant to be a general introduction. We are not tax professionals, so this cannot be considered legal tax advice.
  • We suggest you review the information from the IRS specifically addressed to foreign students and scholars.
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will never contact you by email OR text message. If you are contacted by the IRS and are unsure if it is a real request or not, contact ISSS as soon as possible.