US Taxation for International Students

International students have some responsibilities for reporting to the Internal Revenue Service each year. Students may be subject to US taxation based on the source and type of income and the number of years they have been present in the US.

As an International Student

  • If you resided in the United States during 2012 for at least one day, you are required to submit
    IRS form 8843 by this year's April 15 deadline.

Your Options

  • Hire a tax preparer: either locally or in your home country. The person should be familiar with filing IRS forms that relate to F-1 students.
  • Use a software program: a company called Arctic International created a software program that you can purchase for $39 which will walk you through filing the proper forms. The program is called Glacier Tax Prep.

Things to Know

1. The filing deadline is April 15, 2013.

2. "Income" is not limited to wages paid to you in cash, but may also include the portion of your scholarship, fellowship or assistantship that is applied to your housing and/or meal expenses. The portion applied to your tuition fees, books and supplies is generally not considered income.

3. The terms "resident" and "nonresident" are frequently used. Please note, that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the IRS use the terms differently. When filing taxes, use the IRS definitions for "resident" and "nonresident" to determine your tax status.

4. The United States and your country may have a tax treaty. Tax treaties may allow residents of foreign countries to be taxed at a reduced rate or to be exempt from U.S. income taxes (see link to IRS publication 901 below).

5. F-2 dependents (spouse and/or unmarried children of a F-1 student), regardless of age, are expected to file the IRS form 8843 annually in the United States, even if they have no income from a U.S. source.

Common Forms

Here is a list of common forms used by international students. The IRS (or equivalent state agency) publishes instructions to accompany each form. It is possible that a student may need to file more than one of the forms listed below. It is also possible that a student may need to file other tax forms not listed here depending on their individual circumstances.

  • Form 8843: Statement of Exempt Individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition. This form is filed to verify nonresident alien tax status. It is the minimum form that should generally be filed and should be attached to any of the tax forms listed below if applicable. Otherwise, it should be filed separately.
  • Form 1040NR-EZ: U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Nonresident Aliens with No Dependents
  • Form 1040NR: U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return (longer version of form 1040NR-EZ)

Please consult a tax professional or access the IRS website and instruction booklets (see links below) for questions related to which forms apply to you.

IRS Publications and other resources:

AZ Form 140NR Instructions

Canadian Students

Grand Canyon University is dedicated to provide high quality service for our Canadian students. Please be advised that the student is responsible for determining their eligibility for Canadian Tax Credits. Certain Grand Canyon University courses and programs may not meet certain requirements for tax credits, including but not limited to the minimum week and continuous enrollment requirements. For more information on Canadian Tax Credits, please contact The Revenue Canada Agency or visit