As international students and scholars in the US, you are required to file tax paperwork each year, even if you did not work or earn an income. Taxes are based on a calendar year (January-December), not a school year. There are different deadlines and forms to file based on if you made money, how much money you made, etc. 

We know that this process can be confusing, and we encourage you to carefully read and understand your tax requirements. Below you will find details that can help to get you started. The information contained on this website is not a substitute for advice obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or a qualified tax professional. 

Understanding Your Tax Obligations

The information provided below is intended for nonresident aliens for US tax purposes. If you are a resident alien for US tax purposes, you will need to file the appropriate tax forms for your status independently.

Who are nonresident aliens?

Nonresident aliens are generally:

  • Students who have been in the US for fewer than 5 years or
  • Scholars who have been in the US for fewer than 2 years.

Who has to file taxes?

Everyone has to file something every year, regardless of whether you earned an income or not.

  • If you did not earn an income in the past calendar year, you will need to file Form 8843 to tell the IRS that you were here in the US but did not work. This is generally due on or before June 15.
  • If you did earn an income in the past calendar year, you will need to file taxes. These are generally due on or before April 15.
  • If you had a taxable scholarship you will need to file taxes. You will need to receive an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) before you file your taxes, which are due on or before April 15. 

Common tax forms you may receive 

  • Form W-2 is a tax form an employer (either UVM or an external employer) generates and sends to you if you earned an income in the past calendar year.
  • Form 1042-S is a tax form UVM generates and sends you if you had a taxable scholarship in the past calendar year. You will need to receive an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) before you file your taxes for your taxable scholarship.

Common tax forms you may send

  • Form 8843 is a tax form you complete and mail to the IRS If you did not earn an income in the past calendar year. You will need to file it to tell the IRS that you lived in the US at some point during the past calendar year but did not work. This is generally due on or before June 15.
  • Form 1040NR-EZ is a tax form that all nonresident aliens must file if they have received payment or a taxable scholarship in the US in the past calendar year and have received either a W-2, a 1042-S, or both. This form is what determines how much taxes are owed to the nonresident or to the US government. If you use the software the we purchase to prepare your federal tax return, it will prepare this form for you.
  • Form W-7 is a tax form you complete and file as part of your ITIN application paperwork. If you use the software we purchase to prepare your federal tax return, it will prepare this form for you for a small fee.

Can the OIE advise on taxes?

We cannot advise you on your taxes. These are a personal matter that we do not have the expertise to guide you on. If you have questions on using the Sprintax tool for your federal return, there is support built into that platform that can guide you. If you need personalized help, you might consider hiring a tax professional for assistance – this is often helpful for students and scholars who have gotten married, purchased a home, worked in multiple states, etc. 

Filing Your Federal & State Tax Returns

Generally, your tax forms are due to the IRS by April 15. You are responsible for completing and submitting your tax forms for both federal and state taxes. When you file, you will either owe money to the government (if not enough money from your paychecks went to taxes) or the government will owe you money (if too much money from your paychecks went to taxes). This is called your tax return. If the government owes you money, the sooner you file your taxes the sooner you will get your money back!

Each year, we purchase access codes to a tax preparation software called Sprintax. Sprintax helps international students and scholars who are nonresident aliens for tax purposes prepare their US federal taxes. You can also use Sprintax to prepare your state taxes for a small fee. You cannot begin this process until you have received Sprintax information from our office. This information is sent via email in mid-February.  

If you were in the US in the past calendar year as a nonresident for tax purposes and had no US income

You must file an IRS Form 8843 for the previous year by June 15. This is true whether you are still in the US or were only in the US for part of the previous year. The Form 8843 is not an income tax return; it is an informational form required by the US government for certain nonresident aliens (including the spouse and dependents of nonresident aliens). 

  • Download the form (find it online here), fill it out, print, and mail it in. You cannot electronically file this form. Once completed, the form should be mailed to: Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service Center, Austin, TX 73301-0215.

If you were in the US last year as a nonresident for tax purposes and had wages or scholarships subject to withholding

You are required to file federal and state tax returns, including the Form 8843, by April 15.

  • You will need the tax paperwork (Form W-2 or Form 1042S, or both) for any jobs or taxable scholarships that you had last year. UVM mails these forms to you. If you had other US scholarships or employers, you will need tax forms from them as well. 
  • Once you have your Sprintax account set up, you can ask the Sprintax team questions via their 24/7 live chat tool. You may also attend one of Sprintax’s webinar tax filing sessions for further help from Sprintax tax experts. 
  • To access Sprintax, you should:

1. Register your account

2. Complete the online questionnaire

3. Enter UVM’s access code provided to you via email on the ‘Review your order’ page

4. Prepare your federal tax return, print your generated Form 1040NR-EZ, sign, date, and mail the package to the US Department of Treasury, if you already have your SSN or ITIN. Keep the copies for your records.

5. As needed, prepare your Vermont state tax returns through Sprintax (at an added cost) or on paper. Mail the completed forms in by the deadline.

6. If you are required to apply for ITIN, then use the documents you put together in #4 and follow the ITIN application instructions given below about the next step.

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

International students with taxable scholarships will need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to file their taxes if they do not have a Social Security Number (SSN) already. If you do not already have an ITIN but have a taxable scholarship, the first time you file for your taxes will be different from later years. You must first prepare your taxes and the ITIN application form and then file these documents together to the Internal Revenue Services (IRS). Students who prepare their taxes on time will have an easier tax preparation process by working with UVM's Certified Accepting Agent (CAA) who can take your prepared forms and file them to the IRS on your behalf. Students who do not prepare their taxes on time will have a more complicated ITIN application process. We strongly recommend applying for your taxes as soon as you have all of the right tax materials needed to prepare them. You can read more about the ITIN on the IRS website.

ITIN Application Process through UVM (On-time Filing)

  1. Prepare your taxes for the prior tax year prior to the April 15 deadline. In February, we will email all students who were in the US in the prior tax year with access to Sprintax. We recommend using this system, though you may also prepare them on paper.
  2. Make an appointment with UVM's CAA to submit these prepared forms. You should email taxadmin@uvm.edu to schedule a time to meet with their office in Waterman. In the email (sent from your UVM email address), include your name and a few times that will work for you. These appointments take approximately 30 minutes. 
  3. Gather required documents for your ITIN and tax filing appointment. All of these documents are required for your ITIN application:
    • Tax Return Materials. This will include any relevant tax forms, but usually a 1040NR-EZ and a Form 8843. You should also take your 1042-S or W-2s and any other forms you used to prepare your taxes just in case they need them.
    • Completed Form W-7 (PDF). If you use Sprintax to prepare your federal tax return, it will prepare this form for you.
    • Original passport for proof of identity and foreign status
    • Copies of Immigration Documents: UVM I-20, I-94, and your F-1 or J-1 visa (not required for Canadians)
    • Copy of your taxable athletic scholarship award letter
  4. Attend ITIN and tax filing appointment: Bring all of your gathered documents to your scheduled appointment. These will be reviewed and the relevant documents will be collected and mailed to the IRS on your behalf by UVM's CAA. 
  5. Wait for your ITIN. It will be mailed to your US address on form W-7 in 7-11 weeks from the date of filing. Once your ITIN has been issued, your tax return will be routed from the ITIN processing center to the tax processing center.

ITIN Application Process through the IRS (Late Filing)

  1. Prepare your taxes for the prior tax year prior to the April 15 deadline. In February, we will email all students who were in the US in the prior tax year with access to Sprintax. We recommend using this system, though you may also prepare them on paper. 
  2. Make ITIN application appointment with the IRS office in Burlington (schedule early - often requires long wait)
    • Call Tax Assistant Appointment Center Line at 1-844-545-5640 and ask for ITIN application filing appointment at the local IRS office in Burlington, Vermont.
  3. Gather required documents. All of these documents are required for your ITIN application:
    • Tax Return Materials. This will include any relevant tax forms, but usually a 1040NR-EZ and a Form 8843. You should also take your 1042-S or W-2s and any other forms you used to prepare your taxes just in case they need them.
    • Completed Form W-7 (PDF). If you use Sprintax to prepare your federal tax return, it will prepare this form for you.
    • Original passport for proof of identity and foreign status
    • Copies of Immigration Documents: UVM I-20, I-94, and your F-1 or J-1 visa (not required for Canadians)
    • Copy of your taxable athletic scholarship award letter
  4. Attend ITIN Appointment: Be at the Burlington IRS office, 128 Lakeside Avenue, 2nd Floor at least 15 minutes before your schedule time to get through security screening.
    • IRS Agent will collect your documents and take relevant photocopies.
    • Review Form W-7 with agent. You will then sign and date it to formally file your ITIN application with the local IRS office
    • Make sure you have your ORIGINAL PASSPORT and ORIGINAL I-20 in your hand on your way out.
  5. Wait for Your ITIN. It will be mailed to your US address listed on the Form W-7 in 7-11 weeks from the date of filing. Once your ITIN has been issued, your tax return will be routed from the ITIN processing center to the tax processing center.
  6. Submit your ITIN to UVM. Once you receive your ITIN, take the letter to the UVM Payroll and Tax Office in 237 Waterman Building so that they can add it to your file. Once you have your ITIN, you do not need to apply for it again. This will mae filing your taxes in future years a much simpler process!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are scholarships taxable?

That is determined by UVM. If they are taxable, UVM will mail you the Form 1042-S in January. Keep this form; you will need it to file your taxes.

When should US income tax forms be sent to the IRS? 

Usually, tax returns must be received by the IRS by April 15. The Form 8843 is due June 15.

When should I receive my required tax filing documents from UVM?

UVM mails these documents in late January. 

How can I file my tax return if I am a resident alien for tax purposes?

If you are a resident alien for US tax purposes, you will need to file the appropriate tax forms for your status independently using resident alien software or hiring a tax professional.

Can I file my tax return for this year before I leave the US?

You cannot file your tax forms before the following tax season. If you will depart the US before tax "season" (January - April) you must wait to file until after you have left the US. Unfortunately, the IRS does not release the tax forms and instructions until January of each year.  

If I did not file my tax return on time, what can I do?

We recommend hiring an external tax professional to help with late tax preparation and filing.

When will I receive my refund check?

If you will leave the US because your program is ending and haven't received your refund yet, you should notify the IRS of a new US address to which your refund can be sent. Perhaps you will tell IRS a new address for you “in care of” of a local friend or colleague. Make sure the person will receive your refund is a reliable person that can forward your refund to you. Visit the Tax Refund FAQ on the IRS website to learn about a refunds.