International students and scholars in the USA are required to file taxes 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.

The Office of International Education is not able to help with tax filing, as your taxes are a personal matter. We know that this can be confusing, and 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 in this web site is not a substitute for advice obtained from the Internal Revenue Service or a qualified tax professional.

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 (PDF) to tell the IRS that you were here 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 ITIN before you file your taxes, which are due on or before April 15. 

Filing Your Federal Tax Return

Generally, your tax forms are due to the IRS on April 15. You are responsible for completing and submitting your tax forms for both federal and state taxes. When you file your taxes, 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 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, the OIE purchases access to a tax preparation software. We currently use a program called Sprintax.  It is a software that helps international students and scholars who are non-resident aliens for tax purposes prepare their US federal taxes.  Information about accessing Sprintax is emailed to international students and scholars in late February. If you did not receive this email, please contact the OIE for a copy after March 1. The OIE may have workshops to help answer questions about what the software is asking, but we are not tax experts and cannot advise on your specific case. If you need to file Vermont state taxes, this is something you can do through Sprintax for a fee which you will pay directly to Sprintax (the OIE is not involved in this process).

Some individuals may have more complicated taxes. Perhaps you lived in two states in a tax year, or you had multiple sources of income because of an internship you took through CPT work authorization. Taxes are a personal matter, and for some students and scholars, it may be easier to hire someone to file your taxes for you. 

Sprintax is only for international students and scholars who are non-resident aliens for tax purposes.  Generally, F-1 students and J-1 students are non-resident aliens for tax purposes for the first five calendar years in the US. The IRS website offers information to help determine your status. If you are a resident alien for tax purposes, you will need to use other software or an accountant to prepare your taxes if you do not wish to do them yourself by hand. The OIE cannot assist in this process. If you have questions about whether you are a resident alient or non-resident alien for tax purposes because you are close to the five-year mark, you may contact the Payroll and Tax Office in Waterman building. 

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 will file these documents together to the Internal Revenue Services (IRS). Students who prepare their taxes on time will be able to 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, the OIE will email all students who were in the US in the prior tax year with access to a system that can help in the preparation of  federal tax forms. We recommend using this system, though you may also prepare them on paper instead. 
  2. Make an appointment with UVM's CAA to submit these prepared forms. You shoud 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 the software OIE purchases 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 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 directly with the IRS (Late Filing)

  1. Prepare your taxes for the prior tax year prior to the April 15 deadline. In February, the OIE will email all students who were in the US in the prior tax year with access to a system that can help in the preparation of  federal tax forms. We recommend using this system, though you may also prepare them on paper instead. 
  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 IRS local 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 the software OIE purchases 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 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, then sign, and date it to formally file your ITIN application with IRS local office
    • Make sure you have your ORIGINAL PASSPORT and ORIGINAL I-20 in your hand on your way out from the IRS local office 
  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.
  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. In future years you will be able to just mail in your taxes normally because you can reuse the ITIN as long as it is still valid.