Annual Requirements

Tax Filing Obligations for F-1 and J-1 International Students and Scholars

The following information is to assist F-1 and J-1 students and scholars, and their dependents, in understanding and meeting their U.S. tax filing obligations for the previous tax year.  If you are an F-1 or J-1 student and you were present in the U.S. at any time during 2020, you (and your F-2 / J-2 dependents, if any) are required to file a Tax Return or other tax documents, even if you did not receive U.S.-source income in 2020. 

Why Am I Required to Comply with U.S. Tax Laws?

International students and their dependents are expected to comply with U.S. laws and regulations, including applicable tax laws, while studying and residing in the U.S.  It is important to comply with tax regulations in order to avoid the possibility of violation or future penalty under U.S. tax and immigration law.  Because of the importance of complying with U.S. tax regulations, we recommend that you read through the following information carefully.

Non-Resident versus Resident Taxation:  Does This Information Apply to Me?

In most cases, F-1 and J-1 students, and their F-2 and J-2 dependents, are considered Non-Resident Aliens (NRAs) for tax purposes.  NOTE:  A NRA for immigration purposes can be a 'Resident' for tax purposes, and vice versa. 

The following information focuses specifically on Non-Resident taxation. You are a non-resident if:

  • you were physically present in the U.S. at any time during 2020 in F or J status (including F-2 or J-2 status), and
  • you have been in the U.S. in F or J status (including F-1, F-2, J-1, or J-2) for five (5) tax years or less. 

NOTE: A tax year counts if you were in the U.S. in F or J status at any time during that year, even if for only one day.  For example, if you arrived in the U.S. as an F-1 student on December 31, 2020, then 2020 counts as one tax year.

Meeting Your Tax Obligations

Step 1:  Determine Your Tax Status for 2020

Refer to the following table to determine your tax status for the 2020 calendar year (January 1-December 31).  Please remember that tax filing obligations apply if you were physically present in the U.S. during 2020 even if for only one day and even if you earned no income whatsoever during the 2020 calendar year.

If you had no income or only interest income during 2020, you will have tax filing obligations to the U.S. federal government's Internal Revenue Service (IRS) only.  If you earned income during 2020, you may have tax filing obligations to the State of Connecticut Department of Revenue Services as well as to the IRS.

TAX REFERENCE GUIDE (Non-Resident Alien Taxation Only)

Your Tax Status During the 2020 Calendar Year

Your Tax Filing Requirements:

How to File:

(A) I was not present in the U.S. during 2020; I arrived in the U.S. on or after January 1, 2021


 No filing requirements

 Not applicable

(B) I was present in the U.S. during 2020, but I did not have any U.S.-source income


 File IRS Form 8843 only
 by June 15, 2021 

Use Sprintax or download the paper form from  

(C) I was present in the U.S. during 2020, and my only source of U.S. income was interest earned from a savings account.  I had no other U.S.-source  income.


 File IRS Form 8843 only  
 by June 15, 2021

Use Sprintax or download the paper form from  

(D) I was present in the U.S. in the U.S. during 2020, and I had U.S.-source income (from salary/wages, interest or dividend income, stipends scholarships, fellowships, prizes/awards, or taxable reimbursements)


File IRS Form 8843 and IRS Form 1040NR-EZ (or 1040NR)
by April 15, 2021.


File Connecticut State Income Tax Form CT-1040NR/PY if you lived in Connecticut and your Federal 1040/NR-EZ Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) was greater than $15,000 (if you are single) or; $24,000 (if you are married).

 Use Sprintax



Find instructions and download the paper form from

Step 2:  Gather the Following Materials and Information

Before you begin to prepare your tax return/s, have the following documents and information in front of you: 

  • Your passport and travel history, with an estimate of the number of days you spent inside and outside of the U.S. during 2020 and previous years, if applicable.
  • The name and address of your academic program.  For most students, the correct address will be:

Department / Program Name
Your Program Director or Chair
Wesleyan University
North College
237 High Street
Middletown, CT  06459

  • Tax forms and statements that you have received from U.S.-based employers, payers, banks or other financial institutions, and scholarship agencies that reflect your U.S.-source income from employment, interest, scholarships, fellowships, stipends, prizes/awards, reimbursements, etc.  Some of the forms and statements that you may have received include the following.  Note that different persons will receive different forms depending on their employment/financial activity in 2020.
    • W-2 Wage and Tax Statement from each employer you worked for during 2020, reporting your 2020 wages/earnings and tax withholding.
    • 1099-INT Form from each bank or financial institution, reporting your interest income during 2020
    • 1099 Form from each employer from whom you received miscellaneous income (This form is typically used to report compensation paid to any person as an independent contractor or consultant rather than as a salaried employee.  A NRA should not receive Form 1099.)
    • 1042-S Form that reports scholarship, fellowship, stipend, prize/award, reimbursement, or miscellaneous income, and/or any amounts excludable from taxation due to a tax treaty between your country of residence and the US.  NOTE: If you received a Wesleyan scholarship that exceeded the amount charged for tuition, required fees, books and supplies or income that was exempt from taxation due to a tax treaty, you should receive a 1042-S from Wesleyan by the end of February each year.
NOTE: Form 1098-T Tuition Statement is issued by Wesleyan to reflect your total tuition and fee payments to the University for 2020.  The information on the form is not typically relevant to students who are non-residents for tax purposes.

If you believe that you had income or scholarship/fellowships that are tax reportable, but you have not received the appropriate form, contact your employer, payer, financial institution, educational institution or sponsoring agency.


Step 3:  Login to Sprintax Tax Preparation (International Tax Preparation Software for Non-Resident Aliens)  

You can login to Sprintax Tax Preparation.  Sprintax is designed for NRA students and scholars who have tax filing obligations.  Sprintax will ask you a series of questions and will generate the appropriate U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax forms in PDF (Adobe Acrobat) format.  You will then be able to print out the forms, sign them, and mail them to the appropriate IRS tax center.  Instructions for mailing your tax forms are included with your tax return. 

Wesleyan has arranged FREE access to the Sprintax Tax Preparation software for you.  The cost to the international visitor for using Sprintax is FREE for filing Form 8843 and a Federal Income Tax Return.  It is the individual's responsibility to pay for any State Income Tax Return or Amendments to previous year tax returns.  An access code will be provided to students and scholars each tax filing season. 

If you did not receive income in 2020, Sprintax will prepare Form 8843 only.  With no income earned, Form 8843 is due to the IRS by June 15th each year.  If you received income in 2020, Sprintax will prepare your Income Tax Form 1040NR and Form 8843.  With income earned in 2020, your income tax return, along with Form 8843, are due by April 15th each year.

Connecticut State Income Tax Return

Once you have prepared your IRS Federal Tax Return using Sprintax, and if your federal Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is greater than $15,000 (for single filer), then you may use Sprintax Tax Prep to prepare your Connecticut State Income Tax Return or find instructions and download the paper form from  You need to file a Connecticut State tax return only if your AGI exceeds $15,000 (for a single filer) or $24,000 (for married individuals) and/or you are requesting a refund of any withheld Connecticut taxes.

NOTE:  Most F and J students and their dependents are considered NRAs for tax purposes.  However, if you have been in the U.S. in F or J status for more than 5 years, you will most likely be considered a resident for tax purposes and must file your tax return similarly to a U.S. citizen and U.S. permanent resident.  Additional information about resident taxation is available at U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  Consult Chapter 1 of IRS Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens, for more details about resident and non-resident taxation. The IRS also has information about free on-line tax preparation services for residents.  Tax residents may also use commercial tax preparation services, such as H&R Block or Turbo Tax, to help file their tax return.  NRAs should NEVER use Turbo Tax to file their tax return.   

Step 4:  Print and Mail your Income Tax Return

Once you have entered your personal and financial information into Sprintax, Sprintax will produce your appropriate tax forms in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.  You MUST print the forms, sign where indicated, and mail them to the appropriate tax agency.  Sprintax provides an instruction sheet with your tax forms.  Follow the instructions carefully.  If you owe additional taxes, you will be instructed to submit payment along with your tax forms.  You can pay by personal check, money order, or certified check. 


It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to keep your tax returns, documents and financial forms together, in a safe place, and where you are able to find them, for at least 3 calendar years.  The IRS can ask you questions or request additional information from you.  The tax preparation software also asks you for information from previous years.  You will also need your tax return information if you need to inquire with the IRS about your refund, etc.


April 15th each year
(If you did not receive income, Form 8843 is due on June 15th each year)


Social Security and Medicare (FICA) Taxes

In general, any income earned by an F-1 or J-1 student, who is a NRA for tax purposes, should not be subject to Social Security and Medicare (FICA) tax withholding.  This applies to income earned through on-campus employment, F-1 curricular or optional practical training (CPT or OPT), J-1 academic training, or severe economic hardship employment.  If you earned income in 2020 and had FICA taxes withheld, you must first speak to your employer to request a refund.  Refer them to the Social Security / FICA provisions in IRS Publication 519 for more information.  If your employer is unable or unwilling to refund your FICA taxes, you must file IRS Form 843 and IRS Form 8316

Social Security Number (SSN)

A SSN is required by the U.S. government for tax and employment reporting purposes.  It is used, for example, to report an employee's earnings or a student's taxable scholarship benefits.  However, it is often used as a matter of convenience for a variety of other purposes unrelated to its official purpose, such as opening telephone, utility, or bank accounts.  While having a SSN is convenient for these reasons, SSNs are issued only to those individuals who are employed and/or have tax reporting requirements.

If you and/or your dependents have a Social Security Number (SSN), you must use that number on all tax forms that you submit to the IRS and/or state tax authorities.  However, if you and/or your dependents are filing Form 8843 only and do not have a Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), you do not need to report a SSN or ITIN. You cannot file an income tax return without a valid U.S. government issued SSN.  DO NOT use your Wes ID number formatted "Wxxxwesid" on any tax returns. This number is for internal use only.

NOTE: Simply having a Social Security Number does NOT grant you legal authorization to work in the U.S.  However, if you have been granted legal authorization to work and are working, you are required to apply for and obtain a Social Security Number.  If you have difficulty opening a bank or other types of accounts because you do not have a SSN, please contact OISA.


Special Notes:

J-1 Sponsored Students

Students in J-1 status who are sponsored by an external agency such as the Institute of International Education (IIE) should be able to obtain tax advice and assistance from their sponsor.  If you are a J-1 student not sponsored by Wesleyan University, please contact your sponsor for information about your 2020 U.S. tax filing obligations.

ependents in F-2 or J-2 Status

Dependents in F-2 or J-2 status are required to file IRS Tax Form 8843.  J-2 dependents who had employment authorization and worked during 2020 must also file federal IRS and the appropriate state tax forms.  Sprintax may be used to assist your dependents in filing these forms.