Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Paying Taxes

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

A bureau of the Department of the Treasury that assists tax payers in understanding and meeting their tax responsibilities.

International students and scholars are required to file a tax return in the U.S. even if they do not owe any taxes.

Tax Information for International Students and Scholars

Please note that the following information should be regarded as a general guideline to taxes only. OISS staff are not allowed to advise or  answer questions regarding individual tax returns because it is against the law to give tax advice unless a person has received the proper training.

The deadline to file taxes for the previous calendar year is April 15 of the following year.

In the U.S. you are required to file a return even if you do not owe any taxes. As a Foreign National student or scholar, you may need to file tax forms each year with the IRS, even if you earned no income. It is your individual responsibility to understand and meet your tax obligations Students or self-funded visiting scholars, who did not work but were present in U.S. need to file Form 8843 Statement for exempt individuals only. Filing a complete tax return is not required. Form 8843 is available at OISS or can be prepared using GLACIER Tax Prep software.

U.S. tax laws can be complex and confusing and the laws that apply to foreign nationals are not the same as those that apply to U.S. citizens. These resources should help you to better understand your tax obligation, to learn what and where to research, and to successfully submit your tax form. This page is meant to be a general introduction. We at OISS are not tax professionals, so this cannot be considered legal tax advice. You are advised to review the information from the IRS specifically addressed to foreign students and scholars, the IRS website. The page about Taxation of Nonresident Aliens is another resource that may be helpful.

OISS provides access to tax software and trained tax professionals through GLACIER Tax Prep which we hope will be helpful to you as you complete your IRS tax reporting requirement.

OISS offers complimentary access to tax preparation assistance only on Federal taxes. It is your decision on whether to use this service or to find your own resources. What is GLACIER Tax Prep Software? It is a tax resource OISS has arranged to help international students and scholars affiliated with UNR with their tax reporting requirement. Most students and scholars can successfully complete their tax reporting requirement using GLACIER Tax Prep. You are NOT REQUIRED to use GLACIER Tax Prep, it is just one option available to you.

GLACIER Tax Prep is a web-based tax preparation software program designed exclusively for international students, scholars, and their dependents identified as a nonresident alien for tax purposes in the U.S. during any time in the previous calendar year. This software becomes available each year in March.

·         Get step-by-step instructions in completing your tax return

·         Determine the correct tax forms you need to fill out

·         Complete your tax return from abroad if necessary

·         Get information on fellowships and tax treaties

·         Get information on printing and mailing tax forms

·         Get technical and tax support from GLACIER Tax Prep

·         Complete your Federal tax return at NO COST to eligible international students and scholars

Who Can Use GLACIER Tax Prep ?The following individuals identified as a nonresident alien for tax purposes are eligible to use the GLACIER Tax Prep program sponsored by OISS:

·         Any F-1, J-1 and other non-immigrant, students enrolled at UNR during 2016

·         F-1 students on Optional Practical Training during 2016

·         J-1 students on Academic Training during 2016

·         J-1 and other non-immigrant international scholars affiliated with UNR during 2016

·         F-2, J-2 and other non-immigrant, dependents of the above


In general international students and scholars are required to file non-resident tax returns if they meet the following conditions:

  • Students on F and J visas are presumed to be non-residents for tax filing purposes for up to five (5) calendar years (including OPT or academic training).
  • Scholars on J visas are presumed to be non-residents for tax filing purposes for up to two (2) calendar years.
  • Scholars on H visas are presumed to be non-residents for tax filing purpose if they have been in the U.S. for less than 183 days in the preceding calendar year.

If you have been in the U.S. in your respective status for longer than the time indicated above, or if you have changed your immigration status, you may have to file a resident tax return. For help determining your tax filing status request a GLACIER Tax Prep access code from OISS and let the software determine your tax filing status. Your tax residency is defined by U.S. tax laws and is used for tax filing purposes only. Your tax residency (i.e. resident alien, non-resident alien, dual status) determines your tax obligations and your tax deductions, credits and exemptions. Your tax residency status and your visa status are two separate issues.


Use GLACIER Tax Prep software to file non-resident tax returns (federal taxes). You must request an access code from OISS to access the software. Access Codes are available late February, OISS will send an email when the access codes are available. To obtain an access code come to OISS and present your University of Nevada, Reno ID, or email your request to with your full name and NSHE ID number. To prepare your taxes you will need your passport, I-20 or DS-2019 or I-797 notice (if you changed your status in the U.S.), W-2 (summary of earnings) and/or 1042-S forms and any other tax filing forms you may have received. If you have not received your W-2 from the University, contact the Payroll Office (Ross Hall, Room 102, phone: 775-784-6653) to request your W-2 or go to Business Center North: Payroll. Form 1042-S is issued by the Controller's Office to those who received room and board scholarship or took advantage of tax treaty benefits. Email to request the 1042-S if you have not received it yet. Check your Employee Self-Service account first to make sure you did not receive an electronic version of the W-2 and/or 1042-S.TAX WORKSHOPS - offered by the Controller's Office and OISS. These workshops will provide a brief overview of tax filing procedures and will include a demonstration of GLACIER Tax Prep software for non-resident aliens. Separate workshops will be provided for students (F-1 and J-1) and scholars (J-1 and H-1B).TAX LAB - for those who need help with the software or are not sure how to answer some of the questions, we offer hands-on-assistance labs for GLACIER Tax Prep software only; OISS will announce the location and dates.


For those filing as a resident for tax purposes, see the Internal Revenue Service: Resident Tax Filing Options for options to prepare and file your resident tax return.Federal Income Tax Brochure prepared by NAFSA which provides an overview of the U.S. taxation system and points out additional resources.Internal Revenue Service

  • Download non-resident tax forms: 1040NR, 1040NR-EZ and 8843
  • Download resident tax forms: 1040EZ, 1040A, 1040
  • E-file the resident tax return
  • Ask questions regarding resident taxes: 1-800-829-1040

Local IRS office: 200 S. Virginia St., Reno, NV 89501, phone: (775) 824-2218

  • Obtain tax forms and publications - no help with tax return preparation
  • Help with completing forms for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

Non-resident tax information

  • Information about non-resident taxes, tax treaties and international tax law

Tax Treaties: Publication 901

  • Provides a summary of tax treaty provisions for various countries for students and scholars (teaching and research).

State Income Tax: There is no state income tax in Nevada, therefore no need to file the state income tax return. You must still file a federal tax return. However, if you worked in another state during the tax filing year, you may be required to file a state income tax return for that state.


(reportable and non-reportable income)

Reportable Income

  • Income that is "sourced" in the United States (lawful employment in the U.S.).
  • Scholarships from a U.S. institution for room and board only. Such financial aid is subject to federal income tax withholding at 14% rate unless the payments are exempt from tax under a tax treaty.
  • Stipends, fellowships, graduate assistantships, or any other financial aid which require that the recipient perform services in exchange for financial aid (reported on forms 941 and/or W-2).
  • Income partially or totally exempt from tax under the terms of a tax treaty.
  • Income that is "effectively connected with U.S. trade or business" (any income or interest received from real property located in the United States in a form of rents, profits and royalties, capital gains on securities sold on the U.S. stock market, dividends).

Non-reportable Income

  • Income from foreign sources
  • Scholarships, grants or any other type of financial aid received from sources outside the U.S.
  • Scholarships from a U.S. institution which covered tuition, books & fees only.
  • Interest income which comes from the following sources and is not effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business:
    1. interest from deposits in any U.S. bank, savings and loan association, credit union or insurance company
    2. portfolio interest on investments sold in foreign markets.

Refund of Social Security and Medicare taxes: Students and Scholars in F and J status are not subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes as long as they are considered non-resident aliens for tax purpose (5 years for students and 2 years for scholars). You can request a refund from your employer, or if this is not possible, you may file Form 843 and Form 8316 with IRS. Forms are available at the Internal Revenue Service. View the 2016 Tax Workshop PowerPoint here!

Foreign students in F-1 and J-1 status are considered nonresident aliens exempt from paying social security/medicare taxes if they have been in the United States for less than five calendar years. This exemption applies to on-campus employment as well as any period of practical training, including post-completion optional practical training (OPT) or academic training, or other DHS authorized employment. Students, who have been in the U.S. for more than five years, are considered resident aliens for federal income tax purpose and are liable for social security/medicare taxes.

Foreign scholars, researchers and teachers in J-1 status are exempt from paying social security/medicare taxes for two calendar years. Spouses and dependents in J-2 status are NOT exempt and must pay social security/medicare taxes. For more information on this topic please refer to Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens or to Publication 15 (Circular E), Employer's Tax Guide.

If you qualify for exemption from social security/medicare withholdings but your employer has been deducting these taxes from your paycheck, you can request a refund from your employer. If this request cannot be accommodated, you must file Form 843, Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement. It takes approximately 6 months to process your claim with IRS.