Most non-nationals are liable for taxation on any income earned in the United States from the beginning of their arrival in the U.S.

Income can include salary, scholarships/fellowships, income from U.S. mutual funds or U.S. bank accounts.

Taxes for each calendar year are reported in the Spring of the following year and tax forms are filed with both the U.S. Government (federal) through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. state(s) in which income was earned.

Generally, all F-1 and J-1 students and their dependents are considered non-residents (NR) for tax purposes for their first five years in the United States.

  • These students would file federal form 1040NR (long form) or 1040NR-EZ (short form). 

J Scholars and Professors are typically considered NR regarding taxation for their first two years in the United States. 

H-1B, TN or O-1 status holders who have been in the U.S. for more than 183 days should go to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) site resources to determine which form(s) they should file.

To determine residency threshold for tax liability, one would use the “Substantial Presence Test” utilized by the IRS.

ALL non-residents in F, J, M or Q status and each of their dependents must file federal form 8843, Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition, each tax season even if no income was earned. 

You should note that being a resident for tax purposes does not mean resident for immigration purposes.