Filing taxes in America can be quite complicated.  Here is a link to the Tax Workshop PPT.

You made no income the previous year

If you did not earn any income in the previous calendar year, you must file Form 8843.  You do not need to file for taxes though.

You made income the previous year

If you made taxable income the previous year, you will need to file your taxes by the tax deadline.  Due to the complex nature of taxes, we recommend using Sprintax, an online tax service designed for international students.  This does cost a fee, but most Americans are accustomed to paying for a platform to help them file taxes.  In addition to filing for taxes, you will also need to submit Form 8843.  If you are filing with Sprintax, Form 8843 will be automatically generated on your behalf.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the government agency that collects taxes.  While your employer deducted taxes from your paycheck, there are a number of other factors that go into calculating your taxes, including dependents, property, and total income.  You are required by law to file for taxes.  For many international students, it is common to get a small refund.

Documents you should have when filling out tax forms

  • Immigration documents (passport, visa, I-20, I-94 information for travel dates)
  • Social Security Number (not for Form 8843)
  • Tax documents (W-2, 1098-T, 1042-S if nec., 1099 if nec.).  You can find 1098-Ts here.  If it’s not online or in your mail, then you need to update the accounting department with your Social Security Number.
  • Scholarship letter (if you have an external scholarship)
  • Address information (NU’s address, your address, use Li Lowry or Daniel DeWhitt as the contact person)
  • Copy of last year’s tax return


Please be careful about scams.  Never give your social security number or W-2 to a stranger!  Please be careful of phone calls or emails from the IRS or another institution asking you for private information.  If there is ever doubt, please contact ISS before giving any information.

Sprintax Open Tax Webinars for Filing Season 2021


They will also be hosting two OPT/CPT webinars in the coming months to help prepare students for OPT/CPT from a tax perspective.


Sprintax OPT/CPT Tax Webinars