Tax Obligations (and Assistance) for F-1 Visa Students

The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that you submit tax returns by April 15 each year (city and state tax offices generally use this same deadline).

To assist international students in filing their returns, accounting students from the Department of Management and Business at Messiah College offer free tax preparation services as part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Services are provided every Tuesday evening from 5:30–7:30 p.m. in Frey 156 beginning February 3 and ending on April 15. It will be closed on March 17 for spring break. Click here for more details.

All international students, regardless of whether or not income was earned, are required to file IRS Form 8843 (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8843.pdf).

All international students with an F-1 visa who receive any sort of income, including tuition reduction, scholarships, fellowships, grants, salaries, wages, stipends, interest, dividends, etc., from U.S. sources are also required to file income tax returns with federal, state, and city governments.

When filing tax returns, ensure that you …

  • Report all U.S. source income for the entire previous year (January 1 to December 31)
  • Calculate how much tax is owed on that income
  • At each of the three levels of government (local, state, federal), if you are owed money, request it. If you owe money, pay it. (Most internationals will either owe nothing or are owed money).

Please note that neither International Student Programs nor any other office at Messiah College can offer specific tax advice. It is your own responsibility to understand your tax obligations. Tax regulations can be very confusing, particularly for international students. Therefore, you should only rely on someone with proper training to assist you in filing.

For more information on federal taxes, visit www.irs.gov.

For more information on state taxes, visit www.revenue.state.pa.us.

For more information on local taxes, visit www.cumberlandtax.org.

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