Basic Tax Information

Tax filing in the United States is complicated. In the U.S. tax system, foreign nationals are considered to be either 'nonresidents for tax purposes' or 'residents for tax purposes'. For the purpose of filing taxes, the term "resident" has a different definition than that of "resident" for immigration purposes. Your tax residency status depends on your current immigration status and/or how long you've been in the U.S. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you are considered a 'non-resident for tax purposes' unless you were either a legal permanent resident of the United States any time during the past calendar year or if you meet the Substantial Presence Test for the previous calendar year.

International students who are nonresidents for tax purposes should NOT take their taxes to an off campus tax preparation agency – there is a high probability that those agencies do not have expertise in nonresident taxes and will likely prepare the wrong forms. Nonresidents for tax purposes CANNOT claim the American Opportunity Tax credit. Filing for that credit constitutes knowingly filing a false tax return, and carries severe penalties.

Tips for a successful tax season:

1. Be informed.

General information on nonresident taxes can be found on the IRS website. All F-1 and J-1 students (and their dependents!) who are nonresidents for tax purposes must file at least one tax form, even if you had no income in 2017. See #3 below.

2. Take advantage of the FREE tax workshops held at YSU!


  • Saturday, March 17 from 10:00-3:00
  • Wednesday, March 21 from 3:30-6:00
  • Saturday, March 31 from 10:00-3:00
  • Saturday, April 7 from 10:00-3:00

Where: Williamson College of Business - computer labs on the first floor (labs 1107 & 1109)

Instructions: All of these sessions are on a walk-in, first-come, first-served basis. There are no appointments available. On Saturdays, you should arrive by 8:00 am to sign the waiting list. The list fills up quickly and the team will stop taking walk-ins if they get too many students. It may be a long wait, so you should bring something to work on (or you can leave and come back closer to your slot, depending on where you are on the list). The team will get to everyone on the sign up list but you MUST BE PATIENT.

Important documents to bring:

  1. All W-2's received
  2. Immigration documents (passport, visa, I-20, I-94 record)
  3. Documentation of any income received from pension funds, investments, etc.
  4. All tax returns from previous years
  5. Photo ID
  6. Social Security Card (if applicable)
  7. Proof of insurance coverage form (if applicable)

If you worked on campus, an electronic copy of your W-2 is available on Self-Service Banner: Select “Employee” à “Tax Forms” à “W-2 Wage and Tax Statement” à Tax Year 2017. A paper copy of the W-2 was mailed to your address on file as of 1/31/18. Call Payroll at 330-941-1470 if you have any questions. You may also be getting forms from the insurance company providing you with proof of insurance coverage

3. If you had no income in the U.S. in 2017, the only form you must complete is Form 8843*. While you are welcome to go to the tax workshop for assistance with this form, it may not be necessary. Refer to these tips for filing Form 8843.

Students complete the biographic information at the top of the form, Parts I and III on page one and sign and date the form on page two. Dependents (regardless of age) must also file Form 8843 and would complete the same sections as the student. Print and mail the form to:

Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service Center
Austin, TX 73301-0215

Be sure to keep a photocopy of the completed form for your records!

4. If you are no longer in the Youngstown area or cannot attend the workshop, there is tax preparation software that can assist with your tax filing.

If you are a nonresident for tax purposes, you must be sure you are filing the appropriate tax forms. DO NOT USE TURBOTAX. The following software will ensure you are completing the appropriate tax forms as a nonresident for tax purposes. Glacier Tax Prep will help to complete your federal tax forms but Sprintax has the capability of helping to prepare federal AND state taxes. NOTE: There is a cost associated with each software.

Glacier Tax Prep


5. Be mindful of the tax filing deadline!

The filing deadline for 2017 taxes is Tuesday, April 17, 2018.