Go back

Taxes for F-1 Students

Nervous about paying taxes abroad? That's okay - a lot of us are! However, arming yourself with the knowledge to tackle this unique hurdle starts here. On this page, there is general advice that isn't legal guidance - since taxes aren't handled by the University, it's important that you use this information as a starting point to do your own research about the wonderful world of taxation.

Just need the Sprintax link?

Don't forget your discount code! 5APSU50F23

Sprintax Link

Yes, you do.

  • However, you are exempt from Social Security taxes if you've been in the U.S. for less than five different calendar years. Make sure to let your employer know this!
  • You're subject to all other taxes - federal, state, local. Keep in mind that Tennessee doesn't have a state income tax.
  • Didn't make money? File Form 8843. You just pay for the stamp.
  • Tax is a percentage of money you pay when you earn money in the U.S. 
  • Federal tax is paid to the U.S. government, State tax is paid to the state you reside in, and local taxes are levied in residential areas. 
  • Depending on where you live, tax changes. For example, Kentucky charges a state tax, where Tennessee doesn't. Metropolitan areas may have different tax rates than rural areas. Some taxes are "included" in other bills and don't require filing - for example, even though Kentucky charges a state tax, their tax on other things, like food, is lower than in Tennessee, where there is no state tax. 

It depends - wages or compensation for a job are the most obvious, but also salaries, tips, interest, dividends, some scholarships, lottery winnings, and prizes or awards can be considered earned income and be taxed.

  • It's just another piece of paperwork! The IRS requires F- and J- students to 'file' a form with the IRS that shows how much money they earned in the US (even if that amount is $0). 
  • Luckily, it's only one form, so you can put income from curricular training, scholarships, etc. all on the same form. 
  • This form can be done on-person with most tax preparers or online with Sprintax.
  • You're welcome to bounce questions off of us, but we're not CPAs or legally qualified to handle taxes. That's a beast in and of itself. Fortunately, we get it. So if you need to come to the office to get help calling into customer service or scheduling an appointment with your tax preparer, we can hep. 
  • Sprintax, the online provider, has 24/7 and multilingual customer support. Plus, you can get $5 off by using the code at the top of this page. 
  • Here are some videos from Sprintax that can also be helpful:https://www.youtube.com/user/Sprintax/videos 

For more information, please consult with a tax professional and/or Publication 519 of the Internal Revenue Service.