US Tax Filing Requirements

If you work in the US, taxes will be withheld from your paycheck unless you qualify for a tax treaty benefit. Please email the Emory Tax Office to find out if you are eligible for a tax treaty benefit.

F-1 and J-1 students don't have to pay social security or Medicare (FICA) taxes for their first 5 years in the US. If these taxes are deducted from your paycheck, contact your employer's human resources or payroll department. After 5 years in the US in F-1 or J-1 student status, you become a resident for tax purposes and have to pay FICA taxes. If you spent even one day in the US in F-1 or J-1 status during a particular year, that year counts toward the 5-year limit.

Filing your taxes

Every year, you have to file a tax return with the federal government and the Georgia state government. A tax return is a report to the government showing how much you earned, how much you were taxed, and how much you should have been taxed during the previous year. If you also worked outside of Georgia, you may need to file a return with other state or city governments as well.

Emory provides tax software (Sprintax) for nonresidents to use to prepare their federal income tax returns. This software is generally available mid-February.  NOTE that nonresidents SHOULD NOT USE any other tax software (Turbotax, TaxCut, TaxAct, etc.) to prepare returns as these software do not generate the correct tax forms for nonresidents.

If more taxes were withheld from your paychecks than you owe, you will get a refund after you file your taxes. If not enough taxes were withheld, you will have to pay the difference.


Who has to file a return?

If you earned any income in the US between January 1 and December 31 last year, you have to file a federal income tax return and a Georgia income tax return.

If you did not earn any income

You don't have to file a full tax return. However, if you were physically present in the US in F-1, F-2, J-1, or J-2 status any time between January 1 and December 31 last year, you still have to fill out form 8843—even if you were here for only one day.

This includes dependents, regardless of their age.

Before you file your taxes

  1. Update your local address. Make sure it's correct in PeopleSoft and in OPUS (if you're a student). Emory will send your W-2 form to the address on file in mid-February, unless you request an online W-2. If you are exempt from some taxes because of a tax treaty benefit, or if you have a taxable scholarship, fellowship, stipend, or other financial assistance, you will also get a Form 1042S.

  2. Determine your tax residency status. There is a huge difference between filing as a nonresident alien versus filing as a resident alien, and filing incorrectly can cause problems and delays. Use Sprintax to find out if you are considered a resident or nonresident for tax purposes.

  3. If you aren't eligible for a social security number, apply for an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). Fill out form W-7 and send the form, your tax return, and the required documentation to the Austin IRS office.

  4. Review the Sprintax instructions.

Filing your federal taxes

If you earned any income in the US last year, you'll need to fill out form 1040NR.

If you are in F or J status, you'll need to fill out form 8843, regardless of whether you earned any income last year.

1. Gather these documents and info:

  • Visa, immigration documents, and passport
  • Social security number or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), if you have one
  • Addresses (local US and permanent foreign address)
  • US entry and exit dates for the past 2 years
  • W-2
  • Form 1042S, if you have a fellowship, stipend, or scholarship
  • Form 1099, if applicable. If you had an US interest or dividend income, your financial institution will send you a 1099.
  • Your income tax return from last year, if you filed one
  • Once you have all your documents, set aside at least 30 minutes to fill out the forms. It's much easier to do it all at once than to stop and start again.

2. If you are a nonresident for tax purposes, log in to Sprintax to file your taxes. The software will guide you through the steps of filling out your forms.

3. Once you complete all of the steps in Sprintax, you will be told if you can e-file your return or if you are required to print the documents, sign them, and mail them to the IRS.

It is recommended that you make a copy for your records before shipping your tax return to the IRS. The address to file your tax return is:
Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Austin, Tx 73301-0215

Emory Information for Form 8843 

Academic Program Address                  Academic Institution Address
Emory University                                Emory University – ISSS Office
[department administrator's name]      Shinn Ko, Director
[department street address]                Mail Stop: 1784-001-1AV
Atlanta, GA 30322                              Atlanta, GA  30322

Filing your state taxes

If you had taxable income last year, you may need to complete a Georgia Form 500 return to report the income. If you earned income or resided in a state other than Georgia, you may also have a filing requirement in that state in addition to filing in Georgia.

With Sprintax you are able to prepare your state tax returns in the software and print and file.  You will have to pay a small fee to prepare your state returns, but you will no longer have to prepare the forms by hand.  Sprintax will provide instructions and mailing addresses for the state returns once they are generated.

Get help


Login to Sprintax for 24/7 Live Chat Help
Call: 1-866-601-5695
Sprintax educational tax videos on Youtube
Sprintax blog
Sprintax Frequently Asked Questions
Sprintax Instructions pdf

Register and participate in a free Sprintax open tax webinar 

Topics covered in webinar:

  • An overview of tax for nonresident students and scholars
  • Who must file a 2020 US tax return
  • What income forms students/scholars may receive
  • Forms that need to be completed and sent to the IRS
  • We cover terms like FICA, ITIN and Form 1098-T
  • What happens if students don’t file, or misfile
  • State tax returns
  • IRS stimulus payments
  • Sprintax overview

Emory Tax Office

ISSS Taxes Frequently Asked Questions

ISSS Taxes Frequently Asked Questions
Emory Tax Office Frequently Asked Questions pdf
Emory’s Tax Assistance -Foreign Individuals and Entities page
Emory’s Sprintax page

Still have questions?
Emory students and scholars who are nonresidents for tax purposes and have completed their federal tax return using Sprintax, can email their questions to help sessions via Zoom are available for students and scholars whose questions cannot be easily answered via email.

H&R Block

H&R Block tax advisors will help you prepare your tax returns for a fee. These offices cater to international students and scholars: