Income Taxes

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 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 or 1040NR-EZ.

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:
    1. Visa, immigration documents, and passport
    2. Social security number or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), if you have one
    3. Addresses (local US and permanent foreign address)
    4. US entry and exit dates for the past 2 years
    5. W-2
    6. Form 1042S, if you have a fellowship, stipend, or scholarship
    7. Form 1099, if applicable. If you had an US interest or dividend income, your financial institution will send you a 1099.
    8. Your income tax return from last year, if you filed one
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Once you complete all of the steps in Sprintax, you will need to print the documents and sign them. 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

Filing your Georgia state taxes

If you earned any income in the US last year, you'll need to complete Georgia form 500.

New this year – with Sprintax you are able to prepare your Georgia return in the software and print and file.  You will have to pay a small fee to prepare your state return, but you will no longer have to prepare the form by hand.

If you prefer to complete by hand, refer to Guidelines for Georgia Form 500 with 1040NR-EZ and Guidelines for Georgia Form 500 with 1040NR.

Refer to Guidelines for Georgia Form 500 with 1040NR-EZ and Guidelines for Georgia Form 500 with 1040NR.

Get help

Emory Tax Office

The Emory Tax Office provides information specific to nonresident aliens. You can also contact the office 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:

On-campus help sessions

Every spring, the controller's office offers 15-minute one-on-one help sessions for students and scholars who:

  • Are nonresidents for tax purposes;
  • Have filled out form 1040NR-EZ using Sprintax; and
  • Have tried to fill out Georgia form 500, but haven't been successful.

Check back in March for the schedule and sign-up forms.