Who needs to file taxes?

In the U.S., all individuals who received income are taxed for their earnings. Every year, those who received income must report their earnings to the International Revenue Service (IRS) by filing a Federal Tax Return, and to the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) by filing a State Tax Return.

*Deadline to File Taxes is April 15th of every year!*

The following information and links are specific to "aliens", the term used by the IRS for tax purposes to identify individuals who are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (i.e. - F-1, J-1, and H1-B Visa holders).

Most international students are responsible for taxation on any income earned in the United States. This tax is applied to scholarships, fellowships, salaries or income generated from investments. You have to report your taxes by April 15 following the tax year (i.e. 2011 taxes will be filed by April 15, 2012). Tax forms are filed with both the U.S. Government (federal) through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the State in which income was earned. All F-1 and J-1 students and their dependents are considered non-residents (NR) for their first five years in the United States.

International scholars are typically considered NR regarding taxation for their first two years in the United States. It is important to note that these are calendar years, so if you arrive at any point in a year, even on December 30, that will count as the first year of residence. For more information, forms, and publications please visit the IRS website at: www.irs.gov

California Franchise Tax Board website will provide you all information about California State taxes. www.ftb.ca.gov

What forms do I need?

By law, employers, universities, businesses, etc who have given you money through employment over the last year are required to send you the proper documentation no later than January 31st of the following year. So for example, your 2012 taxes are for January 1, 2012 – December 31, 2012 and you will receive your documents early in 2013 since the business/employer is required to send documentation by January 31, 2013.

You will receive different forms in the mail depending on how you have earned money or income for that year. A person who earns a standard wage/salary will receive a W-2 form and will do their taxes based on that information. However, if you have received scholarships, stipends, fellowships, etc., you will receive additional documentation in the mail regarding that money.

Need help filing your taxes?

We realize that U.S. taxes can be quite difficult for international students and scholar to figure out, most Americans are confused by them! So we’re here to help – make sure you utilize the following resources to make filing taxes easier:

Dashew Center Workshops

Every year DCISS organizes Tax Workshops for international student during February, March and April. Keep an eye on the DCISS website for details.


VITA at UCLA is an IRS-sponsored organization that will provide you income tax return assistance. Assistance is FREE of charge. All their volunteers are IRS-certified. You can visit their website to make an appointment or contact them via email at vitaucla@gmail.com.

IMPORTANT NOTE:The IRS will never contact you via email. If you receive such an email, delete it as it is probably a virus. Never share your Social Security Number (SSN) with anyone via email!

U.S. Tax Info

California Tax Info