Please keep in mind that University of Arizona employees, while in their official role at the UA, are not allowed to act as tax consultants or provide tax advice.
All international students and scholars present in the U.S. during 2015 must file a tax return in 2016.
There are several important factors that determine how you will be taxed in the U.S. and what forms you need to submit, including:
Whether you are a resident alien or nonresident alien for tax purposes
Whether you received income
Where you’ve lived and worked in the U.S.
Nonresident Alien v. Resident Alien for tax purposes
International students on F or J visas are nonimmigrants. Most nonimmigrants are also nonresidents for tax purposes. This means they are subject to different criteria then U.S. citizens or permanent residents when paying taxes in the U.S.
If you have been physically present in the U.S. for an extended period of time you might be considered a resident for tax purposes, even though you are a nonimmigrant for immigration purposes. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) created a test called the Substantial Presence Test to determine who should be considered a resident for tax purposes, and therefore pay taxes as a resident. The UA offers a free software system, GLACIER, which administers the Substantial Presence to determine your residency for tax purposes.
Being considered a resident for tax purposes only affects how you file your taxes and how you will be taxed—it does not affect your immigration status.
The term “income” refers to money received for work or through investments or from other sources, such as dividend income, scholarship or fellowships, prizes or awards. A detailed summary of what is considered U.S. source income for the purpose of tax returns can be found on the IRS website.
Federal vs. State Taxes
In the U.S. we distinguish between federal and state taxes. Federal income taxes are the same regardless where you live. State income taxes change depending on where you live or work. If you have lived or worked in more than one state during 2015, you might be required to file income taxes for each state, in addition to your federal income taxes.
GLACIER is an online tax compliance system that allows the UA to efficiently collect information, make tax residency and income tax treaty determinations, manage paperwork, maintain data and file reporting statements with the IRS.
Request a GLACIER account if you are an international student or scholar who:
Receives a cash scholarship payment; or
Receives other taxable payment, such as winning a prize.
If you received a non-cash scholarship, such as a tuition waiver, you are not required to use GLACIER.
Request an Account
To request your free GLACIER account, email the UA Payroll Office. After your account has been set up, you will receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: “Payments from the University of Arizona.” The email will provide instructions for how to create your user account. Be prepared to enter your visa information and the current and past dates that you entered and exited the U.S. when you log into GLACIER.
What GLACIER Does
Determines whether you are a resident alien or nonresident alien for tax purposes. If you are a resident alien for tax purposes, the UA is not required to report or withhold tax from your scholarship income. You must report your scholarship income on your own tax return.
Identifies your eligibility for tax treaty benefits. If you are a nonresident alien for tax purposes, your scholarship will be taxed (14% if you are in F or J status, 30% for other nonimmigrant status), unless you are exempt under an income tax treaty. If you are eligible for a tax treaty benefit for scholarship purposes GLACIER will generate a W-8BEN form for you when you create your account.
Pre-fills applicable tax forms in GLACIER Tax Prep so you can simply sign and mail them. Nonresidents cannot use an online filing service. You must print and mail your tax return.
Sends email reminders if you need to update your information.
Prepares a tax summary report for you. You must sign and date this form and submit to the office indicated on the form:
If you are both employed by the UA and have a cash scholarship from the UA, submit the tax summary report and any additional forms that are generated to FSO Operations Customer Service in University Services Building 402.
If you only have a cash scholarship from the UA, submit the tax summary report (and W-8BEN if tax treaty-eligible) to ISS.
GLACIER Tax Prep
The Office of Global Initiatives has purchased a site license to GLACIER Tax Prep, a tax return preparation software program designed specifically for nonresident alien students, scholars, trainees, researchers and other educational statuses to prepare their U.S. federal income tax return - Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ and Federal Form 8843.
GLACIER Tax Prep is free and limited to University of Arizona students and scholars and their dependents, however, you are not required to use GLACIER Tax Prep to prepare your federal income tax return. The University of Arizona does not provide tax advice and therefore disclaims all liability from the misinterpretation or misuse of GLACIER Tax Prep.
If you already created an account in the GLACIER system, simply select the option highlighted in green: "Complete my U.S. tax return using GLACIER Tax Prep."
If you were at the UA during 2015 but you do not have a GLACIER account because you did not receive any payment from the UA, send an email to request access.
ISS can assist you with logging into GLACIER and GLACIER tax prep. These sessions will not provide help with the completion of the forms as University of Arizona employees, while in their official role at the UA, are not allowed to act as tax consultants or provide tax advice.
For more information about how to use GLACIER Tax Prep, watch the video Welcome to GLACIER Tax Prep ("GTP").
When do I need to file my taxes?
April 15, 2016: F-1 or J-1 students and scholars with U.S. income must file Form 1040NR-EZ or 1040NR and Form 8843 before the deadline.
June 15, 2016: If you did not have income in the U.S. during 2015 you must file Form 8843.
April 15, 2016: You must file form 1040 or 1040-EZ
What forms will I need to file my taxes?
You may receive the following forms in the mail or electronically in UAccess or from your employer:
"Wage and Tax Statement" – This form reports how much income you received from wages and salary from your employer. It also states how much has already been withheld from your income for taxes.
This form is used to report to the IRS:
Salaries and wages that are exempt from federal income tax due to a treaty between the employee's country of residence and the United States
Scholarship or fellowship that is taxable or exempt from federal income tax under an income tax treaty
If you are issued a 1042-S you will be able to download the form in GLACIER by selecting the option "I would like to view/print my Form 1042-S."
Scholarship or fellowship grants that are used to pay certain expenses such as tuition, registration and other mandatory fees are not taxable, and not reportable on Form 1042-S. For more information, read Frequently Asked Questions About the 1042-S Form.
Nonresident aliens are not eligible for education tax benefits. However, the UA cannot determine who is a resident alien and who is a nonresident alien for tax purposes. Additionally, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires universities to provide a 1098-T to any nonresident alien student who requests one. For these reasons, the UA provides 1098-T forms to all students, including international students who may or may not be eligible for an education tax benefit. For more information, read the Frequently Asked Question: "I'm a non-resident alien" on the Bursar’s Office website.
What tax forms do I need to submit to the IRS?
There are many different tax forms. International students and scholars normally only need these:
Federal Income Taxes:
GLACIER Tax Prep automatically determines which of the following forms is applicable to your tax filing situation.
State Income Taxes:
You may be required to file Arizona (or other state) tax returns, depending on your income. For individual assistance with filing your Arizona tax return, contact the Arizona Department of Revenue at 1-800-352-4090.
Arizona Department of Revenue, Tucson Office
400 W. Congress Street
Tucson, AZ 85701
Monday - Friday - 8 am - 5 pm
Arizona State Tax Forms:
If you need to file taxes for another state (for example, if you worked in California during the summer), you can get tax forms for most states from the Federation of Tax Administrators.
Introduction to U.S. Taxation rules, Tax Withholding and Tax Treaties (University of Arizona Tax Compliance Office PowerPoint)
Local Tax Offices
IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center
Tucson Federal Building 1st Floor
300 W. Congress Street
Tucson, AZ 85701
IRS Helpdesk for problems with individual returns: 1-800-829-1040
For automated refund information from the IRS: 1-800-829-4477
Arizona Department of Revenue
Arizona Department of Revenue Tucson Office
400 W. Congress Street
Tucson, AZ 85701
The SSN is a nine-digit number issued by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for federal tax purposes only. It does not entitle you to social security benefits and does not change your immigration status or grant employment authorization.
How to Apply
You are only eligible to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) if you have on campus employment or authorization to work off campus. If you have on-campus employment, such as a student work position or graduate assistantship, International Student Services (ISS) will provide you a letter to take to Social Security Administration (SSA) to apply for your SSN. If you have been authorized for work off-campus (curricular practical training, optional practical training, academic training or severe economic hardship) you do not need to request a letter from ISS before applying at SSA.
To request the letter from ISS, submit the following documents:
UA employer letter (must be in this format and printed on department letterhead)
J-1 students only: J-1 Employment Authorization Form
Normal processing time for ISS is 5 business days. You cannot apply for an SSN until 10 days after your entry to the U.S., and 2 days after your initial immigration record has been registered in SEVIS.
To apply for a SSN from Social Security Administration, bring the following documents:
Original I-20 or DS-2019
Printout of Form I-94
Social Security Letter from ISS if you have on-campus employment
UA Employer SSN letter if you have on-campus employment
Employment Authorization Document (EAD) if approved for OPT
Employment Authorization letter from ISS if on academic training
Your application may take 3-4 weeks to be completed, but you do not need to wait to receive your SSN to begin working. After you apply at SSA, you will be given a receipt, which you can show to your employer so that you can begin to receive your paychecks. After you receive your SSN, you must present it to your employer within 60 days to continue to receive paychecks.
If you are working on-campus, email the UA Payroll office to request your GLACIER account set-up.
If you do not have on-campus employment but you have received a cash scholarship, you may be eligible for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). For example, if you are an athlete who received a cash athletic scholarship from the UA, or if you received a scholarship from the university that exceeds tuition and fees, or can be used for living expenses, you may be eligible.
The ITIN is a nine-digit number issued by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for federal tax purposes only. It does not entitle you to social security benefits and does not change your immigration status or grant employment authorization.
How do I apply for an ITIN?
In some cases International Student Services (ISS) might be able to assist you. Meet with an international student advisor to find out if you should apply for an ITIN. Bring all your immigration documents and the scholarship award letter with you.
If you or your dependent need an ITIN, but ISS is unable to assist, work with the Tucson Taxpayer Assistance Center. They can initiate the Form W-7 process locally and then forward the application for processing. The normal Form W-7/ ITIN processing time is 1-2 months.