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Tax Filing Requirements for Individuals in F, J, H, and TN Visa Status

International Scholars > Taxes > Tax Filing Requirements

Please note: Because of legal restrictions on our capacity to advise you about tax liabilities, the ISchO staff is not able to answer individual questions regarding your tax situation.

Federal Requirements

All taxpayers must submit a tax form (or "file a tax return") each year with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the government agency that handles federal taxes, and may also be required to submit a state tax form. The U.S. tax system is based on the principle of self-assessment. Therefore, it is the individual's responsibility to understand the requirements.

The IRS has federal tax filing requirements for individuals in nonimmigrant visa statuses and their dependents. The requirements vary according to whether the student, scholar, or dependent is considered a resident or a nonresident alien for federal tax purposes.

Nonresident Aliens for Federal Tax Purposes

Individuals in nonimmigrant visa statuses who are nonresident aliens for federal tax purposes may be required to submit tax forms to the IRS. This is true for individuals who: (1) received U.S.-source income in 2013; and/or (2) are covered by a tax treaty; and/or (3) received no U.S.-source income in 2013.

  • Those who received U.S.-source income and/or who are covered by a tax treaty must submit Form 8843 AND either Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ by April 15, 2014; they may also be required to submit other federal forms as well as state tax forms.
  • Those who received NO U.S.-source income other than bank interest must only submit federal Form 8843 by June 16, 2014.

    Please note: Form 8843 must be completed by each scholar at MIT who is in J-1 or F-1 status and who is a nonresident alien for tax purposes.

    Completed Forms 8843 and/or Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ should be mailed to: Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service Center, Austin, TX 73301-0215.

Resident Aliens for Federal Tax Purposes

Individuals in nonimmigrant visa statuses (e.g. F, J, H, TN, etc.) who are resident aliens for federal tax purposes are required to submit Form 1040 (not 1040NR) and are not required to submit Form 8843.

Resident aliens for federal tax purposes are subject to taxation based on worldwide income, and tax treaty benefits may or may not apply. If dependents who are residents for federal tax purposes have any worldwide income, they may file either a joint or separate Form 1040.

Please consult the instruction booklet of Form 1040 for the proper mailing address for your federal tax form if you are a resident for federal tax purposes. Other federal forms as well as state tax forms may also be required.

Please note: MIT affiliates and employees who change immigration status and/or become resident aliens for federal tax purposes should notify the MIT Payroll Office, NE49-4097, and file a new Form W-4, if necessary. This is the responsibility of each scholar, not of MIT.

Dual Status in the Same Tax Year

Those who have changed visa and/or tax status during the course of 2013 and individuals in H-1, H-4, TN, or TD visa status who were in the United States fewer than 183 days in 2013 may have additional issues or filing requirements and should consult the IRS resource materials carefully (See IRS Publication 519, which can be downloaded from http://www.irs.gov/formspubs/).

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Social Security and Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers

Individuals who receive U.S.-source income from employment must have a Social Security Number (SSN) to submit U.S. income tax forms. Individuals who are not paid through a U.S. source but who are in a visa status that permits certain types of employment (e.g. J-1, F-1, J-2 with EAD, TN) are advised to obtain a SSN. Those who are not eligible to work (e.g. J-2 without work authorization, F-2, H-4, TD) should apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) if they will be claimed as dependents on the principal's (scholar's) tax form. A SSN or ITIN is REQUIRED for Forms 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ. See http://web.mit.edu/scholars/tin.html for more information and instructions for obtaining these numbers.

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Massachusetts State Income Tax Filing Requirements

If you are a nonresident for federal tax purposes, this does not necessarily mean you will be a nonresident for state tax purposes.

  • An international scholar can be a Massachusetts resident for state tax purposes if he/she: (1) maintained a "permanent place of abode" in Massachusetts during 2013 AND (2) resided in Massachusetts for more than 183 days in 2013.
  • An international scholar can be a Massachusetts part-year resident for state tax purposes if he/she: (1) maintained a "permanent place of abode" in Massachusetts during 2013 AND (2) resided in Massachusetts for less than 183 days in 2013.

    A "permanent place of abode" does not include a dormitory room. However, an apartment or house is a permanent place of abode even if shared with several roommates.

If you were a resident or part-year resident of Massachusetts and your Massachusetts gross income listed on your federal tax form was more than $8,000, you are required to submit a Massachusetts income tax form. However, this does not necessarily mean you will be taxed on this income. Massachusetts tax forms are Form 1 for residents and Form 1-NR/PY for part-year residents. Please note that the form "Schedule HC, Health Care Information" must be submitted with Form 1 and Form 1-NR/PY.

Nonresidents for state tax purposes must file Form 1-NR/PY only if they earned income from a Massachusetts state source. They must report only income earned within Massachusetts.

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Where to Obtain Federal and State Tax Forms and Publications

  • Download federal forms and publications from http://www.irs.gov/formspubs/
  • Download Massachusetts forms and publications from http://www.mass.gov/dor --> Forms --> Personal Income Tax
  • Contact the IRS Forms Distribution Center at 1-800-829-3676 (1-800-TAX-FORM)
  • Contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 and wait for appropriate voice prompts
  • Visit the local IRS office [JFK Building lobby, Government Center]

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Last Updated: October 2014

77 Massachusetts Ave, Room E38-219, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307 | Telephone: (617) 253-2851 | Fax: (617) 253-6624 | E-mail: iso@mit.edu