US Tax Guide for International Students

Lorien Finance
Lorien Finance

There are many requirements you have to abide by as an international student in the U.S. One requirement is filing taxes, which is a daunting task for foreigners who have never encountered such proceedings before. Check out this article to find everything you need to know about completing your tax filings.

The Visa Process and Non-Resident Aliens

The F-1 academic student visa is issued to qualified students wishing to visit the U.S. temporarily to pursue a full course of academic study in approved schools by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)

As part of the application process, international students must demonstrate adequate financial resources to pay for the approved academic program and living expenses. This is where institutions like Lorien Finance come to the rescue by offering low interest education loans with full coverage to help aspiring Indian students fulfill their dreams and career goals in the USA!

F-1 visa holders are permitted to work during their stay in the U.S. However, this kind of part-time work must be on campus and limited to twenty hours per week during the semester and full-time during breaks, holidays, and school vacations

Hence, federal and state income tax must be paid on income earned in the U.S. Although F-1 visa holders are here temporarily, they are required to pay taxes and file required tax returns on earnings not exempt by tax treaties. Tax treaties may exempt a limited amount of earned income and scholarships. Otherwise, wages earned, scholarships and grants, income from stock options, lottery or gambling winnings, and any other types of non-wage income are taxable under the Internal Revenue Code.

As an F-1 visa international Indian student, you are considered a non-resident alien and would need to file form 1040NR-EZ or 1040-NR to evaluate your federal income and taxes.  Non-resident aliens need to file taxes only if they have a US source of income. In other words, the US doesn’t tax the foreign source of income of non-residents.

Types Of Taxes

More than 8,600 universities and colleges welcome students from over 229 countries to study in the United States (U.S.) (Institute of International Education, 2020). It’s imperative to know the types of taxes the government has in the country where you will live all by yourself. Here’s the list of types of taxes for you:

  • Income Tax

  • Property Tax

  • Sales Tax

  • Estate Tax

  • Gift Tax

  • Social Security Tax

  • Mediocre Tax

  • Tariffs

Getting a Social Security Number

If you're an international student studying in the United States, first, you'll need to get a Social Security number (SSN). This nine-digit number is issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and is used for tax purposes.

To get an SSN, you'll need to fill out an application and provide proof of your identity and immigration status. You need an official job letter to apply and get an SSN. You can find more information on the SSA website.

Once you have your SSN, you'll need to file a federal income tax return. You can find more information on the IRS website.

State taxes vary from state to state, so be sure to check with your state's tax authority for specific requirements.

That’s quite a lot of work to get that SSN. But what if we told you that you could be financially independent by opening a Bank A/C in the USA without an SSN! Yes, Lorien Finance provides a complimentary US Bank A/C and Debit Card to you even before you arrive in the USA. Go check out our website for more !

Understanding Tax Filing, Personal Identification Numbers (PIN), Foreign schools, and more The first step in filing your taxes is to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). 

Once you have your SSN or ITIN, you will need to gather all of your tax documents. These may include:

-W-2 forms from your employer (if you had any income from employment in the US)

Taxes for Dependents

As an international student in the U.S., you may be able to claim certain tax-dependent benefits. This can reduce your tax bill and help you keep more of your hard-earned money.

When it comes to taxes, there are a few things you need to know about claiming dependent benefits. First, you can only claim dependents if they meet certain criteria. They must either be your spouse or child, and they must have lived with you for at least half the year.

Once you've determined who your eligible dependents are, you'll need to gather some information about them. This includes their full name, date of birth, and Social Security number (if they have one). You'll also need to fill out some paperwork detailing your relationship to them and why they meet the criteria for being a dependent.

Once you have all the necessary information, you can begin filing your tax return. On the return, you'll need to list each dependent's name, date of birth, and Social Security number (if they have one). You'll also need to provide some information about your relationship to them and why they meet the criteria for being a dependent.

With all this information in hand, you're ready

The Self Compliance System

The U.S. tax structure operates under a voluntary compliance self-assessment system in which citizens or individuals residing within the U.S. are held accountable for determining their own tax requirement responsibilities. Under a voluntary compliance system, taxpayers must fulfil government obligations on their own to meet enforced directives and regulations that can result in penalties for inaccuracy or noncompliance.

Hence, you, as an international student, need to be vigilant and have enough tax filing knowledge and education since you could face penalties on default and may even skim your future chances of applying for permanent residency in the USA. 

You could check with your peers for more information or regularly check the government website to keep yourself well informed.

You may also want to keep checking Lorien Finance blog section to check out tips about tax and savings by the ex and existing students in the USA!


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At Lorien, we provide top-notch services that assist you in your study abroad journey. From counselling to finances to visa assistance and so much more, you name it, and our experts will help you throughout!

Finance Your study abroad dreams

Finance Your study abroad dreams...

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