Federal Income Tax Filing (Resident)
1. Am I considered a Resident Alien for tax purposes?
- F-1 or J-1 students usually become resident aliens for federal tax purposes after being present in the U.S. for five calendar years.
- J-1 scholars usually become resident aliens for federal tax purposes after being present in the U.S. for two calendar years, including any prior time spent as an F-1 or J-1 visa holder.
- If you hold another nonimmigrant status, your tax filing status will be determined by the substantial presence test.
- If you do not know your tax filing status, FNTR (Foreign National Tax Resource) will help you determine it. FNTR is only available for nonresident tax filers. If you are a resident for tax purposes, you will NOT be able to use FNTR.
2. Filing As A Resident Alien
If you have determined that you are a resident alien for tax purposes, the following information applies to you.
- you will file Form 1040, 1040EZ, or 1040A
- you are not required to file Form 8843
- you must declare your worldwide income, not just your U.S. earned income
- your bank interest is considered taxable income
- Social Security taxes (FICA including Medicare) should be withheld from your wages
- Some resident tax filers may still qualify for treaty benefits if the maximum presence limitation has not been met for that particular tax treaty benefit (refer to IRS Publication 901); you will need to complete Form 8833 and submit it along with your 1040.
- If you are claiming a tax treaty benefit as a resident alien for tax purposes, mail your return to:
Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Austin, TX 73301-0215.
3. Need Help Filing?
OISS is unable to provide personal assistance with the completion of Forms 1040, 1040EZ, and 1040A. Federal income tax forms, instructions, and publications may be downloaded from the IRS website. Here are additional resources for completing your federal income tax filing obligations:
- Yale’s Tax Office
- From the IRS website, you can link to free services for e-filing and free tax preparation software (such as Turbo Tax) for individuals with a 2014 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $56,000 or less; information is also available in Spanish
- Refer to IRS Publication 17: Your Federal Income Tax
- Consult a paid tax preparation professional who is certified and who is familiar with nonresident/resident filing issues
- Purchase commercial tax preparation software for individual use (such as Turbo Tax or H&R Block)
4. Keep Copies!
Remember to keep copies of what you file each year (in case your return gets reviewed and there is a problem or if the IRS audits you in the future).
5. “Where’s My Refund?”
If you have determined that you are due a refund for federal income tax purposes, it will take the IRS some time to process your refund. If you submit your return(s) on or close to the filing deadline, it is not uncommon to have to wait several weeks (sometimes 16 to 20 weeks) before receiving your refund or a notice. You can check the status of your return at this IRS link.
This information is intended only for international students and scholars who are resident alien taxpayers with income sources and level typical of students and scholars at Yale University. Although the information contained in this site has been reviewed carefully and should be adequate to assist most international students and scholars, it is not a substitute for advice obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or a qualified tax accountant. If your visa status has changed in the past year, or you believe you have a complicated tax issue, please consult the IRS or a qualified tax accountant.
In addition, while the tax preparation software, Thomson Reuters ONESOURCE™ FNTR, is being provided to assist non-resident tax filers with their tax filing obligations, you are individually responsible for verifying that the correct information has been entered into the tax preparation software and included on all forms and/or other documents printed or derived from the tax preparation software, and ultimately responsible for any errors or omissions.