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Foreign Student/Foreign Scholar Filing Requirements for U.S. Federal Income Tax Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ
Foreign students and foreign scholars have special filing requirements for U.S. federal income tax returns.
- There is no minimum dollar amount of income, which triggers a filing requirement for a nonresident alien, including foreign students or foreign scholars. The dollar limit thresholds which trigger a filing requirement for a U.S. citizen or a resident alien do not apply to nonresident aliens. However, Notice 2005-77 provides that a nonresident alien whose only U.S. source income is wages is not required to file a U.S. federal income tax return unless his U.S. source wages exceed the personal exemption amount. Please refer to Publication 501 to determine the personal exemption amount.
- Filing IS required by nonresident alien students and scholars who have:
- A taxable scholarship or fellowship, as described in Chapter 1 of Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education;
- Income partially or totally exempt from tax under the terms of a tax treaty; and/or
- Any other income, which is taxable under the Internal Revenue Code.
- Filing IS NOT required by nonresident alien students and scholars who have income ONLY from:
- Foreign sources,
- Interest Income from:
- a U.S. bank
- a U.S. savings & loan institution
- a U.S. credit union
- a U.S. insurance company
- an investment, which generates Portfolio Interest (Described in Chapter 3 "Exclusions From Gross Income" - "Interest Income" – "Portfolio interest" of Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens)
- A scholarship or fellowship, which is entirely a Tax Free Scholarship or Fellowship as described in Chapter 1 of Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education; and/or
- Any other income, which is nontaxable under the Internal Revenue Code. However, income, which is not taxable because of an income tax treaty must be reported on a U.S. income tax return even though no income tax is due on the U.S. income tax return.
Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 22-Apr-2013