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Offices & Services > Office of International Student Services > Employment and Taxes



Office of International Student Services

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



A fall sunset from the west side of Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Paying taxes as an F-1 or J-1 student or scholar

In general, international students on the F-1 or J-1 visa who have been in the U.S. for five or fewer years as students or scholars are nonresident aliens for tax purposes. Nonresident aliens for tax purposes must report their length of stay for the previous calendar year using IRS Form 8843, as well as income earned if applicable. If you earned less than $3,950 in 2014 and do not want a refund, Form 8843 is the only form you need to file. The postmark deadline for filing taxes is April 15 of the current year. Students on the F-1 visa who have been in the U.S. for more than five years as students will likely file taxes as residents, and should consult with the international student advisor. 

Nonresident aliens should report income earned from on-campus work, CPT internship, or OPT using IRS form 1040NR-EZ. Income earned must also be reported to the State of Illinois using form IL-1040, filing as if you were a state resident. Follow the links below to obtain forms and directions:

As soon as you have received your W-2 Wage and Tax Statement from the Knox College Business Office, you may file your federal and state tax returns. The W-2 Statement is provided in January and comes in an envelope marked "Important Tax Return Document Enclosed." You will need the following documents and information to file your taxes:

  • A calendar
  • Your passport, for dates of entry and departure from the U.S. during the tax year
  • Form IRS 1040NR-EZ (PDF)
  • Instructions IRS 1040NR-EZ (PDF)
  • Form IRS 8843 (PDF)
  • Illinois State tax form IL-1040 (PDF)
  • Instructions IRS IL-1040 (PDF)
  • Your W-2 statement from the Business Office

Please note the following guidance:

  • Read and complete each line of each form, entering a '0' or 'N/A' if the item doesn't apply.
  • Any items referencing Social Security, Medicare, credits, scholarships, grants, loans, schedules, worksheets, or estimated tax do not apply to you. Do not apply your refund to a future tax year.
  • Your identifying number is your SSN.
  • Your days in the U.S. as F-1 or J-1 are all exempt from the substantial presence test.
  • Your specialized program director is Joshua Ferchau.
  • Any sum that would be a negative number is entered as '0'.
  • Pay particular attention to the U Texas website if you are from India, Canada, or Mexico.
  • You claim 1 exemption yearly for federal or state taxes.

Graduates on OPT, recent alumni, and students abroad:

Please note that it is your responsibility to make sure the Business Office or Alumni Office and the international student advisor have your current address. Nonresident aliens studying abroad or engaging in OPT are obligated to file form 8843 to maintain good immigration status and may also need to file a tax return.

Recent alumni and those on OPT may have earned salaries requiring payment of taxes. If a Green Card or H-1B status is in your future, it is important that you file a yearly tax return while in F-1 status. Remember to file an IRS tax return for the year you graduated and the year you completed your OPT. Note: For updates please contact a Designated School Official, Josh Ferchau or Rebecca Eckart.

Knox College

Printed on Monday, February 08, 2016

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