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Income Tax Questions

If you received U.S. based income in the previous tax year:

All F-1, J-1, and J-2 visa holders who have earned income (i.e.: salary, scholarships, stipend, etc) from sources in the United States during the previous year are required by Internal Revenue Service (IRS) policies to complete a federal income tax form.  Additionally, the Form 8843 must be also be completed to report your physical presence and reaffirm your non-resident alien status in the U.S. If you fail to file Form 8843,  you will be non-compliant with US tax laws and the IRS can choose to treat you as a resident alien for tax purposes.  If they do so, your worldwide income is subject to US taxation.

Both forms must be postmarked by April 15th.

If you did not receive any U.S. based income in the previous tax year:

Only Form 8843 must be filed by June 15th.

Am I a Resident Alien or Non-Resident Alien for tax purposes?

The forms you use to file your income taxes will depend on your residency status for tax purposes, and whether or not you received U.S. based income that year.  Although you are a non-resident for immigration purposes, you may be considered a resident alien for tax purposes.

The Vanderbilt International Tax office uses Windstar Foreign National Tax Resource (FNTR) to collect immigration information to determine residency for tax purposes.  You will enter your information in Windstar FNTR when you begin working at Vanderbilt.  You should always update Windstar FNTR with any changes to your address and visa status.

How do I determine if I need to pay taxes?
In January or February each year, your current and/or previous employer will send you a W-2 or 1042 form.  These tax statements will tell you how much money has been withheld from your paychecks for taxes.  You will receive a statement from any source of interest or income you have received in the previous year, including scholarships.  You will use this information to complete tax forms and determine the amount you must pay in income taxes for that year.  If additional taxes are owed, the amount owed is submitted to the IRS with the tax forms.  If too much tax has been withheld, the IRS will issue a refund.

I need to complete tax forms but I do not have a Social Security Number. What do I do?
Non-residents who do not have a social security number must file a form W-7 to obtain an Individual Tax Payer Identification Number (ITIN).

How do I complete the tax forms?
Vanderbilt International Services and International Tax (VISIT) provides access to Windstar FNTR, a computer program that is designed to help non-immigrants prepare tax forms.

The Windstar FNTR program will ask all of the required questions (including tax treaties) and generate all of the necessary paperwork. All you will need to do is print and mail the completed forms from Windstar FNTR. Remember: 1040NR (EZ) tax forms are due April 15th!

You can complete the 8843 form on Windstar FNTR as well.  Please note that Tennessee does not have state income tax requirements, unlike many other states. However, if you earned income in another state during last year, you should contact your former university or state government for information on those forms.

You will receive an e-mail from VISIT each year when Windstar FNTR is available.  The e-mail will provide you with instructions and a password to log on to the program from any computer.

To access Windstar FNTR, go to: https://trr.windstar.com/