Introduction to U.S. Income Tax Regulations
(For Tax Year 2012)
All students in F and J status are required to file tax returns, even if you have earned no income in the United States. The ISSS has tax forms available in late January, and provides on-line webcasts that explain how to complete the forms. For the eighth year, BU international students, alumni and faculty who qualify as non residents (see below) will be able to use the Glacier Tax Prep tax preparation program to complete their federal tax returns.
Students who filed tax returns last year may receive both U.S. federal and state income tax forms for the new tax year in the mail in January. If you were employed in the U.S. at anytime during 2012, you are required to file an income tax form, whether you are a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or non-immigrant.
International students in F or J status for 5 years or less (since 2008 or later) and their dependents, file tax forms as non-residents. Research scholars or faculty in J-1 status for 2 years or less (since 2011 or later) also file as non-residents. If you did not earn any U.S. income during 2012 other than bank or credit union interest, then you need only file form 8843, Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition. The purpose of the 8843 is to verify that the non-resident qualifies to exempt days of presence, and thus shields the non-resident from being taxed as a resident. Being taxed as a U.S. resident allows the IRS to tax your world-wide income.
International students who have been in for F or J status for more than 5 years, research scholars and faculty who have been in J-1 status for more than 2 years, or those who are in other non-immigrant statuses, are generally eligible to file as residents for tax purposes, and must use different forms.
The office of International Student and Scholar Services has form 8843 available for distribution along with other tax forms each January. There is an announcement made in ISSS-BU once the tax forms arrive. If you were employed during 2012, you can expect to receive form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, sometime before the end of January. Your bank, credit union or other financial institution will mail you a yearly statement of interest as well.
The deadline for filing your income tax returns is April 15, 2013
International Student and Scholar Services staff are neither qualified nor permitted to give individual tax advice. Students with complicated tax situations may wish to consult with a tax preparation service, professional tax accountant, or tax attorney who is knowledgeable about nonresident tax law.