Taxes and Social Security Numbers
PLEASE NOTE: ADVISORS IN THE INTERNATIONAL STUDENT OFFICE ARE NOT ABLE TO GIVE TAX ADVICE ABOUT INDIVIDUAL CASES AS WE ARE NOT TAX PROFESSIONALS.
General Tax Information
If you received any U.S. income during the year, you are required to file federal and state tax “returns” and pay any required taxes by the April deadline. Please note that salary from a job is not the only kind of earnings that are taxed. Many types of income are taxable.
While employers withhold money from your paycheck throughout the year and send it to the IRS, it may not equal the exact amount owed at the end of the year. If too much was withheld, you may be eligible for a refund. If not enough was withheld, you will owe money. If you believe you paid any taxes in error, filing a U.S. and Kentucky State tax return is the only way to receive a refund.
If you had no U.S. income the previous year and are still in the U.S., you must complete form 8843.
A tax service provider will help you complete form 1040NR or 1040NREZ and the 8843.
Federal Tax Return: Discount codes are provided by ISSS to assist with the costs associated with filing your federal tax return through Sprintax. These codes along with instructions have been sent via email to all international students. If you did not receive the email, you can request the code by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
State Tax Return:For filing state tax returns, you have the option of also using Sprintax for a fee or going to a different tax preparation service of your choosing. For more information click HERE.
You cannot complete your tax forms until you have received a report of your income from the previous year. This is generally reported on form W-2 or 1042-S. You may receive one or both of these forms. If you received additional income—say as an independent contractor—you may receive a 1099MISC.
If you receive a form 1098-T or a form 1095, these are not needed if you are a non-resident for tax purposes.
The U.S. has income tax treaties with many different countries. Residents of these countries may be taxed at a reduced rate or be exempt from U.S. income tax withholding on specific kinds of U.S.-source income. Treaties vary among countries. If the treaty does not cover a particular kind of income, or if there is no treaty between your country and the U.S., you must pay tax on the income in the same way and at the same rates shown in the instructions for Form 1040NR. A tax service provider will tell you if you may claim tax treaty benefits.
WARNING - Fake phone calls about immigration forms or taxes
The International Student Office would like to warn you about phone calls from criminals pretending to be from U.S. government agencies such as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the IRS (Internal Revenue Service), or the Kentucky Department of Treasury.
The caller may ask for personal information and may even try to threaten you by saying that the police (or other agencies) will arrest you for not filling out a form or not paying your taxes. The calls may be "robo-calls" making "urgent" callback requests. Also, criminals sometimes use “spoofing services” to choose the number or name that shows up on your phone, so the call may appear to come from a government agency, but it actually does not.
Please be careful! Criminals have stolen students' money this way. These calls are fake or “scam” calls.
USCIS will not call you to ask for any form of payment over the phone. If the IRS or the Kentucky Treasury Department believes that you owe taxes or if they have questions about your tax forms, they will write you a letter. If you receive a call like this, just hang up. Also, U.S. government agencies will never ask for payment with iTunes cards.
If you receive a call like this and are not sure what to do: Call the International Student Office or the WKU Police Department (270) 745-2548. The WKU Police Department is always open so if you get a call like this at night or over the weekend you can always call them for advice. Call for advice BEFORE sending money.
For more information about these calls and about what to do;
- The U.S. Government has also prepared information for students (but it is useful for everyone) to help you avoid these scams: Important Message to Students: Protect Yourself from Scams
- The IRS has also prepared information:
- Phone Scams Continue to be a Serious Threat, Remain on IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for the 2016 Filing Season
Social Security Numbers
In the U.S, a Social Security number (SSN) is a 9-digit number issued to citizens and eligible non-citizens. Its primary purpose is to track individuals for taxation purposes. You can apply for a SSN only with a job offer and an employer cannot pay you until you provide them with your SSN. According to the Social Security Administration, your job offer for on-campus employment must be authorized by a Designated School Official and the Department of Homeland Security in order to apply for a Social Security number.