Filing Your US Taxes

Income taxes are often complicated, even for those native to the United States. International student advisors and staff at CSU do not have the proper training or legal authority to offer direct assistance with the completion of tax returns, but we can provide you the resources below.

Who must file tax forms?

Almost everyone, including dependents. Nonresident aliens in the U.S. in any nonimmigrant status, including a dependent status, must file Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 8843, even if no income was earned. Nonresidents who received U.S. source income in a given year must also file federal and state tax returns. Income may include wages, scholarships, fellowships, graduate assistantships, etc. For nonresident aliens, income does not include bank interest. Nonresidents who received U.S. source income during a particular tax year should file either 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ by April 15 of the following year. Individuals with tax treaty benefits or otherwise expecting to receive Form 1042-S from CSU should wait until that form is received (usually in March) before attempting to prepare a tax return.

Am I considered a “nonresident” for tax purposes?

Generally, F-1 and J-1 students (and their F-2/J-2 dependents) are usually considered tax nonresidents for the first five calendar years.

  • J-1 scholars (and J-2 dependents) are usually considered tax nonresidents for two calendar years (if not previously exempt).
  • H-1B employees are usually residents or dual residents after holding H-1B status for more than 183 days.
  • If you are married to a tax resident, you may choose to be a tax resident.

For specific information on determining your tax residency status, see IRS publication 519 (downloadable from For GLACIER Tax Prep users, GLACIER Tax Prep will determine your tax residency status.

Where can I get help preparing my U.S. federal tax forms?

GLACIER Tax Prep is available free of charge for international students, faculty, staff and visiting scholars who were associated with Colorado State University at any time during the calendar year. GLACIER Tax Prep, which is expected to be available starting mid-February, is a web-based program that completes your tax forms based upon the information you provide. You then print, sign and mail your completed forms to the IRS. GLACIER Tax Prep is not the same as the GLACIER Online Tax Compliance software used by the CSU Tax Office for calculating tax withholding, but you can access GLACIER Tax Prep through your GLACIER Online Tax Compliance account if you have one. Otherwise, GLACIER Tax Prep is accessed by visiting the website and entering your User ID and Password from last year or creating a new account.

Individuals that used GLACIER Tax Prep last year can use the same User ID and Password again and retrieve a copy of last year’s return. If you are new to GLACIER Tax Prep, you will be prompted to enter the CSU common access code. The ISSS Office at CSU will make the common access code available by mid-February. Please email if you need the code. After accessing the system, you will create your own unique User ID and Password. Individuals should use the common access code only once.

After completing your tax forms, be sure to print the forms and the instruction sheet, which will indicate the correct mailing address for your forms. E-filing is not available through GLACIER Tax Prep.

What if I still need more help?

VITA volunteers will be providing free U.S. federal and state income tax assistance here on campus by appointment for nonresident and resident foreign students, teachers, researchers and their immediate family members. Limited parking is available. Please see below for instructions to make an appointment.

Parking in the immediate vicinity is limited to those with the appropriate CSU parking permit. For joint resident return preparation, both spouses must be present, or the person present must have a signed power of attorney form 2848 from his or her spouse. This form can be downloaded from the IRS website and instructions for preparation can be obtained when calling for an appointment.

Needed documentation includes:

  • Passports, Visas and U.S. arrival/departure records for the filer and all family members in the U.S. from the filer’s first entry into the U.S. as either a student or teacher/researcher;
  • Social Security card (or ITIN) for the filer and all family members who have one;
  • An INS Alien Registration Card and/or Employment Authorization Card (if issued);
  • Copies of all W-2, 1098-T, 1042-S and 1099 forms received;
  • If stock was sold, a record of the purchase and sales dates and original cost will be needed and, if contributions were made to any U.S. charities or religious groups, receipts for these can be used to reduce taxable income. Non-reimbursed family moving expenses for employment may be claimed with provision of supporting documentation. Student loan payments may also be deductible and non-resident students with taxable portions of scholarships or resident students may deduct out-of-pocket school expenses for which they have receipts and resident students may be eligible for financial education credit

Finally, if tax returns were filed for the prior year and copies are available, it is helpful if these can be provided. When emailing for an appointment, please indicate if you believe you may need to apply for an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) for a spouse or family member.

How do I make an appointment to meet with a VITA volunteer?


If you know you are a nonresident for tax purposes and you have not already prepared an income tax return on GLACIER Tax Prep, please wait until you have received all relevant tax documents before making an appointment.

To obtain an appointment, you must:

  1. Fill out a Form 13614NR
  2. Fill out Form 8843
  3. Sign ALL FOUR Signature pages
  4. Email your completed forms to:

Make sure your email message includes your correct phone number, email address, and times that you can be contacted to set up an appointment.

If you know you are a nonresident and you have already completed a return using GLACIER Tax Prep, you can make an appointment to have your completed return checked by a VITA volunteer on a space available basis by following these same instructions.


If you know you are a resident with tax treaty benefits, you will be declaring worldwide income. Any income from another country will have to be declared. If you have not yet received your tax documents, please wait to make an appointment until you have received all relevant information.

To obtain an appointment, you must:

  1. Fill out a Form 13614-C
  2. Sign ALL FOUR Signature pages
  3. Email your completed forms to:

Make sure your email message includes your correct phone number, email address, and times that you can be contacted to set up an appointment.

Residents with No Treaty Benefits

You can visit any of the other VITA sites.

Useful IRS Forms & Publications