Filing Your US Taxes

Income taxes are often complicated, even for those living in the United States their whole lives 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 Form1040NRby the filing deadline 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 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 www.irs.gov).  For GLACIER Tax Prep users, GLACIER Tax Prep will determine your tax residency status. 

Where Can I Receive Help With My 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 is a web-based program that completes nonresident tax forms based on the information you provide.  You then print, sign and mail your completed forms to the IRS.  GLACIER Tax Prep is expected to be available starting mid-February. 

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 already have one.  Otherwise, GLACIER Tax Prep is accessed by visiting the websiteand 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 CSUcommon access code The ISSS Office at CSU will make the common access code available by mid-February.  Please send a message to ISSS@colostate.edu 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 follow the included instructions for printing and mailing the 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 to nonresident and resident international students, teachers, researchers and their immediate family members.  Assistance is provided by appointmentthrough Zoom 

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

International students and scholars may visit SignUpGenius to schedule a Zoom appointment with a VITA volunteer.  Please make sure to complete the required intake forms prior to your appointment.   

A VITA volunteer can also provide access to TaxSlayer if you would prefer to e-file your return. 

Required documentation typically 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. 

Note for Tax Residents:

You may contact any Fort Collins VITA site for assistance with your tax returns.  Please see the MakeChangeNoCo.org website for instructions.  

Additional Resources

 Information contained on this page is intended to provide general information and does not constitute legal advice.  Anyone with specific tax-related questions are encouraged to seek the advice of competent expert in the field.