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Earnings from employment, including income from assistantships, are usually subject to federal, state and local income taxes.

2023 Tax Filing

In-person tax clinics are back!  Lehigh will host a series of in-person tax clinics on Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23.  Read below for more info!  

Anyone receiving a 1042-S can pick it up from OISS between February 19 and March 18.  All students and scholars who were at Lehigh during the 2023 Tax Year received an e-mail from OISS on February 15 with details about filing your taxes. You can review that information here as well.   

W-2 tax forms should be available from Payroll by January 31.     

**Please note that OISS staff are not tax experts and are not able to answer many of your tax-specific questions. 
**If you have questions about how to file your taxes, we recommend that you make use of the resources linked below.

 

Section 1

How to File U.S. Taxes Prior to April 15, 2024

  1. I am here on an F or J visa.  Am I a nonresident alien?

    1. The easiest way to do this is to utilize this tool: Am I a Nonresident Alien?

      1. You will select the tax year, then enter your visa type and U.S. travel history. The tool will do the math to tell you if you are a nonresident alien or resident alien, and if you are an exempt individual who must file a form 8843.

    2. You can also determine this yourself. The first thing to determine is if you are an “exempt” individual.  Exempt, in this case, means exempt from the Substantial Presence Test, not exempt from paying taxes.  If you are exempt you are usually a nonresident alien.  Use this flowchart to determine if you are exempt:

    3. If you are not exempt, then you are subject to the Substantial Presence Test to determine if you are a resident or nonresident alien.  Use this flowchart to determine if you are a resident or nonresident alien:

 

  1. Do I need to file a tax return?

    1. All individuals who are exempt from the Substantial Presence Test need to file Form 8843.  You do not need an SSN/ITIN to file the following form.  The form has information about your visa status, where you are going to school / doing research or teaching, and when you have been in the U.S. 
      1. Form 8843
      2. Step-by-Step Instructions
    2. If you are a nonresident alien, you will need to file a federal income tax return if:
      1. You receive any U.S. income that is taxable.  Taxable income can include but is not limited to:  wages from a job, scholarships that cover room and board, interest, dividends, gains from stock sales, and earnings as an independent contractor.
      2. You receive a scholarship that is partially or totally tax-free due to a tax treaty.
      3. To claim a tax treaty. 
    3. If you are a nonresident alien and you file a federal return, you will also likely need to file state (PA) and local (Bethlehem) returns.  See the following section on how to file a tax return for details. 
    4. Resident aliens are subject to different rules about filing a tax return than nonresident aliens. Resident aliens can also get assistance with filing their tax returns. See the following section on how to file a return for details
       
  2. How do I file a federal income tax return?
     
    1. If you need to file a federal income tax return, OISS has partnered with the NonResident Tax Help Group (NoRTH) and the Nonresident Volunteer Tax Assistance Program (NRVTAP) to offer free tax assistance to all Lehigh students, scholars, teachers, researchers, and staff.
      1. You can request a free membership with NoRTH on their website: nrvtaxhelp.org, or by using this direct link: Lehigh TY 2023 Membership (you must use your school email)
        * If you are on OPT and no longer have access to your Lehigh e-mail, you should use your Lehigh alumni e-mail. 
        *If you were at Lehigh as a scholar and no longer have access to your Lehigh e-mail, please use your home institution e-mail address
      2. With your free membership you will have 24/7 access to their free tax software, tools, guides, and support. The software supports preparation and e-filing of both federal and state tax returns. They offer support over email, as well as both remote and in-person tax clinic appointments. You will register for a tax clinic appointment through the NoRTH website.  
      3. OISS is sponsoring a series of in-person tax clinics at Lehigh University on March 22nd & 23rd.  Once you are a member, you can sign up for one of the available appointments at these clinics. The "Get Help" link is in the top right corner of website below the blue navigation bar.
    2. Once you have requested a membership, NoRTH’s website walks you through the steps to prepare your tax return. Generally, you will need to gather your income documents, confirm your return is in scope, and then prepare your tax return using their tools, guides, and other support.     
    3. You will need the following documents to prepare your tax return:
      1. Passport and U.S. entry/exit dates. You can get this information from your I-94 travel history.
      2.  Visa information (I-20 or DS-2019)
      3. Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
      4. All income documents (W-2, 1042-S, 1099)
        1. You will receive a 1042-S if you are a recipient of a Lehigh scholarship or fellowship. Please refer to the email sent by intnl@lehigh.edu on <forthcoming> for more information.
      5. 2022 tax return, if you filed

 

Section 2

Additional Tax Information (including links to various tax forms)

Additional information on federal income tax obligations may be found in Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Publication 515, Withholding on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Corporations, and 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.

Who must file

You must file Form 1040NR if you were a nonresident alien and received income in the United States during 2023. You must file even if your income is exempt from U.S. tax under a tax treaty or any section of the Internal Revenue Code.

You do not need to file Form 1040NR if you were a nonresident alien student, teacher, or trainee who was temporarily present in the United States under an “F,” “J,” “M,” or “Q” visa, and you have no U.S. source income (such as wages, salaries, tips, etc., or scholarship or fellowship grants).

Individuals who are temporarily in the U.S. under an “F,” “J,” “M,” or “Q” will be exempt from the Substantial Presence Test – students for their first 5 calendar years, others for the first 2 calendar years (provided they were not previously exempt in the prior 6 years).  Individuals who are exempt from the Substantial Presence Test need to file form 8843.  If you file an income tax return, you file form 8843 with that return.  If you do not need to file an income tax return, you will send only that form.  You do not need an SSN/ITIN to file this form.  The form has information about your visa status, where you are going to school / doing research or teaching, and when you have been in the U.S.

If you are required to file an income tax return, you must file with IRS no later than the 15th day of the fourth month after your tax year ends, with adjustments for weekends and holidays. For example, for the 2023 calendar year, the tax return must be filed by April 15, 2024. 

NONRESIDENT ALIEN VS. RESIDENT ALIEN

If you have been in the U.S. as an F-1 or J-1 student for more than five years (counting the first year you arrived) and you pass the substantial presence test, you are a Resident Alien for tax purposes. If you have been in the U.S. as a J-1 scholar for more than two of the past six years (counting the first year of arrival) and pass the substantial presence test, you are a Resident Alien for tax purposes. You may use the "Am I A Nonresident Alien?" tool to determine your residency for tax purposes.

WHERE TO FILE TAXES

NonResident Alien

If you are not enclosing a payment, file Form 1040NR at the following address:

Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service Center
Austin, TX 73301-0215

If you owe taxes and are enclosing a payment, mail your return to:

Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 1303
Charlotte, NC 28201-1303

Resident Alien

Use the address shown in the instructions for the form 1040 you are using.

PENALTIES FOR NOT FILING OR FILING LATE

If you are required to file a tax return but fail to file by the due date, you may have to pay a failure-to-file penalty. The penalty is usually 5% for each month or part of a month that a return is late, but not more than 25%. If you are more than 60 days late, the minimum penalty is the smaller of $205 or 100% of the unpaid tax.

You may be subject to criminal prosecution (brought to trial) for actions such as 1) tax evasion; 2) willful failure to file a return, supply information or pay any tax due; 3) fraud and false statements; or 4) preparing and filing a fraudulent return.

There might also be immigration consequences for failing to file taxes. Applicants for permanent residency or green card are often asked to show proof of tax filing for previous years in the US.

For more information on penalties for failure to file returns or pay taxes as required, please refer to Page 37 of IRS Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.

STATE INCOME TAX

If you had taxable income for Pennsylvania (Box 15 on Form W-2 is PA and Box 16 is not zero), you must file a PA-40 tax return by the April due date. If you had taxable income for another state (Box 16 on Form W-2 is not zero and Box 15 is other than PA), you may also need to file a return for that state.
**The free tax software will prepare federal and state income tax returns.  There is a guide for preparing Pennsylvania state tax returns, and guides are available for several other states.  If there is no guide for a particular state, you can check with that state’s tax department for guidance.

CITY INCOME TAX

If you had taxable income for the City of Bethlehem (Box 20 on Form W-2 is BETHLEHEM and Box 18 is not zero), you must file a Keystone local tax return by the April due date. Do not submit Form 1042-S with your Keystone tax return. If you had taxable income for another locality (Box 18 is not zero and Box 20 is other than BETHLEHEM), you may also need to file a return for that locality.
**The free tax software does not prepare local tax returns.  The Pennsylvania state tax return guide does include information about how to prepare and file your local tax return. 

Tax terms 

Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement

This form is issued by your employer. If you worked at Lehigh, your W-2 will come from Lehigh’s Payroll Office

Form 1042-S, Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding

International students and scholars who signed a treaty or received a fellowship stipend or academic award such as a scholarship or assistantship will receive a Form 1042-S.)