Earnings from employment, including income from assistantships, are usually subject to federal, state and local income taxes.
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.
If you had U.S. source income greater than $4,050 or federal taxes have been withheld in a calendar year, you must file your U.S. tax return on form 1040NR-EZ or 1040NR (if you are a nonresident alien) and complete IRS form 8843. If you are a resident alien for tax purposes, you must file your taxes on IRS form 1040EZ, 1040A, or 1040.
If you had no U.S. source income or the income is less than $4,050 and no federal taxes have been withheld in a calendar year, you are NOT required to file a tax return. However, you must complete and file IRS form 8843 which is usually due on June 15 of each year.
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. For example, for the 2016 calendar year, the tax return must be filed by April 18, 2017.
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), 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), you are a Resident Alien for tax purposes.
Where to File Taxes
If you are not enclosing a payment, file Form 1040NR-EZ or 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
Use the address shown in the instructions for the form (1040EZ, 1040A, or 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. 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. Check with the tax offices in that locality for more information.
Filing Tax Returns
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.)
Form 1040NR-EZ or 1040NR (for nonresident aliens)
Form 1040EZ, 1040A, or 1040 (for resident aliens)
PA State Tax Form