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Office of International Programs

Tax Preparation Assistance for International and Canadian Students
(click above for more information)

The MSU Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) has arranged this year to assist Canadian and International students with completing the required U.S. and N.D. tax returns before the April 15, 2014 filing deadline.
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Local, State & Federal Tax

Please note that staff members at the Office of International Programs are not trained in taxes and are not able to answer tax questions. Filing income tax forms is your personal responsibility and you are ultimately responsible for their accuracy.

In the United States, it is each individualís personal responsibility to meet his or her tax obligations; the government will not do it for you, but it will penalize you if you do not do it yourself. If you work, at the time of your hire, you are responsible for helping your employer estimate how much of your income should be "withheld" (or deducted) from your wages for the purpose of paying taxes by filling out a Form W-4 Tax Withholding Worksheet (see below for more information on this document). Your employer pays those amounts directly to the United States Treasury on your behalf. In your annual tax return, you must reconcile your account with the government to verify that you paid the right amount over the course of the year. If you paid too much, you may claim a refund, which will be paid promptly unless the government disagrees with your calculations. Americans call the process "filing a tax return."

Even though U.S. tax laws are difficult to understand, do not be tempted to ignore this obligation. Each year the USCIS and IRS increase the amount of information they share. It is in your best interest to meet your tax obligation. * Penalties for not filing in a timely manner can be substantial. *

Foreign students and scholars, regardless of whether or not they work or earn income while in the United States, ARE REQUIRED to file an appropriate tax document each year. Students and scholars who do not earn any income are still responsible to file form 8843 with the IRS.

Income is not limited to wages paid to you in cash, but also includes that portion of your scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship above and beyond your tuition fees and required books and supplies. The amount applied to your tuition fees, books, and supplies is not counted as income. When preparing your tax returns, also be sure to ask the tax professional who is assisting you about the applicability of any tax treaty that might exist between your country and the United States.

Basic links:

Form 8843: Form 8843 and Instructions on how to file the form 8843: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8843.pdf

Most students will need to file the form 1040 EZ or the form 1040NR. If you have earned wages, had a scholarship or fellowship grant, you may either file the form 1040 EZ or 1040NR depending on how much you have earned.

Instructions on how to file the form 1040 EZ : http://www.irs.gov/instructions/i1040nre/index.html

Form 1040-EZ: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040nre.pdf

Form 1040NR: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040nr.pdf

Websites to help with taxes

Even though U.S tax laws are difficult to understand, do not be tempted to ignore this obligation. Each year the USCIS and IRS increase the amount of information they share. It is in your best interest to meet your tax obligation.