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Non-Residents for Tax Purposes

Federal

If you are in F or J status and a non-resident for tax purposes:

You are required to fill out and mail in Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 8843 “Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition” if you were in the United States for any part of 2013. This is true even if you had no income from the United States (“U.S. source income”).

Also, if your only U.S. source income was bank or credit union interest, it is only necessary to file Form 8843.

If you received any U.S. source income in 2013, you may have to fill out and mail in IRS Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ in addition to Form 8843, depending on the kind and amount of U.S. source income you received.

More than $3,900 of U.S. source income

If you received more than $3,900 in U.S. source income in 2013, you are required to fill out and mail in IRS Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ in addition to Form 8843.

If your U.S. source income was more than $3,900 in 2013, you still must file a tax form even if your employer deducted (“withheld”) money from your paycheck for taxes. The amount that is deducted is an estimate, so you may, in fact, owe more or less than your employer subtracts. Therefore, you must file a tax form to calculate the difference between what you owe and what you paid.

Also, even if a tax treaty applies to you and the amount you owe in taxes is reduced or eliminated, you are still required to file IRS Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ if you had more than $3,900 of U.S. source income in 2013. Not filing one of these forms is a violation of U.S. tax law.

Less than $3,900 of U.S. source income

If your U.S. source income was $3,900 or less in 2013, then your tax filing requirement depends on what kind of U.S. source income you received in 2013.

Wage income only: If your only U.S. source income was less than $3,900 of “wage income” (you worked in order to receive this income), then you are only you are only required to fill out and mail in Form 8843 “Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition”. However, if your employer deducted (“withheld”) money from your paycheck for taxes, you must file IRS Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ in addition to Form 8843 if you want to receive a refund.

Other kinds of income: If you had any amount of other kinds of U.S. source income, such as taxable U.S. source scholarship/fellowship income, you are required to fill out and mail in IRS Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ in addition to Form 8843.

In general, if you are in a degree program, the only part of your fellowship or scholarship that will be taxable is the part used for living expenses. The part of your fellowship that is applied to tuition, fees, books, and supplies or equipment required for your courses is not taxable.

You still must file a tax form even if money was “withheld” for taxes. The amount that is deducted is an estimate, so you may, in fact, owe more or less than the amount that was deducted. Therefore, you must file a tax form to calculate the difference between what you owe and what you paid.

Also, even if a tax treaty applies to you and the amount you owe in taxes is reduced or eliminated, you are still required to file IRS Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ if you had any amount of U.S. source “non-wage” income. Not filing one of these forms is a violation of U.S. tax law.

Income under Terms of a Tax Treaty

If your country has a tax treaty with the United States that exempts some or all of your U.S. source income from taxation, you are required to file Form 8843 and either Form 1040NR-EZ or Form 1040NR. See Tax Treaties with Other Countries below.

Deadlines:

In order to meet these deadlines, the form must be postmarked on or before the deadline.

Type of U.S.
Source Income
Amt of U.S. Source Income IRS Form(s) Deadline
Wage (salary) only More than $3,900 Form 1040-NR or 1040NR-EZ and Form 8843 April 15, 2014
Wage (salary) plus taxable fellowship Any amount Form 1040-NR or 1040NR-EZ and Form 8843 April 15, 2014
Any kind of income if a tax treaty partially or completely exempts this income from tax Any amount Form 1040-NR or 1040NR-EZ and Form 8843 April 15, 2014 if wage income; otherwise June 16, 2014.
Wage (salary) only Less than $3,900 Form 8843 June 16, 2014
Taxable fellowship only Any amount Form 1040-NR or 1040NR-EZ and Form 8843 June 16, 2014
No income or bank or credit union interest only   Form 8843 June 16, 2014

State

Some international students and scholars are required to file a State of Michigan Tax Form. Review the Michigan Tax workshop presentation pdf icon and the two handouts, Example 1 pdf icon and Example 2pdf icon for guidelines and instructions.

  • Prepare your federal (Internal Revenue Service) tax form(s) first. If you only file Form 8843, you are not required to file a State of Michigan Tax Form.
  • If you file Form NR1040-EZ, look at Line 10 (Adjusted Gross Income). If the amount listed on line 10 is less than $3,950, you are not required to file a State of Michigan tax form.
  • If you file Federal Form 1040-NR look at line 7d (total number of exemptions). Multiply line 7d by $3,950. If the result is greater than the amount on Line 36 (Adjusted Gross Income), then you do not need to file a State of Michigan tax form.
  • If you are required to file a State of Michigan tax form, you must file MI 1040 plus MI Schedule NR.

Even if you are not required to file a State of Michigan tax form, you may want to file one anyway if too much tax was withheld from your income and you are due a refund. If you do not file a Michigan return, the State of Michigan will keep your refund.

Notes:

If you have income from several U.S. states, your situation may be more complicated. The Federation of Tax Administrators provides links to state tax authorities so you can determine what your tax responsibility for that state may be.

Resources:

Internet Resources: State Taxes

Tax Treaties with Other Countries

Your country may have a tax treaty with the United States which may reduce the amount you are required to pay in taxes. If your country has a tax treaty and you receive money from U-M, you can contact the U-M Payroll Office and fill out a form so that less (or no) money will be deducted (“withheld”) from the money you receive, or you can claim a refund of withheld taxes when you file your income tax return. Even if your country has a tax treaty with the United States, you are still required to file a tax return.

Several internet resources list tax treaties. Other internet resources have information about how to apply tax treaties when you fill out your tax form. If you use GLACIER Tax Prep, the software will take any tax treaties that apply to into consideration when it prepares your tax form.

Internet Resources: Tax Treaties

Last reviewed: 03/14


The information contained in this web site is not a substitute for advice obtained from the Internal Revenue Service or a qualified tax professional.