Tax Information for International Students

Note: Rinker Center tax information is intended only for international students and scholars at the Ball State University with income sources and levels typical of students and scholars (in F or J status) at the University. Ball State University hereby disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy of such information and shall have no liability of any kind for any use made of such information by any person or organization. You should seek professional tax advice from a qualified accountant or attorney if you have questions or need clarification.

IMPORTANT!! Do not use “free file” programs for your taxes! If you are considered a "nonresident for tax purposes", please be aware that popular tax programs, including TurboTax will not calculate your taxes correctly and can cause you serious problems!


General Tax Information

As an international student it is important that you know about your U.S. income tax obligations. U.S. tax laws distinguish between residents and non-residents for tax purposes. Non-residents only pay taxes on U.S. source income, while residents follow the same tax rules as U.S. citizens and pay taxes on their worldwide income. Most F and J visa holders are considered non-residents (F and J students for the first five calendar years in the United States and J-1 scholars for the first two calendar years in the United States).

Tax determinations are complex and do not always follow the categories of immigration law. Depending on the particular circumstances, an international student or scholar in F-1 or J-1 status could be considered a "nonresident alien for tax purposes"; under other circumstances, the same nonimmigrant could be considered a "resident alien for tax purposes."

  Most F-1 and J-1 students are considered to be nonresidents for taxation purposes during their first five years of presence in the US.

J-1 scholars are considered to be non-residents for taxation purposes during their first two years of presence in the US. It is important to note that these are calendar years, so if you arrive at any point in a year, even on December 30, that will count as the first year of presence.

In addition, students in F-1 and J-1 status do not pay US Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes for the first five calendar years of presence in the US. Scholars in J-1 status are exempt from FICA for the first two calendar years of presence in the US. After that point, they become resident taxpayers and are subject to FICA withholdings.

Who Should File Taxes?

The law requires that EVERYONE (even if you didn’t work) must file tax forms.  The deadline is typically April 15.  Ball State strongly urges you to file your form and put it in the mail by April 15, in order for your form to arrive at the IRS by the deadline.  There are both federal and state forms that you need to file.

Federal law requires EVERYONE (students, dependents, etc.)  who was present in the USA during 2011 (even if it was only 1 day) file tax forms.  Even if you did not work……everyone, even dependents have to file out tax forms.  People who were here less than 5 years will need to be sure to file a non-resident form. 

Tax Preparation Assistance

To help you with the tax filing process the Rinker Center has purchased web based tax return preparation software GLACIER Tax Prep (Cintax) designed especially for international students, scholars, and their dependents who are non-residents for tax purposes.

International students can register for TAX WORKSHOPS that address various tax issues, including federal resident returns and dual status returns, as well as Indiana state returns for both residents and non-residents. The dates and times of these workshops and registration instructions will be sent by email announcement as soon as these tax workshop times and dates are set.


The Tax Process: What you need to do to file

To complete you taxes you must:

  1. File your Federal Taxes: you must do these before you can complete your state taxes
  2. File your state taxes

Filing Federal Taxes

Non-residents: if you have been in the USA less than 5 years

In order to make this easier for you, Ball State can provide you with GLACIER Tax Prep software especially designed to make filling out the tax form easier for non-resident international students and scholars.  

Please note: You will receive an email from support@glaciertax.com with the access code and instructions for GLACIER Tax Prep.

Once you receive the access number, you can go online and use the GLACIER Tax Prep software. You will be asked to set up a User ID and a new password. Be sure to write your User ID and password in case you need to reenter GLACIER Tax Prep at a later time. Before logging on to GLACIER Tax Prep, you should gather your:    

•             passport, visa and I-94

•             I-20 or DS-2019

•             W-2 form (usually sent to you by post if you have worked)

•             An account history from the Bursar’s office (you can find this on MyBSU eBill )

•             A copy of last year’s taxes  (if you were in the USA  and filed them)

•             A record of dates when you entered and departed the US during the last tax year

•             A social security or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) number if you   

                                have  it  (if you did not work or get any scholarships, you won’t need this)

•             any payment information you may have received (Forms W-2, 1042-S, 1099). (some

                                people will not have them)

•             Any financial aid letters & receipts showing dollar amounts spent for


•             Any letters from your bank showing interest you received during the tax year

•             Travel Itineraries

If you are a non-resident for tax purposes, GLACIER Tax Prep will complete the appropriate forms for you to print out. GLACIER Tax Prep does not file the tax forms electronically, so you MUST print, sign and mail the forms generated by GLACIER Tax Prep to the Internal Revenue Service Center as instructed by GLACIER Tax Prep. All information entered into GLACIER Tax Prep is encrypted and secured.

Residents: if you have been in the USA more than 5 years.

 If you have been here for more than 5 years, you will need to file federal (IRS) resident tax forms (1040EZ, 1040a or the 1040 or form depending on your individual circumstances).  There are many free file tax software companies which you may use. Please visit the IRS webpage for a recommended list of free tax software programs.

Please see the list of documents you will want to gather before filing.

Filing State Taxes

Once you have filled federal taxes, you will also need to file state taxes for any of the states you have lived in during the tax year.  Again, there are different forms for non-residents and residents. If you are a non-resident for tax purposes for your federal taxes, then you are a non-resident for tax purposes for your state taxes. The same applies for residents for tax purposes.

If you were in Indiana for the entire year, then you only need to file Indiana state taxes.  However, if you were in another state before moving to Indiana, then you will need to file state taxes for Indiana and for the other state also .  Links to state web sites can be found through the IRS site .  Select the state in which you lived and then follow the “Department of Revenue” link under “taxation”.

State tax forms can be found online as well as at the Indiana department of Revenue’s Muncie branch:

Muncie District Office
3640 N. Briarwood Lane, Ste. 5
Muncie, IN 47304
(765) 289-6196

Non-residents: IT-40 PNR

The Indiana state tax form for non-residents is the IT-40 PNR Form and instructions can be found here .

 Remember, you must complete your federal taxes first before filing state forms.

Residents: IT-40

The Indiana state tax form for residents is the IT-40 Form and instructions can be found here .


Again, there will be tax workshops offered at Ball State for international students and you will receive an email when dates and times have been finalized as well as information on how to register for them.