You must complete and submit tax forms if you were in the United States in 2016 and have any of the following visas:

  • F-1
  • F-2
  • J-1
  • J-2

Taxes are filed annually in the spring for money earned the previous tax year. Even F-1 and J-1 visa holders who did not earn income in the previous year must complete at least one tax form, including dependents.

Below are tax resources for students who earned income and for students who did not earn income during the previous year.

Important: Do not use TurboTax or other popular tax preparation software for your federal tax return. Standard software does not support the preparation of Form 1040NR.

Tax Event Workshops

International students can register for workshops that address various tax issues, including federal resident returns and dual status returns, as well as Indiana state returns for both residents and nonresidents. 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.

Who Has to File?

If you are a student with either an F-1 or J-1 visa (also known as a nonresident alien for tax purposes), and you received U.S.-sourced income during 2016, you may be required to file the following:

  • Federal Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return (Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ)
  • State Income Tax Return for each state where you resided or earned income during 2016 (Form IT-40PNR)

Find Forms

To determine whether you are required to file a federal tax return, see the “Who Must File” section of the instructions for Form 1040NR.

To determine whether you are required to file state income tax returns, review the “Who Must File” information on the department of revenue websites of the states where you lived during 2016. Nonresidents living in Indiana during 2016 should review the instructions for Form IT-40PNR.

International students who are required to file federal taxes must also file Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 8843, which indicates presence in the United States. They should attach Form 8843 to their tax return.


This form is called “Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition for Use by Alien Individuals Only.” This is a very strange name for the form, but nonetheless it is required of all F-1 and J-1 students.

Before preparing your income tax returns, please wait to receive reporting statements for all income you received in 2016 (i.e., Forms W-2, 1042-S, 1099, etc.)

Ball State University provides free access to Foreign National Tax Resource (FNTR) software for nonresidents’ tax returns if you have earned taxable income or if you are on Ball State’s payroll. In other words, nonresident students who earned taxable income in the previous year or who received a Ball State scholarship can use FNTR software.

Federal and state income tax returns must be postmarked and mailed by April 15 most years.

All nonresident international students must file the IRS Form 8843 if they were a nonresident alien present in the United States on F, J, M, or Q immigration status, even if they did not receive U.S.-sourced income.

Form 8843 is not a tax return, but an informational statement required by the U.S. government.

Individuals not required to file an income tax return should mail Form 8843 separately.

Dependents (F-2 or J-2, regardless of age) should have a completed Form 8843 mailed separately from the F-1 or J-1 international student.

IRS Form 8843 for 2016 taxes must be postmarked and mailed by the June 15, 2017, deadline.


This form is called “Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition for Use by Alien Individuals Only.” This is a very strange name for the form, but nonetheless it is required of all F-1 and J-1 students.

To help you with the tax filing process the Rinker Center has purchased web-based tax return preparation software Foreign National Tax Resource (FNTR), designed especially for international students, scholars, and their dependents who are nonresidents for tax purposes.

The Rinker Center provides this software to all students, scholars, and visitors free of charge.

You can use the service to prepare any of the following tax forms:

  • 1040NR
  • 1040NR-EZ
  • Form 8843

If you have enrolled, you should have already received an email with information on how to access FNTR for the first time. If you did not receive this email, please contact us.

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides assistance on federal filing requirements.

Assistance for Nonresident Aliens

Telephone: 267-941-1000 (not toll-free)

Forms and Publications

Publication 519 US Tax Guide for Aliens

Assistance Programs

IRS Telephone: 800-829-1040

Contact the IRS

Income Tax Assistance for Resident Aliens

Free Tax Return Preparation for You by Volunteers

IRS VITA Grant Program

Indiana State Tax Assistance (Form IT-40PNR)

The Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) provides assistance on state filing requirements. Please note that the department does not prepare Indiana state income tax returns.

Assistance Programs

Individual Income Tax: 317-232-2240

Forms and Publications

Change My Address

Contact the Indiana State Department of Revenue

alien – A term used by the IRS to denote an individual who is not a U.S. citizen.

exempt individual – A person not subject to the Substantial Presence Test (see below), which determines whether an individual files as a resident or nonresident. Many students misunderstand this to mean they are not required to file a tax return and or pay taxes.

Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) – The federal law that requires employers to withhold a portion of employee wages and pay them to a government trust fund that provides Social Security retirement benefits and helps fund Medicare health insurance for the elderly and disabled. Also called Social Security.
“file a tax return” – A common expression referring to completing a tax form and sending it to the federal government and with the state of Indiana.

Form 1099 – A form that shows any interest earned on bank accounts, stocks, funds, etc., which students may need to claim. It also reflects any income earned through a temporary or staffing agency or if a student was hired as an independent consultant.

Form 8843 – The IRS form that must be filed for all students and scholars with F-1 or J-1 nonimmigrant status and their F-2 or J-2 dependents (physically present in the U.S. during the previous tax year) who are nonresidents for tax purposes. The 8843 is also known as the Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals With a Medical Condition. It is a very strange name for this form, but it is required regardless of whether or not students and scholars have earned income in the U.S. Dependents (including children, regardless of age) should have a completed Form 8843 independent of the F-1/J-1. If you received taxable income, we encourage you to use the FNTR software to prepare your federal tax return. The software will also prepare the IRS Form 8843 for you and your dependents. 

Foreign National Tax Resource (FNTR) – A web-based tax preparation software designed to help nonresident aliens prepare a U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return (Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ) and Form 8843.

Individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) – A nine-digit number that begins with the number 9 and was created for use as tax returns for those taxpayers who do not qualify for a Social Security number (SSN).

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – The federal agency responsible for collecting federal income taxes and enforcing tax reporting and collection laws.

Nonimmigrant – An individual with a permanent residence abroad and in the U.S. temporarily, as in the case of an international student.

Nonresident – An individual who is not a U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident, or nonimmigrant who has been in the U.S. long enough to be considered a resident. Residency is determined by the Substantial Presence Test (see below).

Resident – For federal tax purposes, a resident is an individual who meets either the Green Card Test or the Substantial Presence Test (see below) for the calendar year (Jan. 1-Dec. 31).

Social Security – A term used to describe an agency, a card, and two types of tax. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The card bears a unique nine-digit identification number and is issued to qualified individuals primarily to determine eligibility for Social Security benefits earned primarily through various forms of employment. The number on the card is also used by the IRS for data collection and record keeping. The taxes, known as Social Security and Medicare (collectively "FICA"), are withheld by employers from workers' wages and paid to the federal government for redistribution to workers after their retirement.

Substantial Presence Test – A formula devised by the IRS to determine whether an alien is a resident or nonresident for tax purposes. F visa and J visa students do not use the test during their first five calendar years in the U.S. After that time, individuals who spend 183 days a year or more in the U.S. become "residents for tax purposes" for that year (see IRS Publication 519).

tax treaty – An agreement between the United States and another country that allows residents of that country to be taxed at a reduced rate or to be exempt from U.S. income taxes on certain items of income they receive from sources within the United States. Tax treaties do not apply to state tax obligations. Tax treaties are very specific, and not all residents of a tax treaty country will qualify for tax benefits (see IRS Publication 901).

taxpayer identification number (TIN) – Individuals who are not eligible for a Social Security number receive from the IRS a unique nine-digit number for tax purposes.

U.S. source income – Any money or compensation received from a U.S. source (wages, scholarships, fellowships, money from stocks), or compensation from any source for activities in the US (see IRS Publication 519 for details).

Withholding – Deduction of a given amount of an individual’s salary for purposes of meeting that individual’s income tax obligation. Amounts are deducted directly by the employer and paid directly to the U.S. Treasury on the individual's behalf.

W-2 – Form from employer stating wages received and taxes paid in a given tax year.

W-7 – Form to apply for an ITIN (individual taxpayer identification number).

W-8BEN – Form for claiming scholarships and fellowships, used to determine substantial (physical) presence in U.S. (see Substantial Presence Test above).

An individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued to nonresident aliens by the Internal Revenue Service.

The ITIN is a nine-digit number that always begins with the number 9 and has a range of 70-88 in the fourth and fifth digit. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues ITINs to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain a Social Security number from the Social Security Administration.

ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status because both resident and nonresident aliens may have a U.S. filing or reporting requirement under the Internal Revenue Code.

Individuals must have a filing requirement and file a valid federal income tax return to receive an ITIN. Examples of this would be students who receive scholarships and do not work.

Learn More about ITINs

ITINs are for federal tax reporting only and are not intended to serve any other purpose. IRS issues ITINs to help individuals comply with the U.S. tax laws and to provide a means to efficiently process and account for tax returns and payments for those not eligible for Social Security numbers.

An ITIN does not authorize work in the U.S. or provide eligibility for Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Learn more about ITINs.

The IRS issues ITINs to foreign nationals and others who have federal tax reporting or filing requirements and do not qualify for Social Security numbers. A nonresident alien not eligible for a Social Security number who is required to file a U.S. tax return only to claim a refund of tax under the provisions of a U.S. tax treaty needs an ITIN.

Other examples of individuals who need ITINs include:

  • a nonresident alien required to file a U.S. tax return
  • a U.S. resident alien (based on days present in the United States) filing a U.S. tax return
  • a dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen or resident alien
  • a dependent or spouse of a nonresident alien visa holder
If you are being put on the university’s payroll please ask your school’s divisional payroll coordinator for your taxpayer identification requirements.

If you already have obtained or applied for either a Social Security number or an ITIN then you are not eligible for the other as both are U.S. taxpayer identification numbers, and you are allowed to have only one of these numbers, never both.

Learn more about ITINs.


ITINs are for federal tax reporting only, and you do not need them for any other purpose.

If you do not have a Social Security number and are not eligible to obtain one, but you have a requirement to furnish a federal tax identification number or file a federal income tax return, you must apply for an ITIN.

If you have an application for a Social Security number pending, do not file Form W-7. Complete Form W-7 only if the Social Security Administration notifies you that a Social Security number cannot be issued.

To obtain a Social Security number, you must fill out Form SS-5 – Application for a Social Security Card.

To get Form SS-5 or to find out if you are eligible to obtain a Social Security number, go to Social Security Administration’s website or contact a Social Security Administration office. By law, an alien cannot have both an ITIN and a Social Security number.

The IRS processes returns showing Social Security numbers or ITINs in the blanks where tax forms request Social Security numbers.

The IRS no longer accepts, and will not process, forms showing "SSA205c," "applied for," "NRA," blanks, etc.

Learn more about ITINs.

Apply through the local Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office directly (you can use the IRS Office Locator).

You may also apply using the services of an IRS-authorized acceptance agent, or visit a key IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.

Apply through the Mail

Use the latest revision of Form W-7 – Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to apply.

Attach a valid federal income tax return, unless you qualify for an exception, and include your original proof of identity or copies certified by issuing agency and foreign status documents.

Apply at a Taxpayer Assistance Centers

Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) in the United States provide in-person help with ITIN applications on a walk-in or appointment basis. Applicants outside the United States should contact U.S. Tax Attachés in Beijing, Frankfurt, London, or Paris. The IRS' ITIN Unit in Austin issues all numbers through the mail.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will never contact you via email.

If you receive such an email, do not open it. It likely contains a virus or malware.

You should never provide your Social Security number or ITIN (individual taxpayer identification number) to anyone via email.

Also, the IRS will never call you on the telephone. Disregard any such callers who contact you on the phone. Hang up on such callers immediately and report any calls or emails to the Rinker Center.