Income Tax Information

Income Tax Regulations for F Visa Holders

The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires any F visa holder who is considered a nonresident for tax purposes to file some sort of U.S. income tax form, even if he or she did not earn income in the United States.


For the 2019 tax year, the ISS office has purchased a limited number of access codes for F-1 students to be able to prepare their federal tax returns via Sprintax software. These licenses will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.  In order to receive an access code, please fill out our Sprintax Access Code Request Form.  Once students have submitted this information they will receive an e-mail  with an access code and instructions on how to access and prepare their taxes through Sprintax.  



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Income Tax Responsibility

The IRS places responsibility solely on you for understanding and fulfilling your federal income tax responsibilities. Although you may feel that IRS requirements are unfair, too complicated, or burdensome, failure to obey the law could result in fines or in denial of immigration benefits. Your income tax responsibilities are summarized below. For more information refer to IRS Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.

Your Tax Status – Nonresidents or Resident as Defined by the IRS

You must first determine how IRS classifies you for tax purposes in order to know which tax form you must file with IRS. Initially, IRS considers all F visa holders as nonresidents, as long as they substantially comply with the requirements of their visa. However, IRS normally considers F visa holders as residents when they meet the “substantial presence test” for the tax year, and have remained in their F status for more than five calendar years. A full calendar year is counted even if the student was in F visa status for one day that year. Therefore it is important that you determine your residency status for tax purposes; please keep in mind that this is different than your immigration status.

Determining your Residency Status for Tax Purposes

You may use the following charts to determine your residency status for tax purposes, please note that these charts were copied from the Internal Revenue Service’s 2015 VITA/TCE Publication 678-S Foreign Students and Scholar Text for use in preparing Tax Year 2019 Returns for Nonresident Aliens.

Step one:

Determine whether you are exempt from the Substantial Presence Test.

Step two:

If you are NOT exempt, take the Substantial Presence Test.

Step three:

Review this chart to determine Residency for tax purposes.

Filing Deadlines for 2019 Tax Year

Wednesday, July 15, 2020 (NEW DATE)

Residents and nonresidents with taxable income for 2019 must have their tax returns postmarked by this date.


Note: F visa holders who initially entered the United States in 2020 are not subject to income tax requirements for 2019.

To file your tax return properly you should consult various IRS publications, which supplement the filing instruction booklets for the actual tax form. The following publications are available in the International Student Services Office and on the IRS website:

Where to File Tax Forms

All Forms 8843, 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ, 1040, 1040-EZ must be mailed to:

Internal Revenue Service
Philadelphia, PA 19255-0219

It is important that you make copies for your personal record of all documents submitted before mailing.

Other Tax Assistance resources

  • Sprintax instructions for students
  • International Student US tax short tutorial
  • Sprintax videos and tutorials
  • Toll-Free Number: 1 (800) 829-1040 (Each time you call the IRS for assistance you should write the date, name, and ID number of the person assisting you. Also, phone two to three times to be sure that you get the same information from several different IRS employees.)
  • Virginia: 5205 Leesburg Pike Suite 200, Baileys Crossroads, VA 22041
  • IRS Website
  • Each time you call the IRS for assistance you should write the date, name and ID number of the person assisting you.  Also, phone two to three times to be sure that you get the same information from several different IRS employees.
  • Visit a VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) site at the Arlington Public library The trained volunteers prepare tax returns at no cost.