Tax Filing Requirements

International students and employees who were in the U.S. for any period of time during 2011 must file an annual tax statement, called an income tax return, with the federal government. In addition, you may also be required to file an income tax return with the state of Massachusetts (and any other state in which you may have earned income). Income tax returns are filed between January 1 and April 17 of the following year (for the 2011 tax year, returns are filed between January 1 and April 17, 2012). Individuals in F and J visa status who did not recieve U.S. source funding must also file a federal income tax return.

Please note: Because of legal restrictions on our capacity to advise on tax liabilities, Immigration Services is not able to answer individual questions regarding your personal tax situation.

Federal Requirements - Massachusetts State Requirements - Additional Tax Filing information

Federal Requirements

All taxpayers must file a tax return each year with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the government agency that handles federal taxes. The IRS has federal tax filing requirements for individuals in nonimmigrant visa statuses and their dependents. The requirements vary according to whether the student, employee, or dependent is considered a resident or a nonresident alien for federal tax purposes.

Nonresident Aliens for Federal Tax Purposes: Individuals in nonimmigrant visa statuses who are nonresident aliens for federal tax purposes may be required to submit tax forms to the IRS if they have: (1) received U.S.-source income in 2011; and/or (2) are covered by a tax treaty; and/or (3) received no U.S.-source income in 2011.

Those who received U.S.-source income and/or who are covered by a tax treaty must submit Form 8843 AND either Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ by April 17, 2012; they may also be required to submit other federal forms as well as state tax forms.

Those who received NO U.S.-source income other than bank interest must only submit federal Form 8843 by June 15, 2012. Please note: Form 8843 must be completed by individuals in J-1 or F-1 status who are nonresident aliens for tax purposes.

Completed Forms 8843 and/or Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ should be mailed to: Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service Center, Austin, TX 73301-0215.

Resident Aliens for Federal Tax Purposes: Individuals in nonimmigrant visa statuses (e.g. F, J, H, TN, etc.) who are resident aliens for federal tax purposes are required to submit Form 1040 (not 1040NR) and are not required to submit Form 8843. Resident aliens for federal tax purposes are subject to taxation based on worldwide income, and tax treaty benefits may or may not apply. If dependents who are residents for federal tax purposes have any worldwide income, they may file either a joint or separate Form 1040. Please consult the instruction booklet of Form 1040 for the proper mailing address for your federal tax form if you are a resident for federal tax purposes. Other federal forms as well as state tax forms may also be required.

Dual Status in the Same Tax Year: Those who have changed visa and/or tax status during the course of 2011 and individuals in H-1, H-4, TN, or TD visa status who were in the United States fewer than 183 days in 2011 may have additional issues or filing requirements and should consult the IRS resource materials carefully (IRS Publication 519).

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Massachusetts State Requirements

If you are a nonresident for federal tax purposes, this does not necessarily mean you will be a nonresident for state tax purposes.

An international student / employee can be a Massachusetts resident for state tax purposes if he/she: (1) maintained a “permanent place of abode” in Massachusetts during 2011 AND (2) resided in Massachusetts for more than 183 days in 2011.

An international student / employee can be a Massachusetts part-year resident for state tax purposes if he/she: (1) maintained a “permanent place of abode” in Massachusetts during 2011 AND (2) resided in Massachusetts for less than 183 days in 2011.

If you were a resident or part-year resident of Massachusetts and your Massachusetts gross income listed on your federal tax form was more than $8,000, you are required to submit a Massachusetts income tax form. However, this does not necessarily mean you will be taxed on this income. Massachusetts tax forms are Form 1 for residents and Form 1-NR/PY for part-year residents. Please note that there is a new form, "Schedule HC, Health Care Information," that must now be submitted with Form 1 and Form 1-NR/PY.

Nonresidents for state tax purposes must file Form 1-NR/PY only if they earned income from a Massachusetts state source. They must report only income earned within Massachusetts.

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