Income Tax Filing Compliance

PLEASE NOTE: The guidelines provided on this page are not a substitute for the advice of a trained tax preparer. Students are encouraged to consult with an expert (usually a CPA or enrolled agent) if they have any questions about their personal tax filing obligations.  Students in the following categories often find it particularly helpful to hire the help of an expert:
students with U.S. source income from states other than Ohio
students with U.S. source income in excess of $10,000
students with self-employment or 'gigging' income of any amount, but particularly if the amount is greater that $2,000The U.S. income tax filing requirement is based upon your total U.S. source income for the current tax year.  The current tax year is 2012; the forms you will file in April 2013 are to report income received between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012.

The information provided on this website is general in nature and is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified tax professional.  The staff of Oberlin College cannot prepare your taxes for you or answer specific questions about your tax obligations.  Consult an expert tax preparer if you have questions about your tax-filing responsibility.  Local tax professionals can be found in the phone book or by using on-line search tools.

WARNING:  Tax scams often target international students.  If you get a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS who uses threatening language and demands immediate payment, that is a sign that the caller isn’t really from the IRS.  Read more about this type of scam here.  Report suspicious phone calls to Oberlin College safety and security director, Marjorie Burton.

Do I need to file any forms?

YES! Everyone in F-1 or J-1 status must file Form 8843!

Form 8843 is an informational statement that the U.S. Government requires all persons present in F or J non-immigrant visa status to file if they have been present in the U.S. during the previous year.  This form must be filed even if the student or scholar received no income and was not required to file a tax return. This form is filled with the federal 1040 NR or 1040 NR EZ if those forms are also being filed, and by itself if those forms are not being filed.  

Form 8843 can be completed through GLACIER Tax Prep.

Also, everyone who earns income in the United States is required to report it to the government by filing income tax returns and paying any taxes owed by April 15. Income earned in the calendar year 2015 is reported by April 15, 2016.  You must file an income tax return even if your employer has already deducted taxes from your paycheck.  You may owe additional taxes or be eligible for a refund.

Some examples of taxable income you must report include:

  • Income from wages
  • Receipt of a grant, fellowship or scholarship

For more information visit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) page with Tax Information For Foreign Students and Scholars.

What specific forms do I need to file?

Form 8843: everyone in F-1 or J-1 status

Income Tax Forms:  if you earned U.S. source income in 2015 you may need to file some of all of the following tax forms by April 15, 2016

  • Federal 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ
  • Ohio IT 1040 or IT 1040EZ;
  • Ohio SD 100
  • R.I.T.A. Form 37 (exemption)


The federal income tax form for Non-Residents is the 1040 NR or the 1040 NR EZ.  This form can be completed through GLACIER Tax Prep. The federal filing deadline is April 15 for income earned during the previous calendar year.  The  tax return you file by April 15, 2016 reports income you earned between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015.

State and local:  

The Ohio state and local income tax returns are: IT 1040 or IT 1040EZ), SD 100, and R.I.T.A form 37 (exemption).  The IT 1040 and SD 100 can be completed through the Sprintax software.  Sprintax will request personal and employment information in order to assess whether you have a filing requirement, if you do not have a filing requirement it will advise you of that and will not proceed. The state and local filing deadline is the same as the federal deadline, April 15.

We have been advised that non-residents are exempt from R.I.T.A. taxes, but that they should should file a R.I.T.A. form 37 exemption in order to avoid receiving a tax notice from R.I.T.A..  That form can be downloaded from the links on the left side of the page.  

What should I do with tax documents that are sent to me? 

If you earned taxable income in the U.S. you will be sent documents in January or February that report the amount and type of income you earned.  Documents you may receive include: form W-2; 1042-S; and 1099.  Often the envelopes these forms are sent in are marked "important tax document."  Save these documents and any other forms you receive in envelopes marked "important tax document;" you will need to refer to them to complete your tax returns.

Oberlin College forms W-2 and 1042-s will be available by January 31, 2016.  The W-2 will available in PRESTO and will also be sent to OCMR boxes.  The 1042-S will be sent to OCMR boxes but will not be available in PRESTO.  Not all students receive all forms.  The W-2 is used to report income from an on-campus job, the 1042-s is used to report taxable scholarship income.  Not all scholarship income is taxable. If you have a question about the W-2 contact Colleen Czajka,  If you have a question about the 1042-s contact Kim Wiggerly,


I think I can do this, but I have some questions:

  • For questions with GLACIER Tax Prep watch the video tutorial, read the FAQs, or use the "Help" function.
  • For questions with Sprintax watch the video tutorial, call 1-866-601-5695, email, or use the chat system.
  • For questions regarding the 1040 NR or 1040 NR-EZ: call the internal Revenue Service 1-800-829-1040.
  • For questions regarding the Ohio IT 1040, or SD 100: call the Ohio tax department 1-800-282-1780, or complete this form to send a question via email.
  • For questions regarding the R.I.T.A Form 37: call R.I.T.A Ohio, 1-800-860-7482.
  • For general help understanding the questions and instructions provided by the software, attend a drop-in session staffed by the office of international student services.  Drop session dates are: Tuesday, March 15; Wednesday, March 16; Tuesday, March 29; Wednesday, March 30; Tuesday, April 5; and Wednesday, April 6. All sessions are from 4:00-5:00 p.m., and are in Peters 212.

I don't think I can do this, I want someone to do this for me:

You can find trained tax preparers by searching "tax preparation" in on-line directories. Current students should also check their emails from the office of international students to see whether any local resources have been identified.

Tax preparation is a specialized skill, the international student office cannot do your taxes for you, answer individual tax questions, or tell you whether you've done it 'right.'