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 income tax forms?

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 may completed through GLACIER Tax Prep.

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
  • Reception of a grant, fellowship or scholarship
  • Interest from stock options
  • Lottery or gambling winnings
  • Other types of non-wage income

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

What 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)

Federal: International students and scholars studying and working in the U.S. may be required to pay income taxes to the U.S. government.  To determine whether you owe any taxes, or are eligible for a refund for taxes that were taken out of your paycheck, you must complete and file a tax return. 

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.

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.

First year students will receive an email in February inviting them to sign-up for group session if they would like to work through GLACIER Tax Prep in a group setting. There are no group sessions organized for continuing students, continuing students who would like to work through the software in a group setting are advised to make arrangements to do so with a friend. Remember to watch the video and use the GLACIER Tax Prep FAQ and ‘help’ function if you have questions while using GLACIER Tax Prep

State and Local:  Each state, city, or county in the U.S. determines its own tax rules. International students and scholars studying and working in the U.S. may be required to pay state and local income taxes in any state they earn income in.  The state and local form filing deadline is normally the same as the federal deadline.

The Ohio state and local income tax returns are: IT 1040, SD 100, and R.I.T.A form 37 (exemption).  There is no software support for these forms.  They must be downloaded and completed with the instructions provided by the Ohio department of taxation.   Complete your Federal 1040NR first, you will need to refer to it in order to complete your state and local returns.

Note regarding R.I.T.A. form 37: We have been advised that non-residents are not required to complete this form.  However, it is advisable to file a "R.I.T.A. form 37 exemption." If you receive a tax notice asking you to complete the R.I.T.A, you should send R.I.T.A. a copy of your passport and F-1 visa to demonstrate that you are a foreign national and not required to file that form.

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 Marie Bell,  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 regarding the 1040NR 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.

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.'