International Programs and Global Engagement

Tax Workshop

To All International Students and Scholars (F and J) who were present in the US at any time in 2013:

[Note: New spring arrivals - if you were not in the US at any time in 2013 then you can disregard this message.]

Tax Workshop Information and Filing Requirements for the 2013 Tax Year. Please read this message thoroughly.
Three Informational Tax Workshops will be offered in March/April for students who have not previously attended.

1. FEDERAL TAXES - GENERAL INFORMATION FOR ALL F / J VISA HOLDERS (even if you did not work in 2013)

ALL F and J visa holders present in the US in 2013 who were non-residents for tax purposes in 2013 are required by the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) to file a tax return whether you worked in the US or not. The International Programs and Global Engagement will be offering Tax Information Workshops to assist you. Workshop information is listed below.

  • 1 Exception: Are you a Resident for Tax Purposes? Have you been in the US for more than 5 years (ie since 2008 or earlier?) - OR - Were you in the US in a different visa status? (ie H4, H1b etc...)
    F and J visa students are generally considered "residents for tax purposes" (and tax purposes only) if they have resided continuously in the US for part of more than 5 calendar years prior to 2013. If you have been in the US since 2008 or earlier, then you would be considered "a resident for tax purposes".
    Also, if you were previously in another immigration status (ie H1b, H4, TD, E) in the US for more than 180 days then you are also considered a "resident for tax purposes".
    Residents for tax purposes need to review the requirements for US Residents to see if they are required to file tax forms (see form 1040 or 1040EZ instructions at).


Review the following categories to determine your tax filing requirements, then read the additional detailed information for your category below:

  • Category A. If you have NO US source income in 2013: File only IRS form 8843 to document non-resident alien status. See #3.
  • Category B. If your combined US earnings from all 2013 US employers is less than $3,900: File IRS Form 8843 unless you will be seeking a refund of excess Federal Income Taxes paid in 2013. Check Box 2 on your W2 form to see if any Federal Income Tax was withheld. (If you are seeking a refund of excess Federal taxes paid, then see category C #4)
  • Category C. If your US earnings are more than $3,900 - OR - If your US earnings are less than $3,900, but you have money listed in Box 2 of your W2 form and are seeking a refund of any excess Federal Taxes paid in 2013:
    • File either IRS form 1040NR-EZ or 1040NR along with form 8843. See #4
    • Also file CA State Tax form, if required (see CA State Tax information below). See #5 below.
  • Category D. Student Athletes and others who received a university-based scholarship (reported on a 1042S tax form):
      • File either IRS form 1040NR-EZ or 1040NR along with form 8843. See #4
      • Also file CA State Tax form, if required (see CA State Tax information below). See #5 below.

    3. CATEGORY A & B Instructions: Students in Categories A & B who ONLY need to file the 8843 Form (0 US income in 2013 - OR - less than $3900 without a refund)

    Those of you who are only required to file the IRS form 8843 can download the form from the IRS web page at or request a copy of the 8843 form from the IPGE.

    How to complete this form:

    • Fill out the top section with your information. Your "taxpayer identification number" is your Social Security number - if you do not have a social security number, then leave this blank.
    • Then complete Part I and Part III. Do not complete section II, IV or V (except the signature section)
    • On page 2, sign your name. Do not mail without a signature.
    • Some tips on completing this form:
      • Question 1a is referring to the type of visa you used to enter the US the first time you came to study, and the date you entered the first time. This is not referring to recent vacation travel and re-entry. Most students will list "F1 + date" or "J1 + date"
      • Question 1b is asking for your current visa type and the date of any change. If you entered as an F1 or J1 and have not changed your status in the US, then put "F1" or "J1". If you completed a change of status, then list your current visa type and the date of the approved change of status.
      • Question 4a: Estimate the number of days you were in the US during these years.
      • Question 4b: List the number of days you said you were in the US in 2013.
      • Question 9: The name and address of the school you attended in 2013. Students who attended Sac State in 2013 should put:

    California State University, Sacramento.6000 J St, Sacramento, CA 95819-6012. Tel: (916) 278-6686

    • Question 10: You can list either Eric Merchant or Tracey Culbertson and the contact address above.
    • Sign your name on the bottom of page 2.

    Where to mail the form: Page 3 in the section When and Where to file is the address to mail your 8843 form. It is

    Department of the Treasury
    Internal Revenue Service Center
    Austin, TX 73301-0215. 

    1 student form per envelope.  You can buy stamps at the Post office, Grocery store, bookstore etc...
    Deadline:  Mail in the form by April 15, 2014.

    4.  CATEGORY C & D Instructions:  Category C & D who had income and need to file the 8843 & the 1040NR/1040NR EZ forms

    Glacier Tax Prep Software for Category C & D Students:  California State University, Sacramento has arranged for our international students to have access to a non-resident electronic tax preparation program called Glacier Tax Prep. This electronic tax preparation tool, aimed specifically at non-resident international students, should assist you in preparing your US tax return and ensure an accurate tax filing.  We will be distributing Glacier Tax Prep information and access passwords at planned tax workshops and in the IPGEDeadline to file:  Mail in the form by April 15, 2014. 

    • If you have NOT attended a tax workshop previously, you must attend the workshop this year to be eligible for a Glacier Tax Prep password. You will receive a Password at the workshop.
    • IF you attended the Tax Workshop in a previous year, you may request a password in person or by email without having to attend the workshop again.  Email Eric ( – OR - Tracey (  Please do not email both of us as we do not want to waste a password.

    WORKSHOPS:  Students in categories C & D with income who are filing a tax return for the first time should attend one of these workshops. 

    *  Friday, March 14 from 1:30 - 3:30 pm in Mariposa Hall, Room 1002

    *  Tuesday, March 25 from 1:30 - 3:30 pm in Mariposa Hall, Room 1002  (during spring break)

    *  Friday, April 4 from 1:30 – 3:30 pm in Mariposa Hall, Room 1002

    5. CALIFORNIA STATE TAXES:  Income over $15,702

    If your California gross income is more than $15,702, in 2013, then you must also file a separate California State Tax return.  If your income was less than $15,702, but you had state taxes withheld on your W-2 (see box 17 on your W2 form), then you might want to file a state return depending on the amount withheld.  Most students qualify to use the 540NR – Short form.    Deadline:  Mail in the form by April 15, 2014.

    Glacier Tax Prep does not offer an option to prepare the California state tax return.  CA Non-Resident Tax forms and instructions are at:

    1. At the top of the page click on “Individuals
    2. Click on “File” on the left side of the screen.
    3. Select “Filing Information” from the File menu
    4. Under the heading “Filing Basics” in the middle of the screen, select “Do I need to file?”
    5. The 2nd option is “You are a nonresident”.  Select the “540NR Tax Booklet” link.

    From the 540NR Tax Booklet you will need at least the following pages:  

    • PAGE 9-11:  INSTRUCTIONS FOR SHORT FORM 540NR.  Print off the complete instructions, and follow them to complete your form.
    • PAGE 13-15:  SHORT FORM 540NR. 
      • See the graph on page 7.  Most students will qualify to use the Short Form 540NR.
      • Item #61 Nonrefundable Renter’s credit.  See page 61 in the booklet for information.  Most students renting an apartment will qualify. 
      • PAGE 31-35:  Tax Table
      • PAGE 61:  Renter’s credit
      • LONG FORM 540NR.  If the graph on Page 7 indicates you need to complete the Long Form instead of the Short Form – then use Pages 17-29 for the Long Form and instructions

    NOTE:  CA State tax forms are mailed to the CA Franchise Tax Board – they are not mailed with your Federal Tax return to the IRS.  The address is listed in the instructions.


    If you worked outside of California in 2013, then review the “NON-RESIDENT” Tax requirements for that state as listed on their STATES FRANCHISE TAX BOARD website.

    Please do not hesitate to contact the IPGE if you have any questions concerning these matters.
    Eric D. Merchant, Associate Director, IPGE
    Tracey M. Culbertson, International Student & Scholar Advisor

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