Taxes

Aliens temporarily present in the United States as students, trainees, scholars, teachers, researchers, exchange visitors, and cultural exchange visitors are subject to special rules with respect to the taxation of their income.

All students who are on an F or J immigration status and were physically here in the 2019 tax year must file at least one U.S. federal tax document to the IRS (www.irs.gov). Please see this article from IRS about international students.

Tax form filings are generally due April 15th every tax season.

Tax Guidance for Non-Resident Aliens

The MIT Office of the Vice President for Finance, in cooperation with the International Scholars Office (ISchO) and the International Students Office (ISO), created a website for foreign nationals to provide resources and links related to receiving payments from MIT and guidance on income taxes.

International students and scholars are advised to review the “Tax Guidance for Nonresident Aliens” website for details on payments, taxes, and filing annual income tax returns, which is available here.

Tax Software for Non-Resident Aliens

The ISO has purchased a tax software program called Glacier Tax Prep to use at no cost to all MIT international students through a generous donation by the Kailath International Student Fund.

GLACIER Tax Prep Software is an Internet-based tax return preparation system that will help F or J visa holders prepare their 2019 U.S. federal tax forms. After going through GLACIER Tax Prep, the program will prepare the appropriate federal tax forms for you to print out and an instruction sheet that will tell you where to send the forms. This software can be used by your F-2 or J-2 dependents as well. Remember that ALL F and J holders MUST file U.S. tax forms whether or not they received income in 2019. GLACIER Tax Prep does not fill out your Massachusetts state tax forms, but after you use GLACIER Tax Prep to fill out the federal taxes, you can use those federal forms to fill out your state tax forms.

Login to GLACIER Tax Prep Software here. Please note that you must have an MIT Kerberos ID and password to log into this site.

If you are unfamiliar with the U.S. Tax system, the ISO highly recommends that you watch the 35-minute “2019 Welcome to the U.S. Tax System” informational video (not the tutorial video) found on the bottom of the GLACIER Tax Prep home page after you log in to the GTP system for the first time. This video explains much of the U.S. tax terminology and common scenarios for international students.

State Tax form filing – Please note that GLACIER Tax Prep does not assist you with your State tax form filing. However, students will have the option to pay a separate fee to directly go to Sprintax, another tax preparation website, for Sprintax’s self-prep option to prepare your STATE tax return.  As always, students can also go directly to a state’s tax website and use the information on your Federal forms to fill out state tax forms manually at no cost.

Tax Workshops

The Office of the Vice President for Finance (VPF), the Office of the Vice Chancellor (OVC), the International Students Office (ISO), the International Scholars Office (ISchO) and the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), will sponsor Tax Workshops for MIT students and international scholars on Wednesday, March 4, 2020 and Monday, March 30, 2020.

NOTE: Due to COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, the March 30 tax workshop has been canceled.  Links to the Presentation Slides and a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) of the sessions are available on the MIT Vice President for Finance website.

The purpose of these workshops is to provide general guidance to students and international scholars on the process of filing 2019 US and Massachusetts state tax returns. The workshops are not intended to provide individual tax advice.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020 Tax Workshops
5:00pm – 6:30pm
Location: 10-250
International Students
(< 5 years in the U.S.)
Download this year’s 2020 presentation pdf
 
Nonresident Aliens for tax purposes
7:00pm – 8:30pm
Location: 10-250
Resident Int’l Students, Scholars & U.S. Citizens
(> 4 years in the U.S.)
Download this year’s 2020 presentation pdf
 
Resident tax filers
(US Citizens, US Permanent Residents, or Resident Aliens for tax purposes)
CANCELED Monday, March 30, 2020 Tax Workshops CANCELED
5:00pm – 6:30pm
Location: 10-250
International students
(< 5 years in the U.S.)
Download this year’s 2020 presentation pdf
 
Nonresident Aliens for tax purposes
7:00pm – 8:30pm
Location: 10-250
Resident Int’l students, scholars & U.S. Citizens
(> 4 years in the U.S.)
Download this year’s 2020 presentation pdf
 
Resident tax filers
(US Citizens, US Permanent Residents, Resident Aliens for tax purposes)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Do I have to file a tax form?
A: If you were present in the U.S. during 2019 and hold a non-immigrant visa other than B1/B2, you must file at least one U.S. federal tax form (Form 8843). F-2 dependents and J-2 dependents will also need to file tax forms. If you were not in the U.S. at any time in 2019, you do not need to file a form.

Q: I received no funding from U.S. sources in 2018. Do I still have to file a tax form?
A: Non-residents in the U.S. under an F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2 immigration status must complete the Form 8843 if they were present at any time in the U.S. in 2019 even if they received no income in 2019. Please see our Glacier Tax Prep ‘No Income’ handout for more information. Students and dependents in this category may still use the Glacier Tax Prep software for assistance.

Q: I received income from MIT through on-campus employment, assistantship, fellowship, or other stipend. What forms should I receive from MIT and what should I expect?
A: Please see the MIT Payroll office resource guide, “Types of Tax Forms” (PDF). For specific information on graduate student fellowships and research or teaching assistantships, please see MIT Payroll’s resource for graduate students (PDF). If you believe that you should have received a form from MIT Payroll, please contact MIT Payroll directly.

Q: How do I know if I am a resident or non-resident for U.S. federal income tax purpose?
A: Glacier Tax Prep will help you determine your tax residency status. Please log on to the system and enter your information as asked. Please note that if you are considered a non-resident for federal taxes, you may NOT be considered a non-resident for Massachusetts state taxes. For information on MA tax residency, please go to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue here: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/who-must-file-a-state-personal-income-tax-return

Q: Glacier Tax Prep states that I am a resident for U.S. federal tax purposes and I cannot use the software. Do you provide any help for residents for tax purposes?
A: If you a resident for U.S. federal tax purposes, you can use tax software available for U.S. citizens such as TurboTax, TaxAct, etc. Please refer to the IRS website for more information and availability of free software.

Q: Do I have to file a Massachusetts State tax form?
A: The answer depends on the source and amount of your income. If you received NO funding from U.S. sources in 2019 and you only filed a Form 8843 for your federal tax form, you do not need to file a Massachusetts State tax form. For more information, please refer to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue site.

Q: I need help with my Masschusetts State tax forms. Where can I find help?
A:

Q: Does my country have a tax treaty with the U.S.?
A: Please see MIT Payroll’s page on foreign national tax resources for more information. In addition, please see U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens (IRS Publication 519) (PDF) and U.S. Tax Treaties (IRS Publication 901) (PDF). MIT Payroll also has a list U.S. tax treaties (PDF) with other countries.

Tax Resource Links

MIT Resources – MIT Office of the Vice President for Finance

Manage Foreign National Tax StatusMIT VPF/Payroll
These tips will help you understand why taxes will or won’t be deducted from your pay.

Individual Income Taxation of Nonresident and Resident Aliens FAQ (PDF)
Answers around your specific tax filing responsibilities. Topics include Dual Status Aliens;Foreign Tax Matters such as personal property, book, rights, real estate, stocks or other investments; State Tax Matters; Spouses; Tax-Related Identity Theft.

Tips for Choosing a Tax Preparer (PDF)
If you tax situation is complex, you may want to seek the services of a professional tax preparer to file your tax returns. It is important to choose your tax preparer cafefully as you will be responsible for your tax return even if someone else prepares it for you. The International Scholars Office (ISchO) provides a list of local tax advisors who can assist you for a fee.

Internal Revenue Service

http://www.irs.gov/ – General information about U.S. federal tax returns.

U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens (IRS Publication 519) (PDF) – This document is a comprehensive tax guide on issues pertaining to foreign nationals and their tax status.

U.S. Tax Treaties (IRS Publication 901) (PDF) – Detailed information on U.S. tax treaties.

Massachusetts Department of Revenue

https://www.mass.gov/personal-income-tax – General information about filing Massachusetts state tax returns.

Unfortunately, ISO advisors are not trained in the complexities of the US Tax Code and therefore, cannot advise on tax issues. The ISO will do its best to find tax resources for our students and direct your questions to the right places.