The information on this page is relevant to international students. International employees should visit the homepage for international employees.

2021 Tax Filing

If you're looking for more information on filing your 2021 U.S. income taxes, please see our tax prep software resources.

Tax filings in the U.S. are complicated, and the International Tax Office exists to help international students navigate the tax system. 

One crucial step in understanding U.S. tax obligations is understanding which forms you will need and when the deadlines are to submit documents and file your taxes.

As a student, you have unique needs and may or may not need to file certain forms depending on factors like your U.S. tax residency status, whether you receive a stipend (such as a scholarship or fellowship) or whether you  earn money through a job.

This page provides a high-level overview of the forms you may need to file with the IRS and the deadlines for taking action. For more detailed information, see our International Tax Guide for Stipend Recipients.  Students who are employed by the university should also visit the homepage for international employees.

Students who receive a stipend issued through CU payroll are required to meet with the International Tax Office. If you're not sure whether this requirement applies to you, contact the paying department for more information, before scheduling an appointment.

Timeline for receiving and filing your documents

Below is a month-by-month overview of when you can expect to receive certain documents and when you must file certain documents.

January Determine U.S. tax residency status for the previous calendar year in order to clarify your filing requirements
February Receive 1042-S (if applicable); look for information from Employee Services about filing resources
April Nonresident alien students in F or J status file Form 8843 and possibly Form 1040NR (if you have income to report) by April 15
Resident aliens students file Form 1040 (if you have income to report) by April 15

Tax forms you may receive from CU

There are a number of important tax forms that you may receive from CU including Form 1042-S, Form 1098-T and/or Form W-2. Nonresident student stipend recipients will receive Form 1042-S. 

Students who receive a W-2 should visit the homepage for international employees for more information about Form W-2.

Employee Services sends Form W-2 in late January, and Form 1042-S in early February.  If you have not received your documents by the end of February, visit the Reissue Request Form page.

Contact your campus Bursar’s Office with questions related to Form 1098-T.


W-2

 

This form lists all wages paid by the university along with the type and amount of taxes already deducted from those wages. This form will only be sent to students if they are employed by the university. Visit the W-2 page to learn more and see an interactive graphic that explains the form.

Learn more

 

1042-S. Click for details

 

Form 1042-S reports taxable and treaty exempt nonqualified scholarship/stipend/fellowship income.  You can learn more about taxation of these income types in Chapter 1 of IRS Publication 970.  If you receive more than one of these types of income, you may receive multiple 1042-S forms for a given tax year.  

Form 1042-S also reports tax treaty exempt income you may receive from a job.  If you are a student employee please also refer to our homepage for international employees.

Learn more

 

1042-S. Click for details

 

Form 1098-T reports information about education expenses that may qualify students for education related tax benefits.  Nonresidents alien students are not eligible to benefit and should simply file the 1098-T form with their annual tax records.

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Tax forms you may need to submit

International students need to file some tax forms, such as Form 8843, even if they don’t receive any wages or stipends. Learn more this and other crucial forms below.

Form 8843

This form is relevant to nonresidents visiting on F or J visas. These individuals must file this form every year whether they’ve received U.S. income or not.

 Form 8843 Resources Guide

Form 1040NR

This is the income tax return form nonresident aliens use to file income taxes in the U.S., and it must be filed annually. Resident aliens should not use Form 1040NR.

Form 1040

This is the income tax return form that resident aliens (and citizens) use to file income taxes in the U.S. Nonresident aliens should not use Form 1040.

Form W-8BEN

Nonresident alien students who are eligible for tax treaty exemption on their nonqualified scholarship/fellowship/stipend income must submit W-8BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting (Individuals) to the International Tax Office

Completing this form allows eligible, nonresident international student to reduce their federal tax withholdings, where allowable, under the tax treaty agreement between the U.S. and the employee's country of tax residency. To establish treaty eligibility and complete W-8BEN employees must contact a CU international tax specialist at intltax@cu.edu.

Tax Prep Software

Get help filing your taxes

The International Tax Office cannot directly help you file or provide any tax advice, Sprintax is one tax filing software option that will allow you to fill out and file your federal and state tax returns. This service can help students file their necessary tax documents even if you don’t receive any wages or stipends.

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