Taxes - U.S. Tax Information for Nonresident Aliens
All Foreign Nationals living, visiting, working, or studying in the U.S. are responsible for compliance with United States laws and regulations. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. government tax authority, has issued strict regulations regarding the taxation and reporting of payments made to non-United States citizens. As a result, the University of Florida may be required to withhold U.S. income tax and file reports with the IRS in connection with payments made by UF to students, faculty, staff or guests who are not U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens (green card holders) and who receive financial aid, scholarships, fellowships, awards, or compensation for services performed. For detailed information about filing income tax return forms as a foreign national who resides in the U.S. visit the IRS website for Taxation of Nonresident Aliens.
Federal Tax Treatment
People generally are not eligible to file as a resident unless they have been in the U.S. at least 5 years. The total substantial presence period of 5 years may be accrued as an aggregate of all periods in which the person has been present in the U.S., regardless of how many times they have travelled internationally. People who have accrued presence in the U.S. totaling less than 5 years need to file a tax return with a "nonresident alien" classification. Whereas people who have accrued presence in the U.S. totaling 5 or more years need to file a tax return with a "resident alien" classification.
It’s important to note that tax regulations for students differ in some ways than tax regulations for scholars. Please see the following link for information pertaining to tax filing requirements: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/references-for-foreign-students-and-scholars
The U.S. maintains income tax treaties with over 50 different countries, and certain taxable payments made by UF to a foreign national may be exempt from U.S. tax based on an income tax treaty entered into between the U.S. and the foreign national's home country. The existence of a tax treaty does not automatically ensure an exemption from taxation; rather, the recipient must satisfy the requirements for the exemption set forth in the tax treaty. In order to be considered for a tax treaty exemption, all the appropriate Federal forms must be completed. For more information, please download the IRS document, P901 "US Tax Treaties".
Taxable and Nontaxable Items for Students
Payments to students for the following items are nontaxable:
- Book Allowance
- Required Registration Fees
- Mandatory Health Insurance
Taxable items include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Room and Board
- Fellowship Stipend (which does not require a service to be performed)
- Living Allowance
- Cash Award
- Travel Payment/Reimbursement
- Compensation (including a fellowship stipend that does require a service to be performed)
Tax Preparation Program
UFIC provides international students and scholars with a free international tax return preparation program known as Spring Tax. It is made available each spring in the beginning of February through a secure portal. UFIC will disseminate additional information to students and scholars about accessing the portal once it has been activated. The program has a built in feature that will help calculate the substantial presence period and will inform the user of the appropriate tax filing classification to use. Generally persons in the U.S. must have the tax return filed with the IRS by the tax deadline each year, which typically occurs on April 15th or the next business day if April 15th occurs on a weekend. In addition to the Spring Tax program, students and scholars are provided with additional resources for help with tax filing. Information about these is made available closer to the tax filing period each year.