Even if no money was earned last year, F-1 students are required to file a tax return with the Internal Revenuse Service (IRS). Please click on the links provided for the various forms and more information.
For those F-1 students who did not work and consequently had no income, only Form 8843 (Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition) is required.
For those F-1 students who were employed at any time during the last year, then a federal income tax form, either form 1040NR (if you are married with dependents in the US) or 1040NR EZ (if you have no dependents), along with the Pennsylvania state form PA-40, must be filed, in addition to Form 8843.
In order to file your income tax returns, you will need a W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) that will be sent to you by your employer, if you had a job, sometime in late January. In addition, you may receive year-end statements from any bank or financial institution where you have accounts. Once these are received, you can complete your forms.
For a list of forms and additional information, please visit the IRS website. In addition, some countries have tax treaties with the United States. Again, the IRS has a complete list and explanation of tax treaties.
IMPORTANT: the deadline for filing is April 15th for Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ and PA-40; form 8843 is due by June 15th. The forms can be completed online by typing into the colored boxes, but cannot be submit electronically. Please print, sign your name, and mail them to the address on each form.
While there are some commercial websites offering information for international student tax returns, you may wish to seek advice from a professional tax preparer if you have a more complicated situation or specific questions.