Skip to main content

Nonresident payment and tax information 

Jump to:

Nonresident status overview

Before entering the United States, individuals who are not U.S. Citizens must obtain a passport issued by their government. In addition, International students and scholars will receive a Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20 or IAP 66) from CMU with their admissions materials. They must take that information to a U.S. Embassy or consulate to apply for a visa to enter the United States. Note: Canadian citizens do not need passport or consular visas and may obtain F-1 Student or J-1 Exchange Visitor status at the port of entry.

Visa information

B-1/B-2 Visa: This visa is used for short-term visits for business or pleasure only. No paid employment is permitted on this type of visa.

F-1 Visa: This is the most common visa used by individuals who will enroll as full-time students. On-campus employment that does not interfere with a full course of study is permitted, up to a maximum of 20 hours per week when school is in session, and full-time when school is not in session. 

F-2 Visa: This visa is for the spouse and children on an F-1 student. Employment is NOT permitted under any circumstances of individuals in this category.

J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa: Individuals who are coming to the United States to study, teach, conduct research, or receive training in an approved Exchange Visitor Program may use the J-1 visa. Paid employment is permitted only if it is an integral part of the program as described on the Form IAP-66. The Office of Global Engagement must approve the specific employment in advance and in writing.

J-2 Visa: This visa is for the spouse and children of an exchange visitor.J-2 visa holders may not work to support the J-1 exchange visitor.

Taxes overview

FICA Taxes: In general, F-1 and J-1 visa holders are exempt from Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes for the first five years in the United States as long as they continue to declare nonresident status for tax purposes.

Federal, State and Local Taxes: Unless there is a tax treaty between the United States and the home country of the Non-Resident Alien, all earnings will be subject to applicable federal, state and local taxes.

Miscellaneous information

Honorariums: An honorarium paid to a nonresident alien who is coming to the U.S. for a business purpose is subject to 30% Federal withholding and 4.2% Michigan withholding. The academic activity must not have lasted longer than 9 days at any single institution and the nonresident alien must not have accepted payment from more than 5 institutions or organizations in the previous 6-month period.

Scholarships: Tuition, fees, books, supplies and equipment required for classes are excluded from gross income tax reporting. All other components of a scholarship, which include room and board, travel and research are taxable to the recipient and are subject to 14% Federal withholding and 4.2% Michigan withholding if the recipient is in F or J non-immigrant status.

Expense Reimbursements: Incidental expenses paid to or reimbursed on behalf of the individual are not subject to withholding and reporting as long as they meet the definition of employee business expenses reimbursed under an accountable plan.

NOTE: Contact the Payroll Office for these types of payments prior to the request for reimbursement.

Paying nonresident individuals

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has detailed information about federal taxes on its website for international students and scholars:

Using Sprintax Calculus to determine tax status

Central Michigan University partnered with Sprintax Calculus to determine the tax status of our international visitors via an online platform. This allows you to present crucial information such as your visa status and travel documents to our office through an online setting. As an international visitor, it is imperative that you complete the steps below to ensure you are taxed properly on any monies paid to you.

Step 1: Receive activation email

You will receive an activation email from Calculus with the subject line [Name], welcome to Sprintax Calculus. The email will have an activation link that is active for 24 hours. If you do not click on the link within the allotted time, you can request a new activation link

Step 2: Create an account log in and password

Step 3: Follow system prompts to complete the questionnaire

Read through each question carefully. If you don't know how to answer, use the 24-hour support Live Chat.

Step 4: Electronically sign any generated forms

You'll need to download a mobile app called Google Authenticator. This app is used by Calculus as a way to verify your identity.

Filing a tax return as a nonresident

Filing federal income tax forms is the personal responsibility of each international student and scholar. Individuals are responsible for the accuracy of their income tax returns. You are required to file both federal and state tax forms if you were present in the U.S. for even one day in the calendar year.

If you were present in the U.S. during the calendar year but earned no income of any kind from a U.S. source, then you must file an 8843 IRS form

You must file a tax return if you have earned any income (even a small amount) in the U.S. during the calendar year. 

Examples include: 

  • Wages for on-campus or off-campus employment 
  • Interest/dividends on U.S. investments 
  • Independent contractor income
  • Scholarship income
  • Free housing and other non-wage contributions
How to file your tax return

Step 1: Determine if you are a non-resident or resident alien for tax purposes

Step 2: Retrieve income statements from your employer(s)

You should receive one or more of the following statements:

  • W-2 Wages
  • 1099 Miscellaneous Income
  • 1042-S Foreign Persons Source Income

Step 3: Fill out forms with professional help

We recommend seeking a certified tax preparer or utilizing an online tax program. Employees have had success with Sprintax, an online tax program that specializes in returns for international persons. The information that was entered into Calculus upon hiring will feed into Sprintax to make the return process move more quickly.

Step 4: Keep copies of all documents and send the original forms to the IRS

Step 5: File forms

Relevant IRS tax forms
  • IRS form for nonresidents for tax purposes: 1040-NR
  • IRS form for resident aliens for tax purposes: 1040

Frequently asked questions about nonresident taxes

IRS Form 8843 is the one form you and any of your dependent family
members must complete if you held any U.S. immigration status other than a tourist
visa. If you had income, you will also need to file a 1040NR tax return.

IRS Form 8843 notifies the IRS that you are a taxable nonresident. For tax purposes, all nonresident aliens must file IRS Form 8843 regardless of whether they had a U.S.
source of income.

No, that is not necessary.

Yes. You must file a federal income tax return to determine if you paid too much tax and are due a refund. It is also possible that you will have to pay additional taxes if the amount previously withheld is insufficient to meet your tax liability. Sprintax.com is a program that many use to assist with tax return preparation.

Yes. 

Only authorized tax preparers are able to assist you. CMU employees cannot directly
assist you with preparing your tax return because they are not trained tax professionals. Sprintax.com can assist you with your return and any questions pertaining to that return. You can also access IRS.gov with questions you have.

No. Nonresident tax forms cannot be e-filed. If you use software to complete your
return, you will print, sign, and mail as per the instructions provided by the software. Be sure to keep copies of all of your tax documents.