Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Tax Information

2021 Tax Year

All F-1 international students who were in the US at any time during 2021 must file annual tax forms and/or returns with the US Internal Revenue Services (IRS) and the State of Oregon Department of Revenue (DOR). It is your individual responsibility to understand and meet your tax obligations.

Please follow these Directions to complete your 2021 taxes.

(You can refer to this Sample Form 8843 for assistance.)

Overview: U.S. Income Taxes and the IRS

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the agency in the U.S. that handles taxes. International students need to inform themselves of their obligation to the IRS. In general, an international student will need to file tax forms, even if they did not earn any income in the U.S. (Much of the information contained on this can be referenced at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website for Foreign Students and Scholars.)

Filing taxes can result in a refund from the IRS, if too much was withheld in taxes over the year. Or, it can result in a required tax payment to the IRS, if not enough was withheld in taxes over the year.

Important: Staff in the Office of International Student Services (OISS) are not able to give any tax advice as they are not tax professionals.

Who must file tax forms?

All international students and their dependents who are present in the United States are required to file an individual income tax form if they were in the U.S. during the tax year, even if they have no U.S.-source income of any kind. Which tax form(s) need to be completed will depend on your source of income and resident or non-resident tax status (see “Tax Forms” below).

What is a “tax year”?

A tax year is the same as a calendar year – January 1 to December 31. For tax purposes, when counting presence in the U.S., one must count a calendar year even if only present in the U.S. for one day during that year.

Social security and ITIN numbers

Anyone employed in the U.S. should have a Social Security Number (SSN). Those who are not employed, but still need a tax ID number, may apply for an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN). An SSN or ITIN is not required for form 8843. Anyone filing tax forms other than 8843 must have an SSN or ITIN.

Tax Forms

Each international student’s individual situation determines which form(s) to file. Forms come with instructions.

  • Form 8843: This is a form all international students must fill out and send to the IRS, even if you did not work in the US during 2021.
    • You must submit form 8843 to the IRS each year so that you do not accumulate “substantial presence” in the US, which would eventually lead to you being taxed as a resident. If you have already passed the substantial presence test and are considered a resident for tax purposes, you do not need to fill out Form 8843. 
    • If an international student has dependents in the U.S., those dependents, regardless of age, must also file a Form 8843.
    • If an international student received wages or taxable scholarships from U.S. sources and is a nonresident alien for tax purposes, they must file Form 8843 and 1040NR. The Publication 515 can be a helpful resource.
  • Form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement): W-2 forms are mailed to current and former employees. This form shows how much has been earned during the tax year and how much was taken out for taxes. This is only sent to international students who have been employed.
  • Form 1042-S: The 1042-S form will only be given to nonresident alien students who have received scholarship or fellowship money that exceeds tuition and related fee charges. The 1042-S form will not be sent if an international has only had a tuition waiver and did not receive any checks. If an international student is expecting to receive a 1042-S form, they should wait until it is issued before filing their tax return.
  • Form 1095: The 1095-A, 1095-B, and 1095-C forms are related to health insurance.
  • Form 1099 (if applicable): The 1099 form documents miscellaneous income. For example, if an international student has worked as an independent contractor, rather than as an employee, they would receive this form instead of Form W-2.
Preparation Services
  • Multnomah County Libraries: Libraries in Multnomah County offer free tax preparation events throughout tax season.
  • Washington County Libraries: Libraries in Washington County offer free tax preparation events and services throughout the tax season.
  • (VITA) Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program: Volunteer-run, community tax-assistance services. Find a VITA Program location near you.
  • Sprintax, an online US tax prep solution for international students and scholars.
    • Note: This is not a free service. PCC does not provide any endorsement for this non-resident federal and state tax preparation service.
Resources

U.S. tax laws can be complex and confusing. We all get headaches during tax season and the laws that apply to international students are not the same as those that apply to U.S. citizens.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is meant to provide assistance for PCC international students in meeting their obligation with IRS. Inclusion of references or links to other entities or their websites does not constitute, and shall not be construed or reported as an endorsement or approval by Portland Community College. Portland Community College expressly disclaims any and all responsibility for any problems that may arise with regard to such outside entities. All students are encouraged to exercise their own good judgment when making decisions related to filing taxes.

This page is maintained by the OISS Senior Office Assistant.