If you earn any income while you are here as a student or scholar in the U.S., you will need to file income tax returns with the U.S. Government and the State of Iowa. You are responsible for making sure this gets done. Filing an income tax return can be confusing and difficult, but you do not need to do this by yourself. Most international students here at UNI rely on the free, expert assistance offered by the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, or V.I.T.A. These well-trained volunteers will help you prepare your income tax returns and submit them to the Federal Government and the State of Iowa.
All international students and scholars must file IRS form 8843, even if no income was earned during a calendar year. This is a simple form that you can do yourself. You can find the form here. If you did earn income, the VITA volunteers will make sure that you file form 8843 along with your 1040 form.
Professional tax preparation services are also available. If you would prefer to hire someone to do your taxes, look in the yellow pages of your telephone directory under “Tax Return Preparation”.
You may also prepare your income tax return yourself. To get started, read the information provided by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service at their web site.
The Tax Guide for Aliens, IRS publication 519
Information about Iowa income tax, from the Iowa Department of Revenue.
Iowa form 1040 can be found in several versions here.
Important International Student Scholarship Tax Withholding Information:
If an international student have been awarded a scholarship from sources in the U.S., including UNI, pursuant to U.S. tax law, the total of scholarship that exceed tuition and required fees, books equipment, and supplies are taxable. If the scholarship recipient is not employed, UNI may further reduce the taxable amount of the scholarship by the Internal Revenue Service personal exemption amount ($3,800 in 2012). Any remaining taxable amount would result in UNI having to reduce that portion of student's cumulative award that exceeds tuition and mandatory fees by a 14% tax charge on student's U-bill labeled “1042-s tax withholding.” However, certain countries have treaties with the U.S. under which student may avoid this tax withholding. For more information, please go to http://www.vpaf.uni.edu/obo/payroll/documents/InternationalStudentScholarship.pdf.
If you have questions about what to do or where to go for help, remember that you can always contact International Students and Scholars Office for help.