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Please check your email for information about access codes and instructions in the use of GTP, a web-based software to assist in the preparation of your tax returns. Please remember that international students and scholars may not file the returns electronically, but must print them out and send them through the mail, with the W-2 attached, as the software will direct you.

What's most important to know about U.S. and Massachusetts tax filing requirements?

1. All United States and Massachusetts Income Tax forms (also called tax returns) must be postmarked by April 15 of each year for the previous calendar year's (Jan-Dec) income information.

2. All international students and scholars who were in the US in 2012 for part or all of the year must complete and mail Form 8843 even if they earned no income in the United States. (See additional information on Form 8843 below.)

3. International students and scholars may not e-file their forms.

4. The International Student and Scholar Center staff is NOT qualified to provide any group or individual tax advice or assistance.

Questions about taxes

What is a tax?

The U.S. Government, like most governments, collects a tax on money that employees earn, and it is taken directly out of your paycheck before you receive it.  The state in which you work, and sometimes the local city or town in which you live, also collect taxes based on income people earn while employed. More details

Who is required to file income tax paperwork (or tax returns)?

Most people who were legally employed in the United States in a calendar year (Jan-Dec) by a US-based employer are required to file tax forms (or tax returns) both with the U.S. Government's Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the state in which you are employed (Massachusetts, in most cases.)

All international students and scholars on visa types F-1 and J-1, and their dependents on F-1 and J-2 must file form 8843 whether or not they were employed.

When are tax returns filed?

There is a filing deadline of April 15 each year for the previous calendar year's (Jan.-Dec.) tax information. Please remember that international students and scholars may not file the returns electronically, but must print them out and send them through the U.S. mail, with the W-2 and other required documents attached, as the software will direct you.

What are tax treaties?

A tax treaty is an agreement between your country and the United States to exempt you from paying federal income tax.  You are still required to file the income tax paperwork with the IRS. More details

Where can I get help?

The GTP software is a good start. Also, many citizens and permanent residents hire tax experts or use software to assist them in completing their forms, especially if they have more than one employer or own property, for example. More details

What taxes may be taken out of my pay?

Some examples are:

  • U.S. Government income taxes.  This tax program is administered by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  • Massachusetts State Income Taxes

More details

Most Frequently-Used Tax Forms

Form 8843 Anyone in these visa types must file this form each year, whether or not you are employed:  F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2, M-1, M-2, Q-1, Q-2. More details

W-2 Issued by employers in the US shows your total earnings for 2012, what was deducted for US Federal tax, Massachusetts tax, and any other deductions relevant to filing taxes.  More details

Form 1042-S Tells you if your country has a tax treaty with the U.S. and how your earnings were affected by this agreement. More details

Form 1098-T Indicates the amount paid to the University as tuition and fees. International students do not use 1098-T for tax purposes. More details

Form HC-1099 From your health insurance company saying that you have had health insurance in Massachusetts for at least part of 2012. This form is necessary for your Massachusetts tax submission. More details

Massachusetts (State) Tax Forms

The Massachusetts forms are available at http://www.dor.state.ma.us/. We recommend that you complete your US federal tax forms first because you can use some of that information to help complete your Massachusetts (MA) forms.  More details

Updated 2/28/2013