All international students and accompanying dependents are required to complete an income tax return annually. For most of you, this will mean completing the form 1040NR-EZ (U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return) and a form 8843. You are required to file an income tax return even if you have no income from U.S. sources, or if your income is exempt from U.S. taxes due to treaties between the U.S. and your home country.
The U.S. tax system encompasses many different types of taxes (e.g., income tax, Social Security tax, sales tax, personal property tax) and three layers of taxation (local, state, and federal). You have obligations at several levels.
Sources of U.S. income may include on-campus employment, scholarships, practical or academic training and any compensation received for labor. International students do not have to pay taxes on interest paid to them by U.S. banks.
Note that income is not limited to wages paid to you in cash, but also includes that portion of your scholarship that is applied to your housing and meal expenses. The portion applied to your tuition fees, books and supplies is not counted as income. International Student Services will help you make these distinctions. Be sure to inquire about the applicability of any tax treaty that might exist between your country and the United States.
For additional information, visit the United States Internal Revenue Services (IRS)