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Tax Residency Category

The tax calculation for international students, scholars, and employees will depend on your Tax Residency. Depending on your immigration status and time in the US, you will be categorized for tax purposes as either a 'Non-Resident Alien' or a 'Resident Alien'.  This category does not have any bearing on your actual residency status with US immigration! Also, your tax residency status at the State level may be different than your Federal category. The University of Rochester uses an online software system, GLACIER, to ensure compliance with taxation requirements and to assist foreign nationals with calculating their tax residency.

Most foreign nationals are categorized as Non-Resident Aliens for tax purposes, at least initially. This carries specific filing requirements, different forms, and more limited tax options. As your situation or authorized activities change, it is possible to change from one category to another over time. Resident Aliens are taxed the same way as US citizens and Permanent Residents (although eligibility for certain tax credits may be restricted in your first year). See below for a summary of each system:

 

Non-Resident Alien Tax System
   -  Taxed only on US sourced income
   -  Restricted withholding allowances
   -  Receives Forms W-2 and 1042-S
   -  Files Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ tax return
   -  Files 8233 (initial) & 8843 (with return) for treaty benefits
   -  Limited itemized deductions
   -  May not claim standard deduction (unless allowed by a treaty)
   -  Form W-8 BEN is commonly requested

 

US Tax System
   -  Taxed on worldwide income
   -  May claim a withholding allowance for each legal dependent
   -  Receives Forms W-2 and/or 1099
   -  Files Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040-EZ tax return
   -  Eligible to itemize deductions or claim standard deduction