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Filing Your Income Tax Forms

Alert! ATTENTION: Due to COVID-19, the IRS has extended the income tax filing deadline to May 17, 2021.


Tax Reporting for 2020 Income/Earnings

The International Services Office (ISO) offers helpful context and resources for our international population to navigate annual US tax reporting:


Who Should File a Tax Return?

If you were NOT physically present in the United States during the 2020 calendar year, you do NOT have to file tax forms related to last calendar year. If you were physically present, even for one day, you will need to determine your tax reporting obligations. This will be based on your tax residency category and any US earnings during the year.

If you earned US income during the 2020 calendar year, you should receive necessary summary statements from any relevant employers, financial institutions, etc. These could be Forms W-2, 1042-S, and/or 1099, etc. Collect these documents to use when you prepare your tax return(s).


What is the Deadline?

2020 Deadlines

  • All versions of Form 1040 must be postmarked by *May 17th* (extended deadline for Resident Alien filers).
  • Forms 1040NR must be postmarked by *May 17th* for most Nonresident Alien filers (extended deadline).
    Note: If you did not receive wages as an employee subject to US income tax withholding, the deadline to file Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ is June 15th.
  • Form 8843 must be postmarked by June 15th IF NOT filed jointly with an income tax return.
  • Extensions: If you need additional time to prepare and file your tax forms, you can file Form 4868 to request an automatic extension for 6 months.  To be eligible, this form must be filed by the May 17th deadline.  This extension does NOT apply to any tax payments that may be due.  Therefore, any tax payment due to IRS will be subject to interest charges.  Requests to extend state tax filings may not be satisfied with the Federal extension; please check with the respective state tax authority for extension requirements as these may need to be handled separately. Requesting an extension does NOT mean you have filed a tax return, since an extension only provides you with additional time to send any required tax return forms to the US government. 


Where can I get help?

ISO maintains basic resources to help students and scholars depending on their individual tax residency status. The tax reporting information and links above outline various considerations for individuals to prepare and mail appropriate tax forms during tax season. However, our staff are not tax professionals and cannot offer direct guidance or assistance with individual tax reporting obligations. For personal assistance, please consider contacting the IRS or a professional tax preparer (be sure to share your tax residency status upfront).