What You Need to Know

Non-resident international students who did not work must file a Form 8843. Your tax return or Form 8843 must be filed by April 15th. Failure to file a tax return by the due date is a federal and state offense and can lead to criminal action against you.

All non-resident students in the United States who received income in the previous calendar year (including those on post-completion work authorizations) must file a tax return.

Federal tax filing overview video

Federal tax webinar by Sprintax

If You Earned Income: File an Income Tax Return

Anyone residing within the United States must pay taxes to the state and federal government, and the process is completed through an agency called the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). When someone earns money a portion of it is automatically deducted and sent directly to the government. The purpose of filing your tax return is to report all your sources of income to the government, what taxes you already paid, and what you still owe. At the end of the process, you calculate how much in total you should have paid. If you paid more than what you owe during the year, you get a refund. On the other hand, if you didn't pay enough, you must pay the difference.

  • How to File a Tax Return

    The University of Denver has arranged free access to an online tax service for you called Sprintax. Sprintax will guide you through the tax preparation process, arrange the necessary documents and check if you’re due a tax refund.

    All you need to do is:

    1. Email to get a unique code to enter on your Sprintax order so that there is no cost for you to file the US federal tax return.
    2. Complete the online questionnaire.
    3. Enter your unique code in the box on the ‘Review your order’ page.
    4. Sprintax will prepare your federal tax return. Sprintax can prepare your state tax return, if they are required, at your own cost.

    Once you complete the preparation process in the Sprintax software, you must print, sign and mail your documents to the IRS. 

    If you have any questions, the Sprintax team will be happy to help via their 24/7 live chat facility.

    If you want to file state tax returns yourself, you can find the required forms and instructions at the Colorado Department of Revenue's website. 

    ISSS staff are not tax professionals and we cannot help you file your taxes. 

If You Did Not Earn Income: File Form 8843

Form 8843 is an informational statement required by the U.S. government. It demonstrates that you are a non-resident for tax purposes. All F-1 and J-1 visitors and their dependents in F-2 or J-2 status must submit Form 8843. For any non-resident who did not earn income in the previous year, Form 8843 does not need to be submitted with a tax return.

  • How to File Form 8843
    1. Download IRS Form 8843
    2. Fill in your name exactly as it appears on your passport
    3. For the box requesting your U.S. taxpayer identification number, write in your Social Security (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). If you do not have either one of these, leave it blank.

    Part I: General Information (Required for everyone completing Form 8843)

    • 1a: Enter the visa status (i.e. F-1, J-2, H-1B, etc.) that you used to enter the U.S. most recently, and the date you entered (see I-94 record).

    • 1b: Your “current nonimmigrant status” as of December 31st of the year you are filing for (e.g., F-1). This should be the same as the information you entered for 1a. If you changed visa status while in the U.S. (e.g. you entered the U.S. in H-1B status and, without leaving, changed to F-1), enter your current non-immigrant status (F or J) and the date that your change of status was approved (see I-797 Approval Notice form). 

    • 4a: Count the number of days you were physically present in the U.S. in each of the last 3 calendar years. Make sure to enter the actual number of days you were present. Exclude days when you were outside of the U.S.

    • 4b: Substantial Presence Test: Enter the number of days you were present in the U.S. during the tax year. This should be the same number that you entered in the first blank on 4a.

    Part II: Teachers and Trainees (Required for J-1 Research Scholars, Short-Term Scholars, Professors and Specialists ONLY. See 5 on your DS-2019 for category. Do not fill out if you are a J-1 or F-1 Student)

    • 5: Enter: The University of Denver, 2199 S University Blvd, Denver, CO 80208, (303) 871-2000

    • 6 – 8: Answer each question according to your individual situation.

    Part III: Students (Required for F-1 and J-1 Students and F-2/J-2 dependents)

    • 9: Enter: The University of Denver, 2199 S University Blvd, Denver, CO 80208, (303) 871-2000

    o F-2/J-2 Dependents write: Spouse/Dependent of student attending The University of Denver, 2199 S University Blvd, Denver, CO 80208, (303) 871-2000

    • 10: Enter the name and contact information of the chair of your academic department. If you do not know who this is, you can look it up in the DU Directory.

    o F-2/J-2 Dependents write: Spouse/Dependent of student attending The University of Denver, 2199 S University Blvd, Denver, CO 80208, (303) 871-2000

    • 11 – 14: Answer each question according to your individual situation.

    Part IV: Professional Athletes

    Leave all spaces blank. This does not apply to those present in the U.S. in F or J non-immigrant status.

    Part V: Individuals With a Medical Condition or Medical Problem

    Leave all spaces blank. This does not apply to those present in the U.S. in F or J non-immigrant status.

    Mailing Instructions

    Double check that you have completed all required fields. Make a copy or scan for your records. You must mail each individual 8843 to the address below. Even if you have dependents, everyone must submit their own Form 8843 in a separate envelope. Do not include any other forms in your envelope.

    Mail the completed form to:

    Department of the Treasury

    Internal Revenue Service Center

    Austin, TX 73301-0215

Tax Documents

Form 1042-S

If a student receives a scholarship that is greater than the cost of tuition, the excess amount is considered taxable income which must be reported when filing U.S. taxes. This scenario is almost exclusive to student athletes. The Form 1042-S can be generated by the Office of Payroll (

Form 1098-T

This form is issued by the Office of the Bursar to US citizens and permanent residents who had qualified tuition and related expenses. If an international student needs the Form 1098-T, they can contact the Bursar (

Types of US Taxes

Social Security (FICA)

Social Security taxes are used to support public health and retirement benefits. In general, you are exempt from paying Social Security taxes during your first five years in the United States if you are on in F-1 or J-1 status and you continue to declare yourself a non-resident for tax purposes.

Income tax

All income earned in the United States, including graduate assistantships, is subject to taxation by the federal and state government. Unless you qualify for an exemption under a tax treaty between the United States and your home government, your employer is required by law to withhold income tax from your paycheck.