Washington State University

International Programs

International Students

Tax Regulations

Income Tax

It is the responsibility of each individual employed in the U.S. to comply with income tax regulations.

Between January 1 and April 15 of each year, everyone who has earned U.S. income and F-1 and J-1 students who received during the previous calendar year a scholarship or grant from U.S. sources, are required to prepare an income tax report, and file it with the IRS.

Forms will be available at Global Services and at most banks or at the post office.

Detailed IRS instructions accompany these forms. If too much tax has been withheld, a refund will be granted. Because of the complexity of income tax laws, it is advisable to have questions answered by the IRS or by a reliable tax consultant.

In addition, all F-1 and J-1 students must file IRS Form 8843 regardless of whether they have earned income in the U.S.

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Social Security Tax

You are subject to FICA [Social Security] tax withholdings if you are ‘residents for tax purposes’.

Generally, F-1/J-1 students become ‘residents’ for tax purposes after they have been in the U.S. for 5 years.

Full-time students may retain ‘non-resident’ status beyond 5 years in some circumstances.

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Immigration Status and Tax Withholding

An employer must know the employee's immigration status (F-1, J-1, H-1B, permanent resident, etc.) for taxation purposes.

If the employer does not have the correct immigration status, it will not be able to withhold the correct amount of income tax and social security tax.

If the proper amount of taxes is not withheld, the employee will eventually be subject to a retroactive bill for back taxes. In some cases that might be a sizable amount.

It is the responsibility of a student who is employed by WSU to inform Payroll Services of her/his immigration status when the employment begins.

It is also a student’s responsibility to notify Payroll Services, Global Services and the hiring department if the immigration status changes to some other status (i.e. from F-1 to H-1B, etc. or to that of a permanent resident or immigrant), while the student is employed by WSU. Notification is necessary so that WSU’s records are current and consistent.

The understanding of this office, based on discussions with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), is that salaries and wages in payment for work performed by non-citizens and some scholarships and grants awarded to F-1 students come under the tax laws of the U.S. Teaching and Research Assistantships are considered employment and income tax will be withheld.

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Obtaining a Social Security Card

The local Social Security Office is located in Lewiston, Idaho. There is no office in Pullman, Washington. Contact informaition for this office is provided below:

Lewiston Social Security Office

1617 19th Avenue
Lewiston, ID 83501
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
208-746-2995 (local)
800-772-1213 (toll-free)

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Office of International Programs

International Programs, PO Box 645121, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5121, 509-335-2541, Contact Us