Income Tax

Income tax requirements in the United States are quite complex.  Review this section to learn more.

ISS advisors are not tax advisors. We can help you find information however we cannot answer tax questions or assist in completing tax forms.

No Income? File Form 8843

Were you present in the United States for any period during the past calendar year (January 1-December 31)? Are you a non-resident for tax purposes? A yes answer to both questions means you must file a tax form 8843, even if you did not work.

All nonresident aliens present in the U.S. under F-1, F-2, J-1, or J-2 nonimmigrant status must file Form 8843 "Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals With a Medical Condition" -- even if they received no income during a tax year. Depending on various factors, you also may need to file both a federal and state tax return.

Form 8843 must be filed if an individual is:

  • Present in the U.S. for any day during the previous calendar year (e.g. present during 2018 if filing in 2019)
  • A nonresident alien
  • Present in the U.S. under F-1, F-2, J-1, or J-2 status

If an individual meets all three qualifications above, the Form 8843 must be filed for the tax year. 

Did you know...?

You may be eligible to use Sprintax for Form 8843. For further information on Form 8843 & Sprintax visit UB's International Employment Unit's website.

Federal and New York State Tax Withholding Forms

Employees in the U.S. are required to pay taxes on all or a portion of their income to the federal (U.S.) government and to the state government where they work. Employers therefore must withhold the correct tax amount from each employee’s wages and send that money to the federal and state tax departments.

In order for the employer to know how much money to withhold and send to the tax departments, each employee must complete certain tax forms at the time of hire. These forms are: W-4 (U.S. government) and IT-2104 (New York State)

Nonresident Aliens Income Tax Filing Resources

UB F-1 and J-1 students who had been in the U.S. for five years or less can use Sprintax to prepare their federal (U.S. government) and New York State income tax returns. Sprintax is free for your federal income tax return. However, you will have to pay a fee to use it to prepare your New York State income tax return.

Although Sprintax is accessed online, it does not e-file income tax returns; it merely assists with the completion of the income tax forms. Therefore, it is fine for international students to use Sprintax.

Once codes are available each year you can receive the code to access Sprintax from the International Employment Unit's page. Sprintax is made available to UB international students by UB’s International Employment Unit.

If you have any questions when using Sprintax:

You can email Sprintax at or phone them at 866-601-5695. Sprintax also has an online Live Chat service.

Resident Aliens Income Tax Filing Tips

If you are an F-1 or J-1 student who had been in the U.S. longer than five years, had U.S. income in the past fiscal year, and need assistance filing your income tax return, you have a few options:

  1. Go to a professional tax preparer. There are many professional tax preparers in Buffalo.
  2. Prepare your income tax return at This website is recommended by both the Internal Revenue Service and New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

International Student Services staff cannot assist you since we are not trained tax preparers or advisors.

Additional Resources


The information contained in the attached workshop materials (referred to as “handouts and webcasts” or “materials”) is provided by the Office of International Student Services as a service solely to the international students and administrators of the University at Buffalo and to institutions of higher education with whom we are affiliated or to whom we are related, and does not constitute legal advice on any immigration, tax, or other matter. Utilization of these materials by anyone other than the above-noted intended recipients is strictly prohibited. We try to provide useful information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to in these handouts and webcasts or any associated web sites. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel or tax professional. Neither the University at Buffalo nor the Office of International Student Services is responsible for any errors or omissions contained in these materials, or for the results obtained from the use of this information.