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All international students and scholars are required to report to the U.S. tax service (known as the Internal Revenue Service) each year — even if they did not work during the prior year. You will not necessarily need to pay taxes; but you must at least report your presence in the U.S. This is a legal requirement. Although UKIC staff cannot advise on tax issues, we hope to give you basic information here as a helpful starting point.


If you first arrived in the U.S. on or after January 1, 2016 and if you were not present in the U.S. at all during 2016, you currently have no tax filing obligations — but you will need to file next year, so check back then on what to do. If you were present in the U.S. for even one day during 2016 you have tax filing obligations. Keep reading for when, what and how to file.

I didn’t work in 2016. Do I still need to file a tax return?

Sources of U.S. income may include certain types of income received scholarships, fellowships, graduate assistantships, practical or academic training, and any compensation received for labor. For more information about other types of income and whether you need to file a tax return, please read this handout on Tax Resources for International Students and Scholars/NAFSA.

Even if you don’t need to file a tax return, all nonresidents who are present in the U.S. under an F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2, M-1, M-2, Q-1, or Q-2 immigration status MUST file Form 8843 “Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals With a Medical Condition” even if they received NO income during 2016. The individual must file Form 8843, regardless of his or her age and even if he or she is not required to file a U.S. income tax return. For more information, refer to Tax Resources for International Students and Scholars/NAFSA..


Students must wait until they've received all documents from the university and/or other organization before filing a tax return. Failure to do so, may cause a delay or problem with your tax return.

The University of Kentucky payroll office is not expected to mail the Form 1042-S until March 15.

Other documents from employers, banks, and charitable organizations may also not arrive until later. International students and scholars may need these forms in order to file their tax return, especially if you claiming a tax treaty, have a scholarship, fellowship, research or teaching assistantship. Therefore, please wait until you receive all of your forms before filing your tax return.

J-1 Scholars

The earliest ISSS recommends that J-1 scholars file their taxes is February 1 (unless you are waiting for the 1042-S or other documents from the IRS)*

F-1 and J-1 International Students

The earliest ISSS recommends that F-1 and J-1 international students file their taxes is March 1 (unless you are waiting for the1042-S or other documents from the IRS)*

*How do I know if I will receive a 1042-S from the University of Kentucky?

Form 1042 is for any nonresident visa holder with a fellowship (student or post-doc) and nonresident visa holder who will receive tax treaty benefits. UK Payroll generally issues about 700-800 1042s forms each year.


The tax filing deadline to file is April 15. If you had no income and will only be filing Form 8843, your deadline is June 15th. If you are unable to file your forms by the due date, you must submit an Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File Your Tax Return Form 4868 to the Internal Revenue Service.


The United States has over 50 tax treaties with different countries. The treaties vary in terms of the benefits they offer to students, the types of income covered, the total amount of the exemption, and the number of years you could claim the benefit. If you file your tax forms with a tax software, the software will automatically factor in any benefit offered through a tax treaty with your country.

For more information on tax treaties, including a list of the countries that the United States has tax treaties with, see IRS Publication 901, U.S. Tax Treaties. Note that tax treaties vary in their implications for state taxes.


Step 1: Gather the following documents:

(Note: You may not have or need some of these; this is a list of all the documents you might need.)

  • Passport, Visa, I-94 record
  • Your Exit and Entry Dates for all past U.S. visits
  • Your I-20, DS-2019, or other immigration documents
  • Social Security number (if you do not have a Social Security number, you will need an Individual Tax Identification Number, which can be obtained through Sprintax; see step 2)
  • Current U.S. Address AND Permanent Foreign Address
  • Name of Educational Institution or Sponsoring Organization
  • Form(s) W-2, 1042-S, 1099
    Scholarship or Fellowship grant letters (if no related Form 1042-S)
  • Copy of past year’s tax forms (if you had any)

  • Step 2: Use Sprintax to file your federal tax return and/or forms.

    UKY has purchased Sprintax to help you fulfil your tax obligations. This software will ask you a series of questions and will use your answers to fill in all necessary U.S. government tax forms for you. It will also inform you of any tax treaty benefits that may apply to you.

    International students can now access this software through the International Office Online Services portal called iCAT. By logging into the International Services portal (iCAT)you will not need a separate code to access the system. Just log into the iCAT system with your University of Kentucky link blue campus username and password and click the link for the Sprintax software located under the tab labeled “Taxes”. If you are unable to login to iCAT please send an email to

    Click here for detailed instructions to locate the Sprintax tax software.


    You will not use iCAT to access Sprintax. University of Kentucky scholars will receive an email with an individual and private code that can be used to access the software.

    Once you receive this email you will login to the tax software through the Sprintax login website. You will be asked to create a user account and password.

    If you are a returning user and you have forgotten your password click “Forgot Password”.

    If you do not receive an email from ISSS with your individual code, please email to the international services office at

    If Sprintax determines that you are a resident for U.S. tax purposes, it will not generate your tax forms. You should file resident tax returns — the same way U.S. citizens do. Refer to list of outside vendors or resources below.

    Step 3: Confirm whether you had US income during 2016

    Sprintax will have helped you figure this out. Note that U.S. income includes earned wages, as well as some non-UKY scholarships, stipends, prizes, awards, winnings, etc.
    If you had no U.S. income during 2016 you are not required to file a state tax return. Send in your signed federal forms and you will be done for the year!

    Step 4: If you had US income during 2016, you also must file a state tax return.

    State taxes may have different residency guidelines then U.S. taxes. Some students and scholars may even be exempt from filing state taxes. To find out more you may contact one of the outside vendors or resources listed below.

    Outside Vendors and State Tax Filing Resources for Guidance:

    Some of these vendors are NOT free! For most students and scholars the information on this page and the Sprintax tax software system will be enough to successfully file a federal tax return. But if you have further questions or more complex tax circumstances you may wish to contact one of these resources listed.*

  • University of Kentucky College of Law - FREE
  • (The UK College of Law recommends using Sprintax to do your federal return, if possible, before coming to the College of Law site for help with the state tax return). See FAQ here.

  • Other VITA services - FREE
  • Sprintax /Turbo Tax
  • The Federal tax forms (Form 1040-NR, 1040-NREZ, Form 8843 etc.) are free for UK international students/scholars but there is a FEE for assistance in filing a state tax return.

  • H&R Block – This vendor is NOT FREE
  • Note: This list of tax services is for general information purposes only. The University of Kentucky makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, availability or security of these tax services. Using any of these services is voluntary taken at your own risk. IN NO EVENT WILL THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE OF ANY KIND, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OR DAMAGES BASED ON LOSS OF DATA, PROFITS, REVENUES OR OPPORTUNITIES, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OF THESE TAX SERVICES WHETHER OR NOT A PARTY HAD OR SHOULD HAVE HAD ANY KNOWLEDGE, ACTUAL OR CONSTRUCTIVE, THAT SUCH DAMAGES MIGHT BE INCURRED.


    For more detailed information on filing taxes, visit our tax pages for students and scholars.

  • Form 8843
  • Form 1040NR-EZ
  • Form 1040NR-EZ Instructions
  • Form 1040NR
  • Form 1040NR Instructions
  • Form 4868 Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File Taxes
  • Form W-7 Application for Individual Taxpayer ID Number
  • Form 8233 Exemption from Withholding on Compensation
  • Form 8233 Instructions
  • Form 843 Request for Refund or Abatement
  • Publication 4011 Foreign Student and Scholar Volunteer Resource Guide
  • Publication 515 Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens
  • Publication 519 United States Tax Guide for Aliens
  • Publication 901 United States Tax Treaties