Foreign Students and International Taxes

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Do Foreign Students Have to Pay Taxes?

In general, services performed by nonresident aliens temporarily in the U.S. as non-immigrants are not covered under the social security program if they are performed to carry out the purpose for which the alien was admitted to the U.S. Generally, social security or Medicare taxes are not withheld from the pay that foreign students receive for these services. However, these types of services are limited, usually including only:

Social security and Medicare taxes will be withheld from foreign students' pay if they are considered resident aliens, even if their nonimmigrant classification remains the same.

Can Nonresident Students Work in the United States?

Generally, nonresidents admitted to the U.S. as students may not work for a wage or salary or otherwise engage in business while in the country. However, there are exceptions through which a student may be granted permission to work. Depending on your status, you may be able to work:

What about Exchange Visitors?

Nonimmigrant exchange visitors are admitted through the sponsorship of approved organizations and institutions that are responsible for establishing a program for the visitor. With the permission of their sponsor, nonimmigrant exchange visitors can work for the same reasons as other foreign students. Social security and Medicare taxes are not withheld if the exchange visitor has been given permission to work and possesses a letter of authorization from the sponsor.

Do I Need a Tax Lawyer If I Have Tax Issues?

Consulting a lawyer who has experience with these issues may help you understand the various laws surrounding these issues. A tax lawyer would be able to tell you which category you fall under, and inform you of your tax responsibilities.

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Last Modified: 11-04-2014 03:44 PM PST

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