Income Taxes

If you work in the US, taxes will be withheld from your paycheck unless you qualify for a tax treaty benefit. Please email Mary Andrews in the controller's office to find out if you are eligible for a tax treaty benefit.

F-1 and J-1 students don't have to pay social security or Medicare (FICA) taxes for their first 5 years in the US. If these taxes are deducted from your paycheck, contact your employer's human resources or payroll department. After you have spent 5 years in the US in F-1 or J-1 status, you become a resident for tax purposes and have to pay FICA taxes. If you spend even 1 day in the US in F-1 or J-1 status during a particular year, that year counts toward the 5-year limit.

Special note for those who filed a 2014 tax return using form 1042-S

Emory Tax Office has been alerted to the fact that the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) is sending notices to individuals who filed a 2014 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ and had amounts reported on 2014 Form 1042-S. The notices state that “the information you supplied does not match the information we received” and to contact your withholding agent. If you received an IRS notice with the language above, please contact Susan Clark, Director of Tax at sclar38@emory.edu for information on how to respond to the IRS notice.

Filing your taxes

Every year, you have to file a tax return with the federal government and the Georgia state government. A tax return is a report to the government that shows how much you earned, how much you were taxed, and how much you should have been taxed during the previous year. If you also worked outside Georgia, you might need to file a return on other state or city taxes as well.

If more taxes were withheld from your paychecks than you owe, you will get a refund after you file your taxes. If not enough taxes were withheld, you will have to pay the difference.

If you earned any income in the US between January 1 and December 31 last year, you have to file a federal income tax return and a Georgia income tax return.


If you did not earn any income

You don't have to file a full tax return. However, if you were physically present in the US in F-1, F-2, J-1, or J-2 status any time between January 1 and December 31 last year, you still have to fill out form 8843—even if you were only here for 1 day.

This includes dependents, regardless of their age.

  1. Update your local address. Make sure it's correct in PeopleSoft and in OPUS (if you're a student). Emory will send your W-2 form to the address on file in mid-February, unless you request an online W-2. If you are exempt from some taxes because of a tax treaty benefit, or if you have a taxable scholarship, fellowship, stipend, or other financial assistance, you will also get a Form 1042S.

  2. Determine your tax residency status. There is a huge difference between filing as a nonresident alien versus filing as a resident alien, and filing incorrectly can cause problems and delays. Use the Foreign National Tax Resource (FNTR) to find out if you are a resident for tax purposes or a nonresident for tax purposes.

  3. If you aren't eligible for a social security number, apply for an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). Fill out form W-7 and send the form along with your tax return and the required documentation to the Austin IRS office.

If you earned any income in the US last year, you'll need to fill out form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ.

If you are in F or J status, you'll need to fill out form 8843, regardless of whether you earned any income last year.

  1. Gather these documents and info:
    1. Visa, immigration documents, and passport
    2. Social security number or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), if you have one
    3. Addresses (local US and permanent foreign address)
    4. US entry and exit dates for the past 2 years
    5. W-2
    6. Form 1042S, if you have a fellowship, stipend, or scholarship
    7. Form 1099, if applicable. If you had an US interest or dividend income, your financial institution will send you a 1099.
    8. Your income tax return from last year, if you filed one
  2. Once you have all your documents, set aside at least 30 minutes to fill out the forms. It's much easier to do it all at once than to stop and start again.
  3. If you are a nonresident for tax purposes, log in to FNTR to file your taxes. The software will guide you through the steps of filling out your forms.

If you earned any income in the US last year, you'll need to fill out Georgia form 500.

Form 500 has to be filled out before you can print it. Pages 1 - 4 and page 8 are required for nonresidents for tax purposes. Pages 5 – 7 don't apply to nonresidents for tax purposes. At a minimum, you'll need to fill in this info before you can print:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Social security number
  • Street address, city, state, zip code
  • Residency status
  • Filing status (for example, married filing jointly)

Atlanta Prosperity Campaign

If you earned less than $52,000 last year, you can get free income tax preparation help from the Atlanta Prosperity Campaign.


H&R Block

H&R Block tax advisors will help you prepare your tax returns for a fee. These offices cater to international students and scholars:


On-campus help sessions

Every spring, the controller's office offers 15-minute one-on-one help sessions for students and scholars who:

  • Are nonresidents for tax purposes;
  • Have filled out form 1040NR-EZ using FNTR; and
  • Have tried to fill out Georgia form 500, but haven't been successful.

Check back in March for the schedule and sign-up forms.