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Students and Scholars

We know tax filing can be complicated, and OISS and other units on campus are here to help! Filing federal income tax forms is the personal responsibility of each international student and scholar. Each student/scholar is ultimately responsible for the accuracy of his/her income tax returns and any resulting penalties or interest.

Do I need to file taxes?

Have you earned any income (even a small amount!) in the US during the calendar year 2016? Examples include: Wages for on-campus or off-campus employment, interest/dividends on US investments, independent contractor income, scholarship income, free housing and other non-wage contributions, etc.

NO, I have not: You don’t need to file tax forms.

YES, I have: The US government requires you to file income tax return forms no later than April 15, 2017.

How should I file taxes?

Step 1: Determine status.

How you file your taxes depends heavily on whether you are considered a NON-RESIDENT tax filer or a RESIDENT tax filer. And yes – even if you are on an F-1 or J-1 visa, you might be considered a RESIDENT tax filer!

To figure out whether you should file your taxes as a NON-RESIDENT or RESIDENT, see MSU College of Law Worksheet-Status (PDF)* and complete the Substantial Presence Worksheet.

Questions or concerns about the Substantial Presence Worksheet should be directed to the MSU College of Law Tax Clinic:

Step 2: Receive the income statements from employer(s)

You will soon receive (or may have already received) W-2 income statements, 1099 statements, and or 1042-S statements from your employer(s) to use during the tax filing process.

Step 3: Fill out the forms with professional help

What forms do I need to complete? How do I fill the forms correctly? Where should I send the forms? Take advantage of the FREE professional tax filing support for international students and scholars on campus. Please go to the sections below based on your tax filing residency status to determine where to go for support. Every year, many international students and scholars receive tax filing help from these resources!

Step 4: Keep copies of all the documents and send the original forms out!

Before sending out all the forms and files, don’t forget to keep copies of all the tax filing documents for your own records.

NON-RESIDENT Tax Filing Support

The MSU College of Law Tax Clinic will hold interactive seminars for International Students and Scholars filing taxes as NON-RESIDENTS to assist you in preparing your federal and Michigan income tax returns using GLACIER, a web-based tax return preparation system. At the end of the instructional course, participants will have prepared their own returns and they will be ready for filing.

WHEN to register?

You must register ONLINE on or after FEBRUARY 1st.

HOW to register?

To register, visit the MSU College of Law Tax Clinic website at You will choose a session and obtain a list of documents required to complete your 2016 tax filings. Only online registered attendees will be allowed to enter the seminar rooms.

WHAT to bring for the seminar?

YOU MUST BRING A LAPTOP in order to attend a tax seminar. Attendees without a laptop will not be allowed to enter seminar rooms. Please note that tablets and smart phones are insufficient.

RESIDENT Tax Filing Support

RESIDENT Tax Filing Support

The MSU Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program at MSU offers free tax preparation to international students and scholars who must file taxes as RESIDENTS.

Learn more about MSU VITA and schedule an appointment on the MSU VITA website.

Have Other Specific Questions?

If you have more specific questions on certain topics, tax walk-in advising is available only for specific questions (not for one-on-one help with the tax filing process). Check our OISS Events Calendar for tax walk-in advising hours.

MSU Employees

*Adobe Acrobat Reader Opens in new window is required to read PDF documents.