- Tax Returns for Foreign Students and Scholars

Form 843

Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement

Social Security and Medicare Tax Liability

Generally, services performed by you as a nonresident alien who are temporarily present in the U.S. in F-1, J-1, M-1, or Q-1 status as a nonimmigrant student, scholar, teacher, researcher, and trainee (including medical interns) are not covered under the social security program if the services are performed to carry out the purpose for which you were admitted to the United States. This means that there will be no withholding of Social Security or Medicare taxes from the pay you receive for these services. These types of services are very limited, and generally include only on-campus work, practical training, and economic hardship employment.

Federal tax regulations state that spouses and dependents of alien students, scholars, trainees, teachers, or researchers, temporarily in the U.S. in F-2, J-2, M-2, and Q-3 status, are not exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes on any wages they earn in the U.S. That is because they did not enter the U.S. for the primary purpose of engaging in study, training, teaching, or research.

Refund of Taxes Withheld in Error

If Social Security or Medicare taxes were withheld in error from pay that is not subject to these taxes, contact the employer who withheld the taxes for a refund. If you are unable to get a full refund of the amount from your employer, file a claim for refund with the Internal Revenue Service on Form 843. Attach the following items to Form 843

  • A copy of your Form W-2 to prove the amount of social security and Medicare taxes withheld.
  • A copy of your visa.
  • Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record).
  • If you have an F-1 visa, Form I-20.
  • If you have a J-1 visa, Form DS-2019.
  • If you are engaged in optional practical training, Form I-766 or Form I-688B.
  • A statement from your employer indicating the amount of the reimbursement your employer provided and the amount of the credit or refund your employer claimed or you authorized your employer to claim. If you cannot obtain this statement from your employer, you must provide this information on your own statement and explain why you are not attaching a statement from your employer or on Form 8316 claiming your employer will not issue the refund.
  • If you are an F, J, or M visa holder you also need to complete Form 8316.

You do not need to file Form 843 or Form 8316 if your employer agrees to refund these taxes.

Where To File

File Form 843 (with attachments) with the IRS office where your employer’s returns were filed. If you do not know where your employer’s returns were filed, file Form 843 with the

Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service Center
Austin, TX 73301-0215, USA

File Form 843

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