U.S. Tax Information

Are you looking for answers for your tax questions? Yes, you have found the right place.

Who needs to file a U.S. tax return?

If you were present in the U.S. with a F or J non-immigrant status (even 1 day), you are responsible for meeting regulations established by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). For more detailed information, please refer to Publication 519: U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens

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What documents do I need to file my tax return?

You should have all the following documents:

  • Visa/immigration Status Information
  • Current and all previous passports
  • Form I-20 (for F status individual) OR Form DS-2019 (for J status individual)
  • Current U.S. address and/or Foreign Permanent Address
  • U.S. Entry and Exit Dates for current and past visits to the U.S. (should be noted on your passport(s))
  • PLU contact:
    • Name of the Director of Academic Program in Which You Participate: Heather Jacobson
    • Program Director’s Telephone Number: 253-535-7264
    • Name of the Academic Institution or School that Sponsored your Current Immigration Status: Pacific Lutheran University, 12180 Park Avenue S., Tacoma, WA, 98447

If you are filing a U.S. tax return because of wages from an employer, you must have a Social Security Number which is issued by the Social Security Administration (you must have an active job at the time of application in order to qualify for one). If you are filing a U.S. tax return because of money earned from a U.S. source other than wages (such as interest), you must have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) which is issued by the IRS. To learn more about ITIN number, please click here

You may receive one or more of the following documents:

  • Form W-2: Wage and Tax Statement from PLU’s Payroll Office and/or your CPT/OPT employer if you received compensation for your work.
  • Form 1042-S: Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding from PLU’s Business Office if you have received scholarships in excess of tuition and mandatory fees charged to your student account.
  • Form 1099 series reporting various types of your income other than wages, salaries, and tips- a common case is your interest income report from your financial institution.

If you have questions about your Form W-2 from PLU, please refer your questions to the Payroll Office. If you have questions about your Form 1042-S from PLU, please refer your questions to the Business Office.

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U.S. Tax Image
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the United States federal government agency that collects taxes and enforces the internal revenue laws. It is an agency within the U.S. Department of the Treasury and is responsible for interpretation and application of Federal tax law.


Sprintax is used by over 100,000 international students and scholars each year for federal and state tax preparation. Pacific Lutheran University has arranged discounted access to Sprintax to guide you through the process, prepare the necessary documents and even check if you are due a refund. Just use the discount code 5PLU20F23 when you file with Sprintax.

Am I considered a Non-Resident Alien or Resident Alien for Tax Purposes?

Most of you are Non-Resident Aliens for Tax Purposes UNLESS you have been in F or J status during any part of more than 5 calendar years. Here is more information if you wish NOT to be treated as a Resident Alien for tax purposes.

This status is for tax purposes only. Please do NOT mix this with your immigration status. All international students are non-immigrant, non-resident aliens for immigration purposes.

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What tax form should I use?

Have W-2, 1042-S, or 1099 form(s) Have NO W-2, 1042-S, or 10992 form
Non-Resident Alien  Form 8843
Resident Alien None

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How should I file my tax return?

If you are considered a non-resident alien with NO W-2, 1042-S, or 1099 form(s), use Form 8843 and pay attention to the following:

  • Fill out the top part of the form, sign and date at the bottom.
  • Part III – Item 9: Pacific Lutheran University, 12180 Park Ave S, Tacoma, WA, 98447, 253-535-7264.
  • Part III – Item 10: Heather Jacobson, Pacific Lutheran University, 12180 Park Avenue S., Tacoma, WA, 98447 253-535-7264.
  • You should be able to answer the rest of the items on your own.

If you are considered a non-resident alien with W-2, 1042-S, or 1099 form(s), you need to use Form 8843 and 1040-NR. There are several online resources that can help you fill out these forms, including Glacier and Sprintax. They cost about $50.

If you are considered a resident alien with W-2, 1042-S, or 1099 form(s), you must file Form 1040. The Pierce County Library System provides free tax advising online or in person during tax season. Another free online service is TurboTax. Please do research and find a venue that best fits your need.

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All Form 1040 series are due on April 15th. If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the due date is delayed until the next business day. If you also need to submit Form 8843 along with Form 1040 series, it is due at the same time

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Where should I send my tax files to?

Electronic filing is encouraged for Form 1040 series. If you are sending Form 8843 only or with Form 1040 series, mail them to: Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service Center, Austin, TX  73301-0215

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I have questions about 1098-T Form!

Please visit the Financial Services website to find information about how to access your 1098-T tuition statement using Banner Self-Service.

I have additional questions!

If you have additional questions, please call the Internal Revenue Service at 1-800-829-1040. If you have a general question about your tax filing or regulations, you should be pressing 2, 2 and then 4. Please note that the wait time may be long. If you are a non-resident alien for tax purposes, please mention your status AND also mention that you may need to speak to the advanced tax law department.

More Resources

IRS webpage on Tax Issues for Foreign Students and Scholars.

U.S. Dep. of Homeland Security’s webpage on F-1 and M-1 Students: Obtaining a Social Security Number.

U.S. Social Security Administration’s webpage on Social Security Information for Non-Citizens.


Disclaimer: Please note that neither International Student Services nor other PLU offices have the resources, training or legal authority to provide direct advice with the completion of tax return for individual students. All information is provided for courtesy and should be used for reference purpose only.

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