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2019 Tax Filing Information (Tax Year 2018)

tax information for international students and scholars for the 2018 calendar tax year



Since staff at the OISS are not qualified to advise on taxes, we purchase a limited number of Windstar Tax program access codes each year to assist students in filing their taxes. We have limited resources to do this, so numbers are offered on a first come, first serve basis. In past years the number we have purchased has been sufficient, however this year due to a change in tax law, more students were required to file taxes this year. 

If you are NON RESIDENT who earned income in the U.S, (read carefully below) for Federal Tax purposes you can purchase an individual license through Sprintax, a tax program for non-residents:   You can use Sprintax to file both Federal and State taxes, however most likely you are considered a RESIDENT for Massachusetts STATE taxes and can use the free online state program, if you don't want to pay to use Sprintax for state taxes. Residents for state purposes typically include anyone living in Massachusetts for more than 183 days and are NOT living in a BC dorm.  Alternatively you may go to the IRS website directly and download and complete the forms (see additional Resources below for all of the links) 

If you did NOT earn money in the U.S. in 2018 and your a NON RESIDENT for tax purpoes, the 8843 is the only form you must complete by June 17, 2019, Please see OISS instructions for filling out and mailing the 8843 for help completing the form. You will NOT need access to a software  such as Windstar or Sprintax to complete this form.


ALL F and J international Students and Scholars and their dependents will need to file some type type of tax form, even if you did not earn income in the U.S. This page will provide you with instructions and resources for filing your taxes. Please be advised that the OISS staff are not tax experts and cannot answer specific questions regarding indiividual tax filing requirements. If you have any additional questions please consult the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), state tax agencies or a tax professional for guidance. See Additional Resources.

The steps outlined below will help you to determine if you are a resident or non-resident for U.S. Federal Tax purposes for the 2018 tax year, which forms to file and which software, if any, to use. You will file different forms and use different software programs based on your tax residency status, so it is VERY important to read the information carefully. It is important to note that your tax residency status is different from your immigration status, and in some cases, you may be a resident for tax purposes even though you are on an F or J non-immigrant visa. 

For a chart of the different tax forms, relevant dates and deadlines click here.  

IMPORTANT! The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will NEVER call you! There are many scams targeting people to steal money from you or your Social Security Number. For more information visit the BC security page and the IRS website for more information. 


Who is a NON-Resident for Federal Tax Purposes?

  • F-1 and J-1 STUDENTS (including those on F-1 OPT or J-1 Academic Training) are generally considered non-residents for tax purposes for the first five calendar years that you are present in the U.S.  
  • J RESEARCH SCHOLARS/PROFESSORS are generally consdered a non-resident for tax purposes for your first two calendar years in the U.S. 

If you are a NON-resident proceed to STEP 2

Who is a Resident for Fedearal Tax Purposes?

  • F-1 and J-1 Students typically become residents for federal tax purposes after being present in the U.S. for more than five calendar years.  
  • J-1 scholars typically become residents for tax purposes after being present in the U.S. for more than two calendar years out of the last six.

If you are a resident STOP here and visit Additional Resources. There are free online programs offered to residents such as Turbotax and H&R Block.

Examples for Counting Tax Years:
Student who begins study in the U.S. in September 2014:
Sep-Dec 2014 (year 1) 2015 (year 2) 2016 (year 3) 2017 (year 4) 2018 (year 5)= Non-resident.

Scholar who begins in November 2017: 
 November-Dec 2017 (year 1)  2018 (year 2)= Non- Resident.  

Still not sure? If you have worked at BC contact BC Human Resources Service Center at 617 552 4772, or visit the office on the Brighton Campus at 129 Lake St. They can use their software to determine if you are a resident or non-resdient. If you have NOT worked at BC please see the  Additional Resources section below for assistance.


STEP 2 Determine if you received U.S. sourced income:

What is income?

  • Any U.S. job, on-campus or off campus, including a teaching assistantship or a research assistantship. This information is located on a Form W-2* and the 1042-S form if you have a tax treaty. 
  • Scholarship or non-service stipend in 2018 above and beyond tuition remission (to cover living  expenses etc.). This is information is located on the 1042S form*
  • Fellowship grant from a U.S. source that exceeded the amount of your tuition and fees? This information is located on the 1042-S form*

Important income tax forms : 

* The W-2 Form is mailed to you at end of January if you worked in the U.S. Those who signed a tax treaty will only receive a W-2 if you earned more than the tax treaty allowance.  Otherwise you will only receive a 1042S form. 

* 1042S Form is issued to you in mid-March if you worked on campus AND it was covered under a tax treaty between your home country and the U.S and for those students receiving a non-service stipend or an athlectic scholarship above and beyond tuition.  The 1042 will be mailed to you if you live off campus. Students living on campus should recieve an email to pick up forms at 129 Lake St. on Brighton Campus. 

If you have any questions about the information on your W-2 or 1042-S form or if you have not received these forms by the date indicated, please contact BC Human Resources Service Center at 617 552 4772, email or visit the HRSC at 129 Lake St. on the Brighton Campus.  If you have worked off-campus you should contact your specific employer.

For a chart of the different tax forms, relevant dates and deadlines click here.  

If you did NOT earn money in the U.S. go to STEP 3.

If you did earn money in the U.S. go to STEP 4


STEP 3: Based on the information above,  I am a Non-resident who did NOT earn U.S. sourced income. I will need to  COMPLETE FORM 8843 by June 17th , EVEN IF YOU DID NOT EARN INCOME IN THE U.S. 

If you did NOT earn money in the U.S. in 2018, the 8843 is the only form you must complete by June 17, 2019, Please see OISS instructions for filling out and mailing the 8843 for help completing the form. You will NOT need access to Windstar Tax Preparation software to complete this form.


STEP 4:  BASED ON THE INFORMATION ABOVE, I am a NON-Resident for tax purposes and earned U.S. Sourced income. I WILL NEED TO COMPLETE THE 1040NR-EZ OR 1040NR and 8843 AS A NON-RESIDENT (and possibly State tax forms) by BY APRIL 15, 2019.

If you meet the above criteria above you will be eligible to use the Windstar Tax Preparation Program to help prepare your forms to file your federal and Massachusetts State taxes.  We are only able to offer the Windstar service to a limited number of people on a first come first serve basis. Because numbers are very limited, please DO NOT register for Windstar unless you have read through the steps outlined above and meet the criteria. Once you claim a access code we cannot give the number to anyone else even if you do not use it. 


To register to use the software please click here.  



U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS): You can call the IRS free national help line at (800) 829-1040. You can also visit their web site at .

IRS VITA Program (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance): There are locations near BC in Brighton and Allston which provide free tax help to those making less than $55,000.  There are some locations which offer help in a few other languages such as Spanish and Chinese. If you are considered a non-resident for tax purposes, please call ahead to ensure that there is someone available who can help you with non-resident taxes. To find a location and more information visit the IRS VITA locator page.

U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Boston Office: The IRS office in Boston has appointments available Monday through Friday, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. The Boston Office is located on the 7th floor of the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Federal Building in Government Center, 15 New Sudbury St. Boston MA.  Appointments can be made calling (844) 545 5640. It is recommended that you use all online resources, the IRS help line listed below AND the IRS VITA program before making an appointment with the Boston Office.

Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR): You can telephone the DOR statewide help line at (800) 392-6089 or call the Boston office at 617 887 6367. You can also visit their Web site at

Note: If you decide to contact your own tax accountant or attorney or a tax provider such as H&R Block, make sure that they specialize specifically in taxes for non-residents if you are a non-resident. 

Additional Resources for Residents not eligible to use the Windstar Program: In additional to the resources listed above, there are many free online programs available for those students and scholars who are considered residents for tax purposes such as Turbo Tax, H&R Block and many more. They will generally be free if you manually enter the information on your W-2 form and file your state taxes separately. They will likely charge for the State Return, so if you do not want to pay, Massachusetts has a fee  e-filing system.


IRS Foreign Student and Scholar Resource Guide: This IRS guide for International Students and Scholars. 

U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens

U.S. Tax Treaties

Witholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens