We are all subject to taxation in the U.S.  Even as an international student and scholar in the U.S., you are subject to taxes.  In some cases your tax obligation matches that of everyone in the U.S., and in some cases, you will have different rules. 

F-1 students and J-1 students and scholars will receive email instructions on calculating residency and other details as soon as information is available.  You may find the information below as a starting point while you wait.

Taxes for International Students

Tax Residency

If you are an international student in F-1 or J-1 status, you must first determine if you are a resident or non-resident for federal tax purposes.  F-1 and J-1 students are exempt from counting days of presence for the Substantial Presence Test (SPT) if in the U.S. for any part of 5 calendar years.   

J-1 scholars and trainees are exempt from counting days of presence for the SPT if in the U.S. for any part of 2 of the preceding 6 years (you must include any time spent in exempt status as a student).

IRS Electronic Toolkit for Non-resident Alien VITA/ICE Site

IRS U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens

Are you an Exempt Individual?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has information on the IRS website to help you determine if you are exempt. The IRS also provides a Decision Tree to help you determine if you are exempt. Another version of this Decision Tree can be found by clicking here.

Tax Software

Non-Residents for Tax Purposes: Each year, DISSA purchases tax software for those who are classified as “non-resident for tax purposes” and will send you an email when we are ready to distribute the passwords to use the software.

Residents for Tax Purposes: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has many options for free file tax software.

Volunteer Assistant Programs at University Park campus

Residents for Tax Purposes: The Volunteer Income Tax Assistant Program (VITA, an IRS-sponsored volunteer program) and managed at University Park through Penn State Cooperative Extension (College of Agricultural Sciences), Penn State School of Law, and Smeal College of Business.

Information for Residents for Tax Purposes

This is the text that would start the page off if you have determined that you are a resident for tax purposes, the following may help you.  Please note, you will be taxed on your worldwide income.

  • If you are a resident for tax purposes, you should complete the same forms as those completed by U.S. citizens
  • If it is determined you are a resident for tax purposes and you had income in 2016, you must complete the 1040 or 1040EZ AND the local tax form
  • IRS provides free tax software if your income is less than $60,000.

Income Tax Forms

Federal Forms for Non-Residents for Tax Purposes


Federal Forms for Residents for Tax Purposes


Pennsylvania State Tax Forms for All




State College Borough Tax

Centre Tax Agency collects for the local municipalities in and around State College. They are listed on the form.
Non-residents with proof of the I-20 or DS-2019, passport, and I-94 pay a reduced rate (see the tax rate on page 2 of the tax form).

Centre Tax Agency (CTA) - Individual Earned Income & Net Profits Tax (EIT) Return