Nonresident Alien Tax

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that SJSU comply with specific federal tax withholding and reporting regulations when making payments to nonresident aliens.

For tax purposes, non-U.S. citizens may be classified as either resident aliens or nonresident aliens. Resident aliens are taxed in the same manner as U.S. citizens.

However, the IRS requires that the California State University apply somewhat different tax rules when making payments to nonresident aliens. These rules apply to payments made directly to the nonresident alien, as well as payments made by SJSU to a 3rd party on the behalf of a nonresident alien.

In order to comply with these rules, SJSU is required to identify all nonresident aliens who receive payments from us. Payments affected by these IRS rules include, but are not limited to:

  • Compensation
  • Consulting fees
  • Fellowships
  • Honoraria
  • Scholarships
  • Stipends
  • Travel expense reimbursements
  • Wages
  • Other expenses

What International Students and Scholars Should Know

It has long been a misconception by international students and visiting
scholars that, because of their temporary status, they have no tax liability or
reporting responsibilities in the United States. But, in fact, all
individuals receiving income of any sort are subject to U.S. tax law.

Furthermore, all international students & scholars, in a F, J, M, or Q immigration status, who are classified as a federal nonresident alien taxpayer, must file tax return(s) every year, whether or not they were employed or received taxable payments in the United States during the reporting year.

  • Individuals who were not employed or did not receive U.S. taxable income during the reporting year will file IRS Form 8843.
  • Individuals who either received compensation subject to wage
    withholding or income subject to U.S. taxation will file the IRS Form 8843 and IRS Form 1040-NR.

If you intend to seek professional assistance, be careful that you choose someone who is an expert in nonresident alien tax law.  If you
want to prepare your own tax returns, we strongly recommend that you
review the following resources from the IRS:

For NRAT inquiries, please send an email to