Tax Regulation & Social Security Numbers

Income Tax

It is the responsibility of each individual employed in the U.S. to comply with income tax regulations. Salaries and wages in payment for work performed by non-citizens and some scholarships and grants awarded to J-1 students come under the tax laws of the U.S. Between January 1 and April 15 of each year, everyone who has earned income and J-1 students who have been the recipients during the previous calendar year of a scholarship or grant from a United States source of funds are required to prepare an income tax report and file it with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Forms are usually available at most banks or at the post office. Detailed instructions accompany these forms. An income tax return is required whether or not income tax has been withheld. If too much tax has been withheld, a refund will be granted. Because of the complexity of income tax laws, it is advisable to have questions answered by the IRS or by a reliable tax consultant.

Earnings from J-1 employment, including income from assistantships, are usually subject to federal, state, and local income taxes.


Employment Matters regarding Taxation and Change of Status

An employer must know the employee's immigration status (F-1, J-1, H-1B, permanent resident, etc.) for taxation purposes. If the employer does not have the correct immigration status, it will not be able to withhold the correct amount of income tax and social security tax. If the proper amount of taxes is not withheld, the employee will eventually be subject to a retroactive bill for back taxes. In some case,s that might be a sizable amount. It is the responsibility of a student who is employed during his/her exchange to inform the employer of of her/his immigration status when the employment begins.

Social Security Number

Individuals who are authorized to be employed in the U.S. must have a social security number in order to be paid. An application and supporting documents as well as evidence of an employment offer must be submitted to a Social Security Administration Office. J-1 exchange students must obtain a letter from the Exchange Student Advisors for the Social Security Number application.