Filing Taxes

All international students and scholars present in the U.S. must file a Form 8843 each year, regardless of whether you were employed in the U.S. or not. You can refer to this Form 8843 Online Wizard for additional assistance with filing form 8843. If you worked or received a stipend, grant or allowance in the UC you may also need to file a Form 1040NR.

ISSS advisors are not tax experts and are legally prohibited from giving you tax advice. It is your responsibility to determine how to file your taxes and/or find a tax preparation service.

To help you navigate this task, we have prepared the following list of information, sites, and resources:

Tax Filing Deadline

  • May 17, 2021

Tax Filing Assistance

UC Santa Cruz has arranged access to Glacier Tax Prep to assist students with federal tax filing 

If you have questions about how to navigate GLACIER, please contact Lana Ballow in Financial Affairs at Please limit questions to Glacier only, as UCSC is unable to offer tax advice.  
Glacier Tax Prep (GTP) is an online system; however, it does not file tax returns electronically (the IRS does not currently allow Forms 1040NR-EZ to be filed electronically.) Individuals must print, sign, and mail the tax returns/forms generated by GTP.
Therefore, they must have access to a printer, preferably at the time the data is entered.

You must file a US state tax return if you:

  • Worked in the US
  • Got a stipend, grant or allowance in 2020
  • Expect a state/local tax refund
  • The average state refund (for those eligible) last year was over $436.


This webinar through Sprintax will provide an overview of the core principles of US nonresident tax for international students and scholars. Topics covered will include who must file a US tax return, residency for tax purposes, FICA, amended returns, implications of misfiling, the stimulus check and much more.

·         Tuesday, April 20th, 2pm EDT – Register here

·         Wednesday, April 28th, 1.30pm EDT – Register here

·         Thursday, May 6th, 12pm EDT – Register here

·         Tuesday, May 11th, 2pm EDT – Register here

·         Friday, May 14th, 12pm EDT – Register here

Federal Taxes for International Students & Scholars


Graduate Student Association (GSA) Tax Workshop

Every year, the GSA sponsors a tax workshop where graduate students can get assistance with filing their US taxes.

This seminar will feature a 30-40 minute presentation by a tax professional followed by a tax workshop in which tax professionals will go over your tax forms with you and give you personalized advice. Bring your tax forms (1098-T, W-2, 1042-S, 1099-Misc, if you have them), and don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

  • Tuesday, April 6, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. (Zoom link)

While the Tax Seminar is open to all UCSC graduate students, you can help us anticipate the number of people who are going to attend by pre-registering for the event.

Tax Resources

Additional information

Helpful Tax Sites & Resources

Beware of Tax Scams

Tax Preparation Software

  • GLACIER is a company that assists international students with federal tax filing. UCSC has a license with GLACIER. If you have questions about how to navigate GLACIER, please contact Lana Ballow at Do not contact them with tax questions, as they are legally prohibited from giving tax advice.
  • Sprintax is a company that assists international students with both federal and state tax filing. We have arranged for a $3 discount to use their software for your state tax filing. You can get this discount by going through our referral link and using the code "SpR20UCSC251S3".

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

California State Franchise Tax Board

UC Santa Cruz

Other Resources

Basic Tax Vocabulary

Adapted from the IRS Understanding Taxes Glossary

  • IRS: Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. federal agency responsible for tax collection
  • Alien: Any person who is not a U.S. citizen
  • Non-Resident Alien for Tax Purposes: Generally, aliens that do not meet the "substantial presence test"
  • Resident Alien for Tax Purposes: Generally, aliens who meet one of the two criteria in the "substantial presence test"
  • Substantial Presence Test: Defined in detail here by the IRS.
  • Compensation/Earnings: Wages, salaries, tips, etc.
  • Income: Wages, salaries, tips, commissions, interest, dividends, some scholarship/fellowship grants
  • Exemptions: Amount taxpayers can claim for themselves, their spouses, and eligible dependents. There are two types of exemptions-personal and dependency. Each exemption reduces the income subject to tax.
  • Refund: Money owed to taxpayers when their total tax payments are greater than the total tax. Refunds are received from the government.
  • Income Tax Return: Statement filed (submitted) by an individual taxpayer to IRS
  • U.S. Federal Income Tax: Income tax imposed by the U.S. federal government
  • California Income Tax: Income tax imposed by California state government
  • Social Security & Medicare Taxes: Social Security (FICA) and Medicare are U.S. government programs that provide benefits to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, generally for retirement. The programs are financed through paychecks of working individuals. Students that are classified as Non-Resident for tax purposes are not required to pay into Social Security or Medicare. Those in J-2 status may be required to pay into Social Security, as are students who have become classified as Resident for tax purposes.