April 17 Is Tax Filing Day for Everyone, Including J-1 Visa Holders


There is no getting around it! Exchange visitors earning an income in the United States are required to file their income taxes. J-1 visa holders will pay approximately twenty-five percent of their income in taxes—but should be sure to check out the specifics of the state they’re living in, as tax laws can vary.

Although J-1 exchange visitors are required to pay income taxes, they are exempt from paying Social Security and Medicare taxes (FICA) and Federal Unemployment tax (FUTA) because their time in the United States is limited and they cannot collect benefits from the U.S. government.

Dependents of J-1 visa holders—known as J-2’s—are permitted to work in the United States. If the dependents of J-1 visa holders received an authorization to work in the United States, their wages are subject to taxes.

Making an error or failing to file tax forms altogether may have an adverse effect on applying for another visa category in the future. Both J-1 and J-2 visa holders should seek advice from a tax expert for filing taxes. Maintaining your J-1 visa status requires exchange visitors to comply with federal and local taxes. Do not risk your visa status by failing to comply with tax requirements.

When and Where to File

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a wealth of information to assist exchange visitors with filing their taxes. All exchange visitors must file taxes using form 8843 and either the 1040NR-EZ or 1040NR to file their federal taxes. The IRS also lists a few companies and free software that offer free income tax filing. These companies also charge minimal fees for state filings.

How to Find Free Help

Utilize the IRS website because it provides several options to file Federal taxes for free. Be cautious when selecting a company because a few may charge a minimal fee for filing state and local taxes.

Where to Find a Professional Tax Preparer

Tax preparation can be complex. However, exchange visitors can seek the help of a professional tax preparer. The IRS can also help with this—check out their list of certified preparers.

The last day to file your taxes is April 17. The American Immigration is not a licensed tax advisor, so we are unable to provide tax advice; but the Council highly recommend you visit IRS website for assistance.


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