Income Tax & Social Security


U.S. Social Security Number

Social Security Numbers (SSN) serve as national indentification (ID) numbers for people in the United States. These ID numbers are used by the U.S. government as well as by banks, credit card companies, employers, hospitals, etc. to identify and track individuals. Each SSN is a unique, 9-digit number assigned to one individual for life. U.S. citizens usually apply for a SSN before age one. Non-citizens who have authorization to work in the U.S. may apply for a Social Security Number only after being legally hired to a job in the U.S.

International students on F or M visas may accept part-time on-campus employment. To secure a work/study position on campus, follow the procedure online at WORKSTUDY. You will apply for a job online, submit a resume about yourself, and complete an interview with your prospective employer. The International Office staff will help you to get a campus job.

After you accept a work/study position, the International Office staff will assist you to apply for a SSN. You must complete the application, compile several required supporting documents, and submit them to the local Social Security (SS) office. No fee is required. If there is no problem, you should receive your SS card (with SSN) by mail in 2-4 weeks. Before you receive the card, you may work, but your employer is not allowed to pay you. Once you receive your SSN, you will receive any "backpay" you have earned.

A portion (currently 7.65%) of the earnings of most U.S. citizens is "withheld" for Social Security. Money withheld for the SS tax is kept by the government until the worker retires. The SS tax should NOT be withheld from International students' earnings.

If you are ineligible to be assigned a SSN because you are not employed in the U.S., you should apply for an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN). You will need an ITIN to file a U.S. Income Tax Return, to file Form 8843, to open a U.S. bank account, etc. To apply for an ITIN, visit the International Office on the 3rd floor of Marshall Hall.

U.S. Income Tax

International students and scholars who earn wages or receive scholarship(s) while in the U.S. are generally required to file a federal income tax return each year. ALL international students and scholars are required to file Form 8843 as a part of, or in lieu of, a tax return. Tax returns are due by April 15 for the previous calendar year.

Each year in January or February you will receive a Form W-2 for each job you held during the previous year. A Form W-2 itemizes how much money was earned and how much was withheld for U.S. taxes. Keep all Forms W-2 you receive to be used to file your income tax return. Similarly, the ETBU Business Office provides a Worksheet 1042-S for each student who receives financial aid during the previous calendar year. This worksheet is also used in filing your income tax return.

In March of each year, the ETBU International Office hosts a free Tax Workshop on campus for international students and scholars. At the workshop students are provided the forms and instructions needed to complete the annual income tax return. Be sure to bring all W-2 Forms and 1042-S Worksheets as well as your passport and From I-20 or DS-2019. At the Tax Workshop you will determine how much, if any, taxes you owe for the year. If more money has been withheld than you owe, you will file to have the excess money returned to you.