International Student and Scholar Services

Income Tax Filing Compliance

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

—Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), American statesman

This information is presented for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified tax professional. The staff of Oberlin College cannot prepare your tax return for you or answer specific questions about your tax status or obligations. We encourage you to contact an expert tax preparer if you have particular questions about your tax-filing responsibility. Local tax professionals can be found in the phone book or by using online search tools.

Tax documents often refer to F-1 and J-1 international students and scholars as “non-resident aliens,” and we use that term below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to file taxes?

Yes. All non-resident aliens must file one or more tax forms every year they are present in the United States regardless of whether or not they have any income.

Which tax forms do I need to file?

All non-resident aliens need to file form 8843, which is available through Sprintax (see below).

All non-resident aliens who earned U.S. source income in the previous calendar year (January 1 to December 31) need to file one or more of the following forms:

  • Federal 1040NR (available through Sprintax or IRS website);
  • Ohio IT 1040 (available through Sprintax or Ohio tax website);
  • Ohio SD 100 (available through Ohio tax website); and
  • Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA) form 37 (exemption) (available through RITA website).

The forms 1040NR and IT 1040 are for non-resident aliens who earned income in the previous calendar year. The Internal Revenue Service provides information for non-residents . If you earned income in a different state in the previous calendar year, be certain to check the filing requirements for that state as you may be required to file for both Ohio and that other state. Every individual state in the US has its own rules regarding tax filing.

Even if your employer deducted taxes from your paycheck, you generally are still required to file an income tax return. You may owe additional taxes or be eligible for a refund.

When is my tax return due?

Tax forms must be postmarked (that means accepted by a post office) around April 15 every year. The specific date for this year's filing deadline is April 15, 2024. However, we do not recommend waiting until the last possible day to file. You should file as early as possible once you've received all necessary income documents so you have plenty of time to research any questions you may discover while preparing your return.

What documents do I need to file my taxes?

You will need some or all of the documents noted below pertaining to your visa and your legal status in the United States. The visa-related documents include your passport and your I-20 or DS-2019. The other documents may include your W-2 (available via OberView), 1042-S (if you have a 1042-S, Human Resources should email you via Sprintax Calculus with access instructions), 1099 (for some miscellaneous payments), your social security number, your most recent I-94 (available at, and last year’s federal income tax return (if you filed a tax return during the previous year). In the event that you worked as an independent contractor for Oberlin or a separate employer (e.g., paid employment as a church organist, note taker), you might receive a form 1099 or 1042-S for that work as well.

If you earned taxable U.S. income in the previous year, you should receive documents between January and March that report the amount and type of income you earned. Documents you may receive include form W-2, 1042-S, and 1099. These documents often arrive in an envelope marked "important tax document." Save them! You should make sure you have all applicable documents before filing your tax return.

Oberlin College forms W-2 and 1042-S are generally available by January 31. If you are a student employee, look for your W-2 form on OberView. If you have taxable scholarship income, your 1042-S should be available via Sprintax Calculus. If you have a 1099 for contract work, the employer should mail that document you to. The 1042-S is used to report certain types of income including taxable scholarship income. Not all scholarship income is taxable; only scholarship income above the cost of tuition that covers charges such as room and board is taxed by the US government. For questions about your W-2, contact payroll, For questions about your 1042-S, contact Ann Stricklen, For questions about a 1099, contact the Office of the Controller 440-775-8428. For questions regarding forms issued by entities other than Oberlin College, you will need to contact those entities directly.

How do I file my taxes?

In previous years, students have found it quite helpful to use Sprintax to complete their federal and state returns. This web-based application allows you to enter the necessary information, print and sign completed forms, and submit them via US mail by the deadline. This software is provided to you by Oberlin for your convenience. You are not required to use it if you do not wish to do so. You are free to file your taxes by yourself or hire a professional for assistance.

You should note that Sprintax is only capable of filing the 8843, 1040-NR, and Ohio IT 1040 forms. If you are required to file other forms such as the Ohio SD-100 or RITA form 37 or exemption you would still need to do those on your own after using Sprintax.

We have been advised that non-residents are exempt from filing the RITA form 37 by the Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA). Still, we recommend that you file a RITA form 37 exemption in order to avoid receiving a tax notice from RITA. That form can be downloaded from the links at the bottom of the page.

What is Sprintax?

Sprintax is a web-based tax return preparation system designed exclusively for foreign students and scholars to aid their preparation of U.S. federal and state income tax forms, and the recommended option for students at Oberlin College filing state taxes. Please note that "Sprintax Tax Prep," the software that assists you in filing a tax return with federal and state governments, is not the same as "Sprintax Calculus" which is the software Human Resources uses to help determine your tax status, withhold appropriate taxes, and generate the 1042-S for students with taxable scholarship income.

What if I need help?
  • For questions about Sprintax: use the chat system, call 1.866.601.5695, or email
  • For questions about the 1040 NR: call the Internal Revenue Service at 1.800.829.1040.
  • For questions about form IT 1040 or SD 100: call the Ohio Department of Taxation at 1.800.282.1780 or complete the online form .
  • For questions regarding the RITA form 37: call RITA at 1-800-860-7482.
  • For general help understanding the questions and instructions provided by the software, attend a workshop hosted by Sprintax or ISSS. Check your email for information on workshop dates this semester.
What if I want someone to prepare my taxes for me?

You can find trained tax preparers by searching “tax preparation” in online directories, or seek professional assistance from local tax accountants. Be certain to inquire whether the accountant has experience with F-1 or J-1 non-immigrants. As noted above: tax preparation is a specialized skill, the International Student and Scholar Services cannot do your taxes for you, answer individual tax questions, or tell you whether you’ve done it “right.”

What if someone from the IRS reaches me by phone to ask for payment immediately?

Tax scams often target international students and scholars. If you get a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS using threatening language and demanding immediate payment, it’s almost certainly a scam . Report suspicious phone calls to Campus Safety (440-775-8444) and ISSS. If there are any issues with a previous year's tax filing, the IRS or another tax agency will typically communicate with you via certified US mail.

For more information visit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) page with Tax Information For Foreign Students and Scholars.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Foreign Students and Scholars


Sprintax  is a federal and state tax preparation software for non-residents. The software allows you to file your 8843 and federal documents at no charge to you as long as you use the code sent to you by the ISRC. There is a fee to use the software for your Ohio state IT 1040 form. The software does not assist with the Ohio SD 100 form or RITA form 37 exemption. To receive your free filing, use the code available in the e-mail sent to you. The software guides you through the completion and submission of the forms.


Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA) form 37 exemption : Non-residents do not file a RITA tax return, but we recommend that you complete a form 37 exemption to avoid receiving a tax notice. Circle #1 "I had NO TAXABLE INCOME for the entire year" and in your mailing include photocopies of: your passport, your visa, and your 1040NR or 8843.

If you had no U.S. source income in the past calendar year (i.e., January through December), and you would prefer to complete the form without the assistance of Sprintax, you may file the form 8843 by yourself. The form title indicates, “Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals With a Medical Condition ”: this form is appropriate for you since you are regarded as an “exempt individual.”

You do not need a medical condition to use this form.

If you would like to complete the federal or state returns without assistance from Sprintax, you can find the forms below:

Follow the instructions, photocopy all forms for your records, and mail the original forms by the deadlines to the appropriate addresses.