Under the U.S. tax system, employers are required to withhold from an employee's wages or compensation certain kinds of taxes at graduated rates. These taxes may later be refunded in entirety or in part when the employee files his or her annual tax return (or, if an insufficient amount of taxes were withheld, the employee may be required to pay additional taxes).
F-1 and J-1 students who are non-residents for tax purposes are subject to withholding at the same rates as resident aliens and tax citizens, unless the income is excluded from taxation or otherwise exempt in accordance with a tax treaty.
The following information is intended to assist F-1 and J-1 students who are non-resident aliens for tax purposes in completing withholding forms. These forms are completed and submitted to your employer at the time of hire and should be updated each year.
You are a non-resident for tax purposes if you are currently in F-1 or J-1 status and have been in the U.S. in any F or J status for less than five years. Count any year as one year if you were in the U.S. in F or J status (F-1, F-2, J-1, or J-2), even if for only one day. For example, if you were in the U.S. in 2021 for 1 day as an F-2 dependent, that counts as one year.