Tax time for J-1s

It is that time of year again where we start preparing our tax returns. Like regular American workers, J-1 visa holders must file a tax return.  This year, the filing deadline for all returns, including non-resident alien returns is April 17, 2012. While preparing a non-resident return should be fairly straightforward, many J-1 visa holders seek professional help from a tax preparer.

What taxes are J-1 visa holders subject to?

  • Federal income tax
  • State income tax (and local taxes where applicable)

Non-resident J1 visa holders are generally exempt from paying FUTA and FICA taxes. Details on FUTA exemption can be found in 2010 IRS Publication 15, page 36 (section “students, scholars, trainees, teachers”). Details on FICA exemption can be found in IRS Publication 519 (Chapter 1 “Exempt Individual” and chapter 8 “Paying Tax through Withholding or Estimated Tax”, section “Social Security and Medicare Taxes”; “Students and Exchange Visitors”).


4 Responses to “Tax time for J-1s

  • Thibault L
    6 years ago


    I’m a French student in the United Kingdom.

    Between July 5th and November 31st, I was in the US for a paid internship in California. I tried to get this information during my stay, but basically, I have no idea whether or not to pay taxes or not.
    All I know is that I’ve received a 1099-MISC form to ‘keep for my records’ from the company I worked at.

    I’m not really sure what to do here… Is there anyway to get some help with that matter? Am I supposed to pay anything, or is everything good and I can move on?

    Thanks in advance!

  • Jujube
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario !

    Thank you so much for this website !

    I am a French citizen. A month ago, I came to the USA on a J-1 Research scholar visa.

    I work in a cultural organization in Massachusetts, and I was told that more than 15 % percent of my paycheck will be withheld as federal (10.5 %) and state (4.1 %) taxes. So my net paycheck will be around 85 % of my gross paycheck, minus health care.

    Because of the tax convention between the USA and France, I expected a smaller percentage to be withheld from my paycheck. But US tax legislation is a real maze and I can’t figure out whether I will be paying more taxes than I should. What do you think ?

    Thank you so much !