Do foreign students need to file a United States Income Tax return?

You only need to file if you have income that is subject to tax, such as wages, tips, scholarships that exceed tuition and required fees, dividends, etc. The tax return you must file is Form 1040NR, the Federal Tax Return for Nonresidents. If you have any earned income, your tax return is due by April 15; otherwise the filing deadline is June 15. If you owe more tax than was withheld, you must pay it by the appropriate date. If more tax than you owe has...

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How does Harvard calculate the amount of my award that may be taxable?

The taxable portion of your scholarship award is calculated as follows:
Total of all scholarships from Harvard University
Less: Required tuition and fees charged to your student bill  
Equals: Taxable portion of your award
Since it is impossible for the University to determine what each student pays for books, fees, supplies and equipment required for courses of instruction, only the amount of tuition and fees charged to your student account will be included in this calculation.

What portion of my scholarship award may be considered taxable?

U.S. tax law divides scholarships received into two parts. Scholarship that is used for tuition is not taxable, but scholarship that is used for living expenses is taxable. Expenses that are considered tuition include all tuition and fees required for enrollment, books, fees, supplies, and equipment for courses of instruction. Additional amounts, such as amounts provided for room and board or for travel expenses, are taxable.

Will My Scholarship be Taxed?

If you are a U.S. citizen or a resident alien, Harvard will not withhold taxes on your scholarship or monthly graduate stipend. Part of your scholarship may be considered taxable income, however (please see below). Permanent residents are treated like U.S. citizens for tax purposes.

If you meet the tests for residency (see Internal Revenue Service Publication 519), please notify the Student Accounts Office of your status change.

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What information is reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)?

If you are a foreign student and your award is in excess of your tuition and required fees, then Harvard is required to report the amount of the excess and any withholding you were charged to the IRS on Form 1042-S. Harvard must make this report even if you have no withholdings and no tax liability because of a tax treaty.

What is a Form 1042-S?

Form 1042-S is issued to foreign students who have received scholarships that exceed tuition and mandatory fees. Form 1042-S is a report of tax withheld and is mailed in mid-March.

Graduate students who have questions about the information on this form can contact University Tax Services at (617) 495-8500 (option 5). Undergraduates with questions on the 1042-S can contact Student Accounts.

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