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Income Tax Regulations

All F-1 and J-1 visa holders are required to file a statement with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) each year, regardless of whether or not income was earned in the U.S.

Even though you may not owe any taxes to the U.S. government, you are required to prepare a statement and complete various forms.  April 15 is the deadline for preparing your tax forms each year, reporting any income earned and scholarship during the preceding calendar year.

U.S. payroll taxes work as follows. Each time an individual employee accepts employment, s/he must tell the employer how much money to withhold from his/her regular paychecks to be put into an account towards the income taxes s/he will owe in April. This is done by filling out a W-4 and VA-4 form indicating the number of dependents or exemptions that person will be able to claim. Based on that information, the employer withholds a certain amount of income from the employee each month, and sends it to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the government agency responsible for tax reporting.  Then, sometime between January and April 15 of each year, the employee files the completed forms with the IRS, indicating how much money they earned in total, the number of dependents, etc.

The final total of taxes due is calculated when you file your tax returns.  If the employee has had more withheld from his/her paycheck than s/he owes, the IRS will issue a refund. However, if the employee has not had enough taxes withheld from his/her individual paychecks; s/he must pay the IRS to make up the difference. 

If you have not received a W-2 form (if you were employed), and/or a 1042-S (if you earned a scholarship) from a US institution by mid February:

  • If you worked for JMU or received a scholarship from JMU: Go to the following url and follow the instructions
  • If you worked for Aramark (dining services): Access the W-2 eXpress website. You will first need to enter the Employer Name (or code which is 12323) and then, for security reasons, you will be asked to change your password each time you log in. Once you do so, you will be able to print a copy of your W-2,

The International Student & Scholar Services office hosts a number of workshops in February through April, to assist international students file their tax forms.  Please check out the events page for details or contact our office (       

If you have not earned any income or scholarships for the tax year, you can fill out the 8843 form found on this website on your own. We have provided an example of the form filled out below. To mail your completed form you can send it yourself or bring it to the ISSS office to mail it.

8843 Example Side 1

8843 Example Side 2