Faculty & Departments

Focused Questions

Tell me about Form 8843.

Click here and also here.

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What is a W-2 form? Why do I need to be concerned about this form?

Persons who are paid for the work they do are registered with the employer's payroll department. The employer has legal obligations to make reports to the government at different times during and at the end of the year.

At year end one of the reports is a form (called W-2) in which the employer informs the government who the employer is, who the employee is, the amount of money earned by the employee, and whatever taxes were withheld by the employer during the year ended each December 31. The employer also is legally required to mail by January 31 of the year following the close of the tax year a copy of the W-2 to each employee.

If you earned no money from anyone during any one calendar year, then for that year you are not concerned with the form.

However, if you did earn money from employment during any calendar year, you must use Form W-2 in the preparation of your monetary tax returns. If you worked for multiple employers during one year, each of them will be sending you a Form W-2. All such forms from all employers will be used in preparing your returns.

If you did not receive a Form W-2 from an employer, it likely is because you moved and the employer at the time of preparing the W-2 did not know or use your correct address. It is your obligation to keep each employer fully informed of your correct, current mailing addrress. This obligation, however, is only for the tax year in which you worked for each employer.

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What is a W-4 form? Why do I need to be concerned about this form?

If you do not earn money by working for an employer, then you do not need to be concerned with Form W-4.

At the beginning of your employment with an employer you will be asked to complete form W-4. This form is used to tell the employer what your tax situation is and the employer uses that information to determine the amount of taxes to withhold from your paycheck.

The employer is required to forward these withheld taxes to the government as frequently as you are paid.

There are special instructions that all international visitors must follow when completing Form W-4. Those instructions are at this link.

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I don't have a social security number. What do I do?

Most forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) usually require some type of identification number. The standard taxpayer id number used is the social security number (SSN).

For those taxpayers not able to obtain an SSN, the IRS has provided an alternate number. The name for this number is Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). This number may be obtained by completing and filing IRS form W-7.

To determine whether you should apply for a social security number or an individual taxpayer identification number and for help in the application process, email the Assistant Tax Director in Grace Hall for an appointment to discuss your situation.

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I have not updated my home address, will my W-2 be sent to my department?

An employer must mail the W-2 form to the address it has on file for the current location of the taxpayer/employee. It is the employee's obligation to inform the employer of the new address each time the employee moves. The only way that a W-2 could be sent to your department is for you to file that address with the payroll department as the place to which the W-2 is to be sent. On Notre Dame campus you must contact Payroll Services (Grace Hall, 7th floor) to learn whether they can accept such a request.

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What do I need to do if my money does not come from Notre Dame, but it comes from another source inside the US?

If the non-Notre Dame source was another employer, then see the Form W-2 comments above.

If your funds from within the US are not due to having been employed, then you should contact the International Tax Services Coordinator by email to discuss your situation.

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Before coming to Notre Dame I worked in other states. How do I get my non-Indiana state tax returns filed?

The TAX ASSISTANCE PROGRAM does not guarantee it will be able to file all tax returns for non-Indiana states. There are just too many individual state laws with which to remain conversant and the program's resources are not sufficient for that effort.

While the responsibility to file non-Indiana tax returns remains with the nonresident alien visitor, the TAP will assist in the process.

Student tax payers will have their federal returns prepared by trained tax preparers. They will then be referred by the tax preparer to the International Tax Services Coordinator for a state return preparation appointment. For further information use the Appointment Scheduling Process (ASP) found at this link.

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I am studying abroad. How do I get my tax returns filed?

The question states you are off-campus during the tax season and not able to obtain tax help prior to the filing deadline.

The TAP has a process that provides help for those in your situation. Please read the process described at this link and follow its instructions.

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Last year I was not on-campus. How do I take care my tax obligation?

Living away from campus does not relieve you of the obligation to file tax returns in a timely manner! The TAX ASSISTANCE PROGRAM has developed procedures to assist you in filing your tax returns, even if you were not on campus last year.

This process involves gathering together Form W-2, copies of prior years' returns, and various IRS Forms, and filling out some tax information work sheets.

If you find yourself away from campus during tax preparation season and needing this assistance, please read the process described at this link and follow its instructions.

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I am a post doctoral student, may I file with Taptax (TAP)?

Your description of yourself as a "post-doctoral student" is a little confusing. Normally, post-doctoral taxpayers are not students, but rather are researchers, scholars, or faculty. However, if you are still pursuing another degree and carry a J-1 or F-1 student designation in your immigration status, then you are still considered a student.

Answering the questions in the Appointment Scheduling Process (ASP) will greatly clarify the facts of your situation and at the same time will direct you whom to see for your tax return preparation. Go to this site to start the ASP.

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I am both a nonresident alien and a resident alien. How do I file?

Your case is complicated and you should seek an appointment with the international Tax Services Coordinator. Email him to discuss the elements of your tax situation. Only analysis of the circumstances of your case will reveal all the factors that go into a decision about the appropriate manner of filing your taxes.

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What are tax treaties?

Tax treaties are formal contracts between the government of a foreign country and the US government. The content of each treaty is unique and usually differs widely between countries that have them. This means that residents of one country could have fewer or more US tax benefits than the residents of another country.

Note that the key word is "residents" of a country and not "citizens" of a country. This is important because you may lose or gain US tax benefits based on where your residence was prior to coming to the US. That is, the country of residence may have no treaty or a treaty with fewer or more benefits than the country in which you have citizenship.

Tax law requires that we file tax returns and award treaty benefits based on residency.

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How do I find out if a tax treaty applies to me?

The IRS treaty web site lists all treaties between other countries and the US government. At this site you can determine whether your country of residence is listed as having a treaty. You can download the document if desired.

Note, however, that these are legal documents and a full understanding will not usually be possible without some knowledge of technical legal terminology.

For that reason the TAX ASSISTANCE PROGRAM recommends that, if you have a question about the applicability of a treaty to your situation, you email your question to the International Tax Services Coordinator. If he is not able to satisfy your concerns, he will refer you to the Notre Dame Tax Department.

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I have a treaty, do I need to file?

A treaty does not remove the obligation to file an annual report with the IRS. Even if the amount of money earned is less than the treaty benefit, a return must be filed with the IRS in which the taxpayer reports the amount earned and then asserts the treaty amount to which s/he is entitled. The TAX ASSISTANCE PROGRAM files many such returns each year.

Each employer must issue a form W-2 to each employee. You must keep each employer you worked for informed of your address to which the W-2 should be mailed. The TAX ASSISTANCE PROGRAM will take all your W-2 forms from all employers and prepare your tax return for you with your participation in the process.

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I disagree with the IRS interpretation of a tax treaty. What can I do?

foreign person who disagrees with the IRS interpretation of a tax treaty, or who otherwise needs assistance in the administration of a tax treaty, may request such assistance from the U.S. Competent Authority.

The instructions for requesting such assistance have been issued by the IRS in the form of Revenue Procedure 96-13. Now the IRS has issued Revenue Procedure 2002-52, 2002-31 IRB(12 July 2002)which modifies and supersedes Revenue Procedure 96-13.

Those who wish to discuss their ideas directly with the IRS are encouraged to do so by following the instructions in Revenue Procedure 2002-52, 2002-31 IRB (12 July 2002). Such persons are encouraged to download a copy of Rev.Proc. 2002-52 for their own records and reference.

You can read Revenue Procedure 2002-52 by clicking here. The procedure starts on page 6 of the IRB.

For information about IRS rulings published in Internal Revenue Bulletins (IRB), and how to obtain copies of them, please use this link.

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I am a permanent resident and holder of a "green card", can the TAP help me?

Student resident aliens and other holders of "green cards" can and do use the domestic side of the TAP. Students and researchers should email the International Tax Services Coordinator for an appointment to review their tax situations.

Visiting scholars, or foreign faculty members should email the TAP Director for an appointment to review his/her tax situation.

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If the IRS or the state sends me a letter, will you help me?

Each tax situation is unique. So it will be important to meet with a tax assistant as soon as it can be arranged. We recommend you send an email requesting an appointment to discuss the letter and any matters relating to it. At that appointment we will see what is needed and to what extent we can help.

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How do I find IRS rulings, procedures, and other IRS official guidance on the IRS website?

IRS revenue rulings, revenue procedures, announcements, notices, and other IRS official guidance are published weekly in the Internal Revenue Bulletin (IRB). Internal Revenue Bulletins published after 1995 are available on the IRS website.

Each IRB is published on the IRS website as a complete document in pdf format, readable by the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Thus, in order to look at or download a particular ruling, one must know the particular IRB in which the ruling is located, and then look at or download the entire IRB in which the ruling is located.

The IRB's are listed in the following format: YEAR-WEEK. That is, the IRB published in the third week of 2002 would appear as "2002-03" on the IRS website. A revenue ruling appearing in that IRB would be cited as, "Revenue Ruling 2002-XX, 2002-03 IRB 1 (22 Jan 2002)".

Eventually, all the IRB's are bound together in hardbound volumes known as Cumulative Bulletins (CB's, usually in two volumes per calendar year). After a revenue ruling is bound into one of the CB's, it might be cited as Revenue Ruling 2002-XX, 2002-1 CB, p. XXX.

The procedure for looking at or downloading an IRB is as follows:

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Can I file electronically?

Currently it is not possible for nonresident alien taxpayers to file federal returns electronically. This is because the IRS has not created the online logic to process nonresident alien tax returns (forms 1040NR and 1040NR-EZ).
Indiana does have online processing, but it requires that the first Indiana return for a given taxpayer be filed manually in order to be assured that the taxpayer's social security number (SSN) has been entered in their system. The TAP at this time does not process returns online for taxpayers in their second or later years of Indiana processing, because the online system does not provide a response indicating acceptance of the return in a time frame that works for the TAP and its needs. Indiana currently takes too long!

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I have a scholarship. Why am I being taxed on it?

Under section 117 of the Internal Revnue Code (IRC), and the regulations associated with it, a payment cannot at the same time be considered both "personal service income" and a "scholarship or fellowship". The payment must fall into one or the other category, but cannot fall into both categories at the same time. The withholding agent himself must determine which category the payment falls into. For tax purposes, a scholarship or fellowship may be defined as any amount given to an individual to aid him in the pursuit of study, training, or research, and which does not require the performance of any personal services as a condition for the receipt of the payments. If the withholding agent expects the payee to perform personal services of any kind, past, present, or future, in exchange for the payments, then the payment is in the nature of personal service income. Under section 117(c) of the IRC and section 1.117-6(d)(4) of the Proposed Treasury Regulations, if a grant is in the nature of personal service income, then it must be treated as "wages" and is subject to the wage withholding rules.

The withholding agent must determine the characterization of the payments as either "personal service income" (i.e., wages) or as a "scholarship or fellowship". Once he has done this, then that same characterization of the income shall apply with respect to the application of any income tax treaty provisions which may affect the income. For example, Article 17 of the USA-Hungary income tax treaty exempts from U.S. taxation only the "personal service income" paid to a teacher or researcher; but does not exempt from taxation any amount paid in the nature of a scholarship or fellowship. Article 18 of the same treaty deals with students and trainees, and does not contain any provision which would exempt scholarships or fellowships from U.S. taxation. In many treaties, the exemption for scholarships and fellowships is found in the student/trainee article of the treaty, even though the exemption also applies to scholarships/fellowships paid to researchers.

From the above example and discussion it should be clear that each taxpayer's case must be evaluated. The proper authority at Notre Dame for applying treaty positions to each taxpayer's case is Mrs Becky Laskowski (laskowski.7@nd.edu) in room 732 Grace Hall. Contact her to discuss the particulars of your situation.

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