How to File U.S. Taxes

Updated 10/21/2020

F-1 and J-1 students and scholars in the U.S. are responsible for filing their federal and state taxes each year. OIS cannot advise on tax-related issues. Students and scholars can consult with one of the qualified tax professionals suggested below for individual assistance or self-file.


Non-Resident Alien 

  1. Sprintax Tax Preparation Software
  2. Self-file; refer to:
  3. USC Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
  4. Private Tax Specialist for Hire: Gary Engler, Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Resident Alien

  1. Self-file; refer to:
  2. USC Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
  3. Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Tax Preparation Vendors for Hire, such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block
  4. Private Tax Specialist for Hire: Gary Engler, Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Amended Returns

When F and J students and scholars submit tax forms to the U.S. government, they are making a legal and recorded statement of status and eligibility which must be correct.  False filings can seriously impact future immigration eligibility and status. If a student or scholar has filed incorrect tax forms, OIS strongly encourages seeking assistance from either a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), tax attorney, or licensed tax firm to make corrections as soon as possible to avoid any penalties. These services will incur a charge to be determined by the service provider.


Be Aware of Tax Scams

The USC Department of Public Safety (DPS) has provided advice and tips for students and scholars to avoid common scams.