Income Tax 

"A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer by a governmental organization in order to fund government spending and various public expenditures. A failure to pay, along with evasion of or resistance to taxation, is punishable by law." Almost every common item you can buy in Califonia has a sales tax attached to it, with the exception of grocery store produce.

While there are many types of taxes that one is responsible for paying, this section is primarily dedicated to income taxes. While there may be many exceptions, one is responsible for paying a state income tax as well as a federal income tax. Taxes are generally already deducted from your paychecks according to your projected annual income. Everyone must process their taxes.

Income Tax For J-1s 

  • Being a non-resident (J visa holder) for immigration purposes does not automatically make a scholar a Non-Resident Alien (NRA) for tax purposes. 
  • J-1 scholars are usually considered Non-Resident Aliens for their first two years in the U.S. 
  • f you didn’t have any income the only form you need to complete is 8843.   
  • If you had income, you could file income tax by one of the followings: 
  • VITA:  Free if you meet the income requirement.  Choose the VITA site with volunteers who are trained with non-resident income tax.  A volunteer will walk you through and file federal tax electronically.   
  • Sprintax:  With a fee.  24/7 chat is available.  The app lets you know if you are NRA or not.  If you are considered a Resident, it will take you to TurboTax site.  Alternatively, if you are considered a Resident for tax purposes, you can use any other tax apps available (e.g., TaxAct, H&R Block, etc.) 
  • Hire a tax preparer:  Many people in the U.S. hire a tax preparer.  
  • Do it yourself:  seeIRS Publications 515 and 519. For further questions, go to the IRS website, or call 1-800-829-1040.  

Tip: Tax presentation for J-1 scholars will be available and emailed to you in March. 

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