AM I REQUIRED TO FILE A TAX RETURN?
In order to determine if you are required to file a tax return, you need to answer two other
1. Are you considered a Nonresident Alien or Resident Alien for tax purposes?
The IRS divides everyone into two categories for tax purposes—resident and nonresident:
Residents: all U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents (i.e., “green card” holders), and
nonresident aliens for immigration purposes who have met the Substantial Presence Test
Nonresident aliens: all others, regardless of immigration status.
The Substantial Presence Test (SPT) is the way the IRS determines when nonresident aliens for
immigration purposes have been in the United States long enough to be considered residents for tax
purposes. To pass the SPT, one must be present in the United States for a total of 183 days, counted
over a period of three calendar years. There are special rules for F-1 students and J-1 exchange
visitors about days of presence in the U.S.
You can determine if you qualify as a resident or non-resident for tax purposes:
By using the CINTAX* software, or
By visiting the IRS website:
2. Did you earn income in the previous calendar year?
Sources of income include on-campus employment, scholarships, fellowships, graduate
assistantships, practical or academic training, and any compensation received for labor. The tax
year you are reporting on is for the previous calendar year (January 1 to December 31).
Using your answers to questions 1 & 2, you can determine if you need to file a tax return by
checking the chart below:
Nonresident Alien – earned income Yes, you are eligible to use CINTAX* to
file your federal return (Form 1040NR or
Form 1040NR-EZ). You also need to file
your Missouri state return (MO1040 or
Nonresident Alien – no income Yes, you should file the informational
Form 8843 (available at CINTAX* or IRS
Resident Alien – earned income Yes, you should file your federal return
(Form 1040 or Form 1040-EZ) – cannot
use CINTAX. You also need to file your
Missouri state return (MO1040 or
Resident Alien – no income No.
* If you did not receive a CINTAX access code and would like to use CINTAX, please email
firstname.lastname@example.org to request an access code.
Last Updated: 3/30/09