Pay and Taxes

If you have a paid internship or training position, you will likely get paid weekly or every other week, either by check or direct deposit into your bank account. Your host organization will provide a statement showing the number of hours of training, pay, and the taxes and other deductions taken out of your paycheck.

How Taxes Work

As a foreign visitor receiving paid training on a J-1 visa, you are required to pay some (but not all) of the same taxes U.S. citizens pay. Roughly 10% to 15% of your salary will be withheld for federal income tax. Some states and cities also charge income tax, which would could be an additional 5% to 8%. While your host organization should withhold the correct taxes, it is wise to review your first paycheck to make sure there are no errors and the tax withholding is correct.

What you must pay:

  • Federal income tax
  • State income tax (if applicable)
  • Local or city income tax (if applicable)

What you do not have to pay:

  • Social Security and Medicare tax (FICA)
  • Federal unemployment tax (FUTA)

Filing Tax Returns

At the end of the year, you will be required to file a tax return – which is due April 15, unless the 15th falls on a holiday or weekend, in which case your tax return will be due a day or two later. The good news? You may be eligible to claim a refund for a portion of the taxes you have paid. Failure to file a return and/or pay taxes may prohibit you from returning to the U.S. in the future.

Please note: Unpaid participants and all J-2 dependents must also file tax forms. If your position is unpaid, there is no tax due. However, participants and all J-2 dependents must still file tax Form 8843. Visit for details.

For questions regarding tax status or withholding, please call CIEE at 1-888-268-6245 or contact us via email.

Two Ways To File Your Tax Return

Complete and file your own tax return 
To complete and file your own tax return, you will need the following:

W-2 form
You will receive this from your host organization soon after the calendar year ends. Contact your host organization if you do not receive it by January 31.

1040NR-EZ form
Your federal tax return. You can download the form and instructions at

State/local income tax forms
These forms are different for each state. You can find more information at

Use a company to file the tax returns on your behalf
There are many companies that provide tax filing services. Carefully check any provider’s credentials to make sure he or she will file your returns properly. CIEE's preferred tax provider is