ciee - council on international educational exchange

Tax Returns

As a J-1 Exchange Visitor, if you earn income in the U.S. you are required to pay federal, state, and sometimes local taxes.

If you are not sure that your employer is withholding the correct taxes from your paycheck, please read the section on Pay and Taxes.

You are required by law to file a U.S. tax return, even if you will be in your home country when it is time to do this. The good news is, you will likely be entitled to a refund of some or all of the taxes you paid.

Tax returns must be filed by April 15 for the previous tax year:

If you earn a paycheck between: You must file your tax return by:
January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015 April 18, 2016
January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016 April 17, 2017

This means that if you earned paychecks in two different calendar years, you must file a separate tax return for each of those years.

How to File Your Tax Return

You must file a Federal tax return, and separate state and local tax returns if you paid state and local taxes. There are two options for filing your tax returns:

1. Complete and file the forms yourself.

You will need the following forms to file your own tax return:

  • W-2 Form: You will receive this from your employer after the end of the tax year. It must legally be issued by January 31. Contact your employer if you do not receive it soon after that date. Make sure they have your home address so they can send it to you.
  • 1040NR-EZ Form: This form is for 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

Unpaid Internships
If your internship is unpaid, you must file form 8843 to report your presence in the U.S. Visit for more details. If you are accompanied by any J-2 dependents, they must also file form 8843.

2. Use a company to file the tax returns on your behalf.

  • There are many companies who provide tax refund services. You should carefully check any provider’s credentials to make sure they will file your returns properly. The CIEE preferred tax provider is

Enter the WYSE Work Abroad Video Contest and you could win US$2,000!

As a member of WYSE Work Abroad, CIEE encourages you to showcase your creative talents by joining WYSE Work Abroad’s “Expand Your Horizons” Video Contest. Submit a 2-3 minute video about your work abroad, volunteer, work and travel, or internship experience, and you could win US $2,000!

Find out more about this exciting contest by visiting the contest microblog site:

The 2011 contest is now closed. Check back in April 2012 for details of the 2012 contest!

Be sure to notify WYSE Work Abroad that you’ve entered the contest by emailing them your name and the title of your video. You must also indicate that you are a CIEE Work & Travel USA participant.

If you have questions, please visit the WYSE Work Abroad website or email them at