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Pay and Taxes

If you will be receiving a paycheck

Employees in the United States are generally paid weekly or every other week, either by check or direct deposit into their 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 that U.S. citizens pay. About 10% to 15% of your salary will be withheld for federal income tax. Some states and cities also charge income tax of about 5% to 8%. Your host organization should withhold only the correct taxes, and it’s wise to review your first paycheck to make sure that there are no errors and the tax withholding is correct.

What you must pay:

  • Federal income tax
  • State income tax
  • Local or city income tax

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 tax a return, and you may be eligible to claim a refund for a portion of the taxes you’ve paid. Failure to file a return or to pay taxes may prohibit you from returning to the United States. For questions regarding tax status or withholding, please contact CIEE for assistance.

Interns with paid positions can benefit from assistance with filing tax returns. CIEE recommends Taxback, a tax-preparation service that serves J-1 exchange visitors.

Unpaid interns and all J-2 dependents must also file tax forms. If the position is unpaid, there is no tax due. However, participants and all J-2 dependents still must file tax Form 8843. J-2 dependents also must file Form 8843. Visit irs.gov for details.

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