In recent years, the tax filing burdens on international guests at U.S. institutions of higher learning have lessened, at least somewhat. Students and scholars whose only U.S.-source income is a small amount of wages (and interest on a U.S. bank account, if they have one) need not file an income tax return. However, there is some confusion about how much of a tax filing burden remains. One relatively obscure IRS publication asserts - and many schools' international student advisors repeat, on the internet and otherwise - that every nonresident student and scholar in the country must file a residency statement with the IRS each year, regardless of whether he or she has any income. The soundness of this assertion is open to serious question. Thus, a significant portion of the tax filing that is being churned out by international students and their host institutions across the country each year may not be legally required.
John A. Bogdanski,
Foreign Student Tax Filing Rules: Better, But an Urban Myth Persists,
Available at: https://lawcommons.lclark.edu/faculty_articles/163
Lewis & Clark Law School Legal Research Paper Series, Paper No. 2008-3