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Determine if you need to file a non-resident or resident US tax return

To determine if you can use free, online software programs, or if  you can get free tax assistance from a VITA or AARP tax site, you first need to determine if you are required to file a federal non-resident or resident tax return. The resources below will help you do this. If you need to file a non-resident tax return, you will not be able to use the free tax preparation programs. Although some VITA programs are certified to help with foreign student returns, CTA tax sites are not and we will not be able to prepare your federal tax return. Once you have your federal “NR” return prepared, CTA can help with the filing of DC, MD or VA returns.

Resources to determine if you are a resident, non-resident, or dual status for federal (IRS) tax purposes


Au Pairs

Studying in the US on a student visa (F or J)

Tax Preparation

  • If you are a current student, check with your school to see if they provide access to Glacier Tax preparation software, or a similar product. You can also search the internet for software for preparation of 1040NR returns.
  • The following also say they support the 1040NR or 1040NREZ:
  • You can also download forms and instructions from and fill them in by hand.

State returns

Even if you file a non-resident return at the federal level, you may need to file a resident state return.
For links to state information see: Search for “residency” or “non-resident” on the state tax website.

If you are otherwise in scope for our program, if you can complete your 1040NR, we can complete your DC, Maryland or Virginia tax return at our tax site at 15th & K Streets NW. Call 202-547-7773 for more information.

Filing your return

  • By Hand: For the 1040NR-EZ and 1040NR forms and instructions, please see below.
  • Tax Software options:
    • Many universities provide free access to the Glacier Tax Prep for international students. Please contact the international student services division at your university to ask if they provide access to this, or another tax preparation software program. Glacier Tax Prep only prepares federal returns.
    • Another commercial program is: which has paid options for both federal and state returns.

IRS Language Glossaries. The IRS has prepared the following glossaries to translate the federal tax terminology for non-English speaking taxpayers.