March 13, 2012

Are Temporary Exchange Visitors Subject to U.S. Taxes?

The answer is YES!

As tax day (April 17, 2012) approaches, most J-1 visa sponsors are bombarded by questions regarding taxes for the J-1 exchange visitors that they sponsor. Unfortunately most J-1 visa sponsors are not tax experts and are unable to answer the specific questions sent to us.

For those seeking more information, the IRS website ( is by far the best resource for retrieving information about taxes for non-resident aliens participating in the J-Visa Exchange Visitor Program.

Important things to know:
(1) Exchange Visitors on J-1 visas are required to pay any Federal, State, and City (if applicable) taxes.

(2) Exchange Visitors on J-1 visas under the trainee and intern categories are exempt from paying Social Security and Medicare taxes.

(3) If they are paid in the U.S. during their active J-1 programs, J-1 exchange visitors must file a tax return in April.

Here are a few IRS links that are particularly useful:
Foreign Students and Scholars (Trainees & Interns are included in this category),,id=96431,00.html

Taxation of Nonresident Aliens,,id=96477,00.html

Foreign Student Liability for Social Security and Medicare Taxes,,id=129427,00.html