Last year I stayed in the US for one month with a J-1 exchange visitor visa. This was part of my job (following an educational bootcamp at a higher educational institution), so my own employer still paid my monthly salary. I did not make any money. The only thing that I can think of is that our hotel and flight was reimbursed by the receiving institution. However, since these things were already reimbursed by a scholarship, I gave the money back.
So now, a year later, I am in my own country for almost a year, and now I get this 1042-S form in the mail (sent by the receiving institution) with no accompanying letter at all. After contacting the institution, they told me they do not know how that form got to me. I will try to find someone who can help me out from their end, but in the meanwhile perhaps someone over here can help me out. You see, I am a bit afraid that if I do not take care of this quickly enough, I might not be allowed to enter the US in the future.
Some things I noticed:
- I received three copies: B ("for recipient"), C ("for recipient, attach to any federal tax return you file"), D ("for recipientm attach to any state tax return you file"). The original (presumably A (?) is evidently missing)
- Income code 16 is filled in, this is correct (Scholarship or fellowship grants)
- Gross income is 1453, which I cannot imagine how they got there, although I supposed it could be possible that the flight + hotel was around that number
- the withholding agent's name is filled in as the receiving institution
- recipient's name is my name
My guess is that this is a copy that the receiving institution needs, and they sent me a copy. So I don't have to do anything with it. However, I would like to be very sure of this first. Any insight is welcome.