This summer 2016, I was hired as a software engineer for an internship in California. I am a student and came under a J-1 visa.

  • I fail the SPT so I am a non-resident alien (NRA).

  • I was paid as an independent contractor (although I fell more likely under the category of an employee ...)

  • I was paid $3000/month for 2 months without any tax withholding (I believe my employer should have done tax withholding but they didn't)

  • No tax-treaty applies to my case and I do not wish to claim any tax exemption.

  • If I am correct, in this bracket, I should pay no Californian State tax but 10% federal taxes.

My understanding is that I have to fill the form 1040NR and state my income as a business income on line 13.

I would also have to fill Schedule C, but I do not have any business (so no EIN) and I do not have any SSN either.

What should I do? I would happily pay my $600 of taxes but it seems so complicated.

  • If you were paid as an independent contractor then your employer would not withhold any taxes.
    – Nosrac
    Feb 3, 2017 at 12:34
  • 1
    Because I'm an NRA, I remember reading from the IRS that they should had withhold 30%.
    – Atoll
    Feb 3, 2017 at 12:50
  • 1
    you're right. The term NRA threw me off. I couldn't think of anything but "National Rifle Association"
    – Nosrac
    Feb 3, 2017 at 12:54
  • Did they issue you 1099-MISC and if so what id number did they use for you? (It should have been mailed NLT Jan 31, but you might not have received it yet.) A J-1 student is eligible for an SSN if employed, see ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10096.pdf and also the (IRS) 1040NR or -EZ instructions under Line Instructions / Identifying Number, but I can't find anything clearly applying this to contractors also. If you are still in US you could apply, and if SSA rejects you use that as evidence to apply for an ITIN, which you can and often must do by attaching W-7 to your return. Feb 4, 2017 at 2:45
  • @atoll have you figured out if you have to pay the state and/or federal taxes ? If not, are you paying that 30% tax for NRA yourself? I have the same exact situation working on J1 visa as an independent contractor with 0% withholding and struggling to get information on this specific issue. Your reply will appreciated. Thanks
    – Jay
    Apr 14, 2017 at 20:01


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