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I have a classic question that a lot of my peers in my university have.

I am an international student at New York University (NYU) currently on my F-1 visa in the United States pursuing a Masters program. I am in my final semester thus I have been in the states for the last two years. I live in New Jersey and commute to New York for my classes and my part-time job which is an on-campus job at NYU itself. I had this job during the year 2016 and thus have received form W-2 from NYU. I have already filed my federal taxes and I am confused about the state for which I should file the state tax. Should it be NJ since I live in NJ or NY since I work in NY or both? For a US Citizen, I believe it is pretty straightforward in this case since he/she would file a non resident tax for NY and a resident tax for NJ. Is this the same for international students on F-1 visa?

Some additional information: My university website says international students, professors and scholars are considered non-residents for NJ state tax purposes unless they had a “permanent home” in NJ.

Any thoughts would be extremely appreciated by a very huge community of students like me.

  • Not indicative of whether you need to file, but was there any withholding from your pay given to New York or New Jersey? You could theoretically end up filing in BOTH if New Jersey took money from your checks. – Xalorous Mar 31 '17 at 1:41
  • @Xalorous In my payslips there is a state tax NY deduction. No NJ taxes. My W-2 state field (#15) says NY. Again, no mention of NJ anywhere on W-2. Also, the employee name, address and zip code field (#e) mentions my name but the address is NYU's address and not my NJ home address. – Q-RIUS Mar 31 '17 at 2:21
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Typically, US citizens file state taxes in their state of residence. Your non-resident status makes it complicated. New York wants you to file though. Their site

Whether you'll send them money or not, who knows. Also, many campuses provide tax help this time of year. They'll know more specifics related to your employer and both states.

  • I think now I am pretty sure that I do need to file NY taxes. Confused about NJ. The university tax department straightaway denies to give any advice in terms of state tax filing. – Q-RIUS Mar 31 '17 at 2:23
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You're right in that you are a NJ non-resident for tax purposes. According to NJ Division of Taxation (http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/njit24.shtml), "you are a nonresident if:

  • New Jersey was not your domicile, and you spent 183 days or less here; or
  • New Jersey was not your domicile, and you spent more than 183 days here, but you did not maintain a "permanent" home here."

I believe you satisfy the second condition above.

If all your W-2 forms do not mention NJ anywhere, you will NOT need to file NJ tax returns.

I am basing this on the fact that if you were to enter your W-2 information correctly in Sprintax, which as an online tax prep. software recommended by NYU, it will tell you to file only NY state returns.

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