Social Security & Tax Information
Social Security Numbers
Social Security Numbers (SSNs) are only issued to students with work authorization. The Social Security Administration uses SSNs for tax purposes; therefore if a student is not employed, there is no need for a Social Security Number.
For students employed on campus, the Human Resources Department will issue a form verifying that the student is able to apply for a SSN, with eligibility to work on campus. Information on how to apply for an SSN is available at International Student Services.
The U.S. income tax system is based upon a collection of estimated taxes during the year, and the annual filing of a statement of income and exemptions. You are entitled to two (2) income tax entities: the federal (U.S.) and state (Hawai'i) governments. Both the U.S. and Hawai‘i governments require employers to withhold funds from your paycheck in anticipation of your tax liability.
You must determine whether you are a resident or non-resident for taxation purposes. Individuals who are tax residents are taxable on all worldwide income, regardless of where it is earned. Unless exempted by tax treaty, non-residents are taxable on income earned from U.S. sources. The terms "resident" and "non-resident", as used by the federal tax agency called the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), are related to immigration status, but it is possible to be a non-resident for immigration purposes and a resident for taxation purposes.
Each year, students with a Social Security Number are required to file a U.S. federal income tax form even if there was no income during the prior year. If there was an income above a minimum level, which varies, students will also be required to file a Hawai‘i state income tax form. Students will receive statements from their employer and other sources of income (such as bank interest) by early February, which will list all funds earned in the prior year. The federal tax form must be completed and submitted by April 15, and the state form by April 20.
General tax information for international students is available at the International Student Services (ISS) Office, but ISS advisors and staff are not tax experts and are not authorized to assist students in completing tax forms. If you need assistance to complete the tax forms, you will need to contact a professional tax preparation service or a volunteer group that assists with tax forms for nonresidents.
For non-residents, federal forms commonly used by international students are 1040NR-EZ or 1040NR and Form 8843. These forms and instructions can be downloaded by using the links below, or can be picked up at Internal Revenue Service (IRS) located at U.S. Federal Building, 300 Ala Moana Blvd. Their number is 1-800-829-1040 (information) or, to order forms, 1-800-829-3676.
- Federal Form 8843: www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8843.pdf
- Federal Form 1040NR-EZ: www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040nre.pdf, 1040NR www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040nr.pdf
The state form to file is the N-15. This form and instructions can be downloaded below. They can be picked up at Hawaii State Department of Taxation located at 830 Punchbowl St., Window #3; for information call 808-587-4242 or 1-800-222-3229.
- Hawaii Form N-15: http://www6.hawaii.gov/tax/2012/n15_b.pdf
Please note that if any information is falsified with your tax statements, you will be subject to substantial financial penalties and criminal prosecution. Tax forms are audited and verified for correctness each year, and individuals that have submitted false information are vigorously prosecuted by the federal government.