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vmadzinge
New Member

Can someone without a social security number file for taxes if they are in college and would like to receive the a refund since they pay from pocket?

I have a friend in college who is an international student. This student pays for school from pocket and has never had a job but is here as a full time student. Is this student eligible to apply for tax refund?

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Opus 17
Level 15

Can someone without a social security number file for taxes if they are in college and would like to receive the a refund since they pay from pocket?

Taxation of international students is a highly complicated topic, and your friend should probably ask at the International Students office at their school (most schools have one).

In general, the only tuition benefit that will pay you something if you have no income is the American Opportunity Credit. That can give a taxpayer up to $1000 back even if they have no income and pay no taxes.  However, that credit is not allowed for non-resident aliens, which is a status that applies to most students even if they meet the # of days  residency requirement.  He might be able to declare himself a resident alien, in which case he can apply for an ITIN and be eligible for the credit, but declaring resident alien status can have other consequences down the road that may not be worth the $1000.

See this for more, https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p519.pdf

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*

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5 Replies
Opus 17
Level 15

Can someone without a social security number file for taxes if they are in college and would like to receive the a refund since they pay from pocket?

Taxation of international students is a highly complicated topic, and your friend should probably ask at the International Students office at their school (most schools have one).

In general, the only tuition benefit that will pay you something if you have no income is the American Opportunity Credit. That can give a taxpayer up to $1000 back even if they have no income and pay no taxes.  However, that credit is not allowed for non-resident aliens, which is a status that applies to most students even if they meet the # of days  residency requirement.  He might be able to declare himself a resident alien, in which case he can apply for an ITIN and be eligible for the credit, but declaring resident alien status can have other consequences down the road that may not be worth the $1000.

See this for more, https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p519.pdf

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*
Hal_Al
Level 15

Can someone without a social security number file for taxes if they are in college and would like to receive the a refund since they pay from pocket?

There's a new urban myth among college students that says they can get a $1000 from the government just for filing a tax form. For most of them, they simply aren't eligible.

Even if he was a resident; a student, under age 24, is only eligible for the refundable portion of the American Opportunity Credit if he supports himself by working. You cannot be supporting yourself on parental support, 529 plans or student loans & grants. You must have actually paid tuition, not had it paid by scholarships & grants.

For U.S. students,  It is usually best if the parent claims that credit.
SweetieJean
Level 15

Can someone without a social security number file for taxes if they are in college and would like to receive the a refund since they pay from pocket?

TaxGuyBill
Level 9

Can someone without a social security number file for taxes if they are in college and would like to receive the a refund since they pay from pocket?

Also, an international student is likely here on a F-1 visa, which means that person is an Nonresident Alien (which do not qualify for Educational credits) for the first 5 years they are in the US.
vmadzinge
New Member

Can someone without a social security number file for taxes if they are in college and would like to receive the a refund since they pay from pocket?

Thank you. This all useful information.
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