Filing federal income tax forms is the personal responsibility of each international student. All F-1 and J-1 students and their dependants, regardless of whether or not they have earned money, are required to file an annual tax form. Tax forms must be filed between January and April of each year. There can also be immigration consequences for failing to file taxes. Applicants for permanent residency "green cards " are frequently asked to show proof of tax filing for previous years in the U.S.
All the tax forms can be found here or the common non-immigrant tax forms below. You can print a list of the items needed for a U.S. Tax return and a checklist provided by Dr. Don Seat, CPA.
The International Office of University of Texas at Austin has designed a web site to assist international students, scholars, researchers and other nonresident aliens in preparing U.S. tax returns and required declaration statements at no cost to the user. This Guide is a service to help international students and scholars meet their obligations concerning the filing of federal income tax forms. Please be aware that each student/scholar is ultimately responsible for the accuracy of his/her income tax returns and any resulting penalties or interest. If your visa status has changed in the past year, or you believe you have complicated tax issues, please consult the Internal Revenue Service or a qualified tax professional.
Sub-link for determining tax status: http://www.utexas.edu/international/taxes/status.html