International Student Services

Taxes: FAQs

Reminder: The tax return filing process in 2021 is for tax year 2020.
These questions are for tax year 2020 (January 1, 2020–December 31, 2020).


Commonly Used Abbreviations and Definitions

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

GTP: Glacier Tax Prep

Glacier: Glacier Tax Compliance

IRS: U.S. Internal Revenue Services

ISC: UW Integrated Service Center

SFS: UW Student Fiscal Services

ISS: UW International Student Services

Definitions of foreign nationalresident alien, and nonresident alien for tax purposes can be found here:

What are federal taxes?

See the ISS introduction to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and taxes:

How do I know if I need to file taxes?

International students at UW should use Glacier Tax Prep (GTP) to determine if they are required to file tax forms annually. This includes students who did not work.

I did not work or receive income, do I still have to file taxes?

Regardless of earned or source income, international students at UW should use Glacier Tax Prep (GTP) to determine if they are required to file tax forms annually. Even students with no income might need to file a tax form.

Where do I find an access code for GTP?

Access codes are prepaid by UW. For free access to GTP, you must enter through the ISS website; see the link below. You will not need an access code through the ISS website.

If you enter GTP externally, GTP will not recognize your affiliation to UW and you will be charged.

Why isn’t GTP working or allowing me to file my taxes?

This most likely means that GTP has not gone live yet. Normally, the GTP link goes live around mid-February. Check newsletter emails from ISS for the specific date.

Resident alien status will prevent you from being able to use GTP. See the FAQ on resident alien status. 

I’m classified as a resident alien, can I still file taxes through GTP?

No. Students classified as resident aliens for tax purposes must file taxes through different tax resources.


How do I know if I am considered a resident alien for tax purposes?

If you worked on campus:
Log into Glacier Tax Compliance and choose Review/Print My Forms. Click the Print Forms button by the Tax Summary Report. The Tax Residency Status on the Tax Summary Report will show if you are considered a nonresident alien or resident alien for tax purposes.

If you did not work on campus:
Begin the filing process through GTP. If GTP determines that you are a resident alien, GTP will tell you how to file your taxes.

About Resident Alien Status:
Resident alien status is determined by a formula of days spent in the U.S. GTP is programmed to make that designation by entry/arrival status recorded on your I-94 document. This is called the Substantial Presence Test.

Students with resident alien status for tax purposes cannot files taxes using GTP because the tax rules are different. See the FAQ on resident alien status.

Being a resident for tax purposes does not change your immigration status; it only changes your tax status. 

I will become a resident alien part way through the year, can I still use GTP services?

No. If you receive resident alien status at any point during the year, the federal government assumes that status for the first day of the calendar year in which you were considered a resident alien.

You will still maintain tax exemptions allocated to you during your nonresident alien status.

To file taxes as a resident alien, see the FAQ on resident alien status.

How do I modify my tax withholdings?

Withholdings are done directly through your employer.

If you worked on campus:
Nonresident alien tax withholdings are automatically set to Single based on IRS rules. Tax Elections in Workday cannot be changed until you become a resident alien. If you are a resident alien for tax purposes, withholding changes can be made in WorkDay.

If you worked off campus:
Contact your employer directly. 

Which forms do I need to file my taxes?

See the following links for specifics:

How do I retrieve my tax forms?

See the following links for specifics:

See Before You File: Documents to Save

If you work off campus:

Your employer is responsible for issuing your W-2.

  • Employers are required by federal law to issue your W-2 by 31 January.
  • If you have not received yours, contact your employer.
  • Be sure to verify that your employer has your correct e-mail and home addresses.

If you work on campus:

  1. Go to WorkDay:
  2. Click on Sign in to WorkDay
  3. Click on Pay
  4. Click on My tax documents
  5. Click on View/Print for tax year 2020
  6. Print tax form(s)

Nonresident alien employees that participated in a tax treaty for 2020 or were paid through scholarship/fellowship payments (stipend) will be issued a 1042-S tax form. This is available in Glacier Tax Compliance around mid-February. A paper copy will be mailed to the home address in Workday for employees that terminated (stopped working) in 2020.

Where do I find the link for GTP?

On the ISS webpage regarding tax information: 

When is the GTP link available?

GTP will be available around mid-February. Check newsletter emails from ISS for the specific date.

Why does ISS wait until mid-February to turn on GTP?

Some students receive a Form 1042-S to file their taxes. This form is required for some students to report taxes.

1042-S forms are not ready until mid-February. Once all 1042-S forms are prepared, the link to GTP becomes available.

Glacier Tax Compliance has many features that are grayed out and I cannot do my taxes. What is the issue?

If you are a resident alien, you cannot use GTP to file. GTP will provide suggestions of other programs for you to use.

If you are a nonresident alien and still have grayed out functionality, try answering yes to all questions and see if that permits you to continue. Do not try to change any of the information as you will be able to do that later in GTP. At the end of the process, it will ask if you wish to go from Glacier to Glacier Tax Prep (GTP). Click yes and you will then enter the GTP software.

If you still cannot access GTP, then use the following link to continue to GTP:

See the next FAQ below: “Glacier Tax Compliance record has been terminated.”

My individual record in Glacier Tax Compliance has been terminated, what should I do?

You should be able to continue to log in, but you will not be able to change your records.

Answer yes to all of the questions to continue to Glacier Tax Prep (GTP).

If you still cannot access GTP, then use the following link to continue to GTP:

How do I set up a GTP account?

If you worked on campus, start the process in Glacier Tax Compliance. Glacier Tax Compliance will transfer data to GTP.

If you worked off campus or did not work at all, set up an account through GTP.

Access both Glacier Tax Compliance and GTP links from this ISS webpage:

Are there income limits that would prevent me from using GTP?


I worked outside of Washington State, how will I report wages earned from another state?

GTP tax tool will prompt you to clarify from which state(s) you worked.

I received money but not wages from work, do I have to claim that on my taxes?

GTP will prompt you to answer this question and advise you on how to enter that information. 

I’m on OPT, do I have to file taxes?

Use GTP to determine if you are required to file tax forms annually.

I’m on OPT, can I use GTP?

Yes. As long as you are classified as a nonresident alien, you can use GTP.

My visa status has changed, can I continue using GTP?

International students at UW should use Glacier Tax Prep (GTP) to determine if they are required to file tax forms regardless of changes in visa status.

Is there a penalty for filing taxes late?

Not unless you owe the U.S. government money.

You should aim to meet federal deadlines for filing taxes, otherwise you may be in violation of IRS regulations.

Deadline for those working and earning income: 15 April (if 15 April falls on a weekend or holiday, taxes are due on the next business day). Please note that for the tax year 2019, the tax due date has been changed to 15 July.

Deadline for those who did not work or earn income: 15 June (if 15 June falls on a weekend or holiday, taxes are due on the next business day)

How do I file taxes for a previous year?

Students with employment last year:

You can initiate the process in GTP.

GTP may charge you for accessing tax reports other than the current tax year.

To complete the filing for previous years, each report must be printed and mailed in separate envelopes.

Students with no employment last year–Form 8843 only

Students in F-1 status must submit Form 8843 to the IRS every year for the first five calendar years of study in the U.S., regardless of income.

If you did not submit Form 8843 in previous years, please log in to Glacier Tax Prep (click on “Did not work on-campus” button).

After you log in to Glacier Tax Prep, you will see an option to print tax forms from previous years. Please print the 8843 for previous years and complete each form separately. You will need to mail each year’s Form 8843 in a separate envelope to the IRS. You may use the most recent 8843 as an example when completing the earlier ones.

I completed the tax process online through, GTP, now what?

International students must print out and mail documents to the IRS.

GTP will prompt you to complete these steps and provide the IRS’ mailing address.

GTP does not automatically e-file your tax return.

  1. Print
    • You must physically print your return document.
    • Save a copy of your return document.
  2. Mail
    • Place your printed return document in an envelope.
    • Address it to the IRS (address found at the end of GTP process).
    • Buy postage and mail your return to the IRS.
  3. Wait
    • IRS processing times can be lengthy.
    • Once IRS receives your return, they will send you a receipt notice.
    • Keep waiting.

I’m no longer in the U.S., do I have to file taxes?

Yes. If you were in the U.S. as a student during the tax year in question, start the process in GTP to determine if you need to file.

The GTP web platform works anywhere you have internet access.

ISS advises that you complete your GTP session on a secure internet connection.

GTP will not remind you to file.

If you do not file, the IRS will not refund any overpayment.

I’m no longer in the U.S. and have completed the GTP process, how do I mail my taxes?

  1. Print
    • You must physically print your return document.
    • Save a copy of your return document.
  2. Mail
    • Place your printed return document in an envelope.
    • Address it to the IRS (address found at the end of GTP process).
    • Take your envelope to a reliable post service and ask for a tracking number.
    • Monitor the tracking number to ensure delivery.
  3. Wait
    • IRS processing times can be lengthy.
    • Once the IRS receives your return, they will send you a receipt notice.
    • Keep waiting.

I am in my home country and there is no mail service due to the pandemic. How do I file my taxes?

As per the Glacier Tax Prep  instructions, you have to print, sign, date and mail the physical forms to the address provided by the program.

If there is no regular or express mail between your country and the U.S., then we recommend that you document the temporary mail service interruption, and mail the forms as soon as mail service reopens. There is no penalty that we are aware of for filing late as long as you do not owe tax.

There seem to be two Glacier systems. What are the differences and which one do I use?


Glacier Tax Compliance and Glacier Tax Prep (GTP) are the two systems that UW uses.

Glacier Tax Compliance is only used by students who work for UW.

  • It is a secure, web-based application used by the UW to determine the correct taxation on wages for Foreign National employees.
  • Failure to complete Glacier Tax Compliance information and provide documents to the ISC Payroll Office may result in inaccurate tax withholding and/or loss of tax treaty benefits.
  • You should update Glacier Tax Compliance any time vital information changes. Vital information would include your immigration status, your immigration status expiration date, renewing a tax treaty each year and entering your social security/ITIN number. A new Glacier packet needs to be sent to the ISC Payroll Office when these changes are made. You should update Glacier Tax Compliance any time your information changes.

GTP is used by all international students to file the correct tax documents.

  • It is a web-based system and free for you to use.
  • This system does not transmit your taxes to the IRS.
  • International students must mail their tax report and documents to the IRS. Details are provided at the end of your GTP session.


If you work on campus, you will use both Glacier Tax Compliance and GTP.

If you do not receive any pay/stipend funds from the UW or do not work at all, you will only use GTP.

How Do I Log into GTP through Glacier Tax Compliance (Glacier)?

Note: This question is for students who worked on campus in 2020.

To access GTP through Glacier, simply log into your Glacier individual record through the ISS link “Did Work On Campus.

  1. Accept the User Agreement by clicking the button “I Accept”. This will take you to the Main Menu “What Would you Like To Do Today?”
  2. Choose the link “Complete my U.S. tax return using Glacier Tax Prep”. Glacier will ask you to verify important information.
  3. Please click Yes to continue to GTP. Information that needs to be updated can be done after accessing GTP.

Note: Terminated employees in Glacier Tax Compliance can still access GTP. Any updates to address information will need to be done on the GTP screen. You will see the “Welcome to GTP” screen and you can enter GTP to complete your U.S. income tax return.

As you will see, Glacier has already transferred some of your information into GTP, so you will not have to enter all of your personal information again. Please review this information carefully.

I filed taxes but I didn’t use GTP. What should I do?

If you are considered a resident alien, you will not be able to file with GTP.

For nonresident aliens, start with GTP to see if you should be using the GTP process.

You may also need to submit an amended tax return and may need to consult a tax professional. Please see FAQs on the GTP website.

Note: Nonresident aliens at UW should use GTP to file their taxes. Other tax systems do not consider international tax components and therefore calculate your taxes incorrectly. 

I’m no longer at UW or a student, can I still file using GTP?

Yes. Use your UW NetID credentials to log in through the ISS website.

Note: You can still access Glacier Tax Compliance and use the GTP link as long as you remember your Glacier login and password. You will not be able to change your information in Glacier Tax Compliance.

Does ISS provide tax consultants?

We wish we could provide more specific advice, but tax regulations are complicated and outside our scope of expertise. Only qualified tax professionals can answer individual, nuanced tax questions. 

Where can I find more resources and help?




SFS can help you with regards to tax-related tuition information, which includes:

  • Educational tax credits
  • Deduction eligibility related to tuition and tuition fees.
  • Helping you determine if your scholarships, fellowships, grants, or tuition reductions are taxable.
  • Tax treaties

UW Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (UW VITA)

Cancelled: UW VITA offers free tax prep services to international students:


  • Provides how to videos.
  • Offers step by step guidance during the filing process.
  • If you encounter a technical issue, contact GTP directly through their contact us link.
  • Use you NetID and password to log in to your account for access.

IRS Customer Service

Still need specific tax advice?

If you need tax advice, contact a tax professional specialized in international tax law.

Only tax professionals are allowed to provide you specific tax advice.