Disclaimer: Washington University is not able to provide specific assistance with filing taxes and provides the following resources for informational purposes only. Consult a tax professional for specific questions regarding your unique situation.
Anyone who works in the U.S. is required to file an income tax return including U.S. Citizens, Permanent Residents, and Foreign Nationals. Non-immigrant visa holders who are considered tax exempt are also required to file a tax return. In addition, when non-immigrant visa holders complete a project in the U.S. and return home, they are still expected to file a tax return for the calendar year during which they left the U.S.
The most common taxes withheld from a salary are U.S. Federal Income Tax, Missouri State Income Tax, St. Louis City Earnings Tax, and Social Security (FICA) / Medicare tax. For information on U.S. Federal Taxes, please visit the Internal Revenue Service website. For information on Missouri state taxes, please go to the Department of Revenue website.
Generally speaking, those with employee status at Washington University (Postdoctoral Research Associates) will have taxes withheld from their paychecks, while those with non-employee status (Postdoctoral Research Scholars) will not.
Do you have any questions about your paycheck or W-2? Please contact the Washington University Payroll Services Office.
Taxes for Postdoctoral Research Scholars
If you are a Postdoctoral Research Scholar, taxes may not be withheld from your paychecks; however, your income is taxable and must be reported. Please read the information provided by the WashU Tax Office on key tax issues for non-employee stipend recipients.
If taxes are not being withheld for you, you need to file and pay estimated taxes on a quarterly basis. For more information on how to file estimated taxes, please access the IRS website and search for “Estimated Taxes.” Here is the schedule to pay your estimated taxes:
|For the period of:||Taxes due:|
|January 1 thru March 31||April 15|
|April 1 thru May 31||June 15|
|June 1 thru August 31||September 15|
|September 1 thru December 31||January 15 of the following year|
Taxes for Non-U.S. Citizens
International postdocs must have a Social Security Number (SSN) on file. If you have dependents (spouse or children) who are ineligible to get an SSN, make sure they get an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). The ITIN is used for tax purposes only and will allow you to include your dependents on your tax return, which may give you access to tax credits and deductions.
If you are not a U.S. citizen, you may be considered a nonresident alien for tax purposes. However, if you meet one of two tests, you are considered a resident alien for tax purposes:
Some countries have a tax treaty with the U.S. and their citizens may pay significantly lower taxes. For more information, consult the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) list of countries with income tax treaties.
The National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) provides info on taxes in two documents:
Personal Finance for PhDs is an external service you could hire to learn more about taxes and financial education.