Social Security and Tax Information

Social Security

Social Security Numbers (SSN) are used primarily for U. S. tax identification purposes. Therefore, if you will be earning income in the United States, you must also file tax forms and will therefore need a Social Security Number.  F-1 students who are authorized for employment can apply for an SSN.  Please note that if you are an F-1 student and you do not have employment, you do not qualify for an SSN. The Social Security Card will be issued to you free of charge. If you do acquire an SSN please do not confuse this number with your Carleton College student identification number.

International Students/scholars will be helped with the application for a social security number and should check with the Office of Intercultural and International Life for the latest forms and instructions.  You must apply in person at the nearest Social Security Administration office, which is in Mankato or Minneapolis.  You must wait until you are in the United States for at least 10 days before you apply for a Social Security number.

You must complete two forms: (1) the Social Security application Form SS-5 found here, and (2) Verification of Employment Form that must be completed by campus employer and Designated School Official.  In addition to the forms, you will need to bring your original passport, Form I-94, I-20 or DS-2019, and Carleton ID card with you to the nearest SSA office. DO NOT MAIL THE APPLICATION or YOUR DOCUMENTS TO THE SSA OFFICE. After you submit your application, request a Receipt Letter from the SSA official and bring a copy to OIIL.  In 1-3 weeks you'll receive your Social Security Card or Number, and bring that to the office so we can verify you received your card.  After you get your card you'll need to update your information in GLACIER and print up the updated forms to the Business Office; you should also update your U.S. bank account with your SSN.

In general, students/visiting scholars who have been in the United States less than five years in F-1 or J-1 status are exempt from paying federal Social Security tax. Possession of a social security number does NOT constitute eligibility to work (you still need permission to work if you apply for internship, externship, research or any other type of paid or unpaid employment).

U.S. Income Tax

Once you arrive on-campus all students/visiting scholars are required to fill out W-4 forms (and other employment verification forms as needed) for United States income tax purposes. Students/scholars should use their local Carleton College address and not their home address; otherwise, important and urgent mail may be delayed for long periods of time. Scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship awards that exceed tuition & fees, minus the cost of course-required books, fees, supplies, and equipment -- are taxable income.

Some scholarships, maintenance allowances, prizes, and payments for teaching and research may be considered taxable income by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Students/scholars holding an F-1 or J-1 visa are subject to withholding and payment of federal and state income taxes unless they are exempt by a provision of a tax treaty.

The level of taxable earnings fluctuates and must be checked each year. During the month of January all persons employed by Carleton, including students/scholars, receive W-2 statements showing their total taxable earnings and withholdings. All F-1 and J-1 individuals are required to file the Income Tax Return before April 15 of each year, in consultation with the Assistant Director of OIIL.

Carleton annually purchases Web-based computer software, Glacier Online Tax, designed to help non-resident aliens with student/scholar visas complete their income tax forms. There is also an annual tax help session with a local certified public accountant to answer additional questions.