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If I have a taxable scholarship do I have to file a tax return?

  • If you are a nonresident alien in F, J, M, or Q status, yes, you have to file a tax return even if the scholarship is your only U.S.-source income and it is less than the personal exemption amount ($4,050 for 2017). (The special IRS rule eliminating the tax return filing requirements for nonresidents whose only income is wages that do not exceed the personal exemption amount was not extended to taxable scholarships.)
  • If you are a resident alien, you have to file a Form 1040 if your worldwide income exceeds the income threshold for your filing status. Your taxable scholarship should be recorded on the wages line with “SCH” indicated on the line beside it. (The fact that the scholarship was not reported on an information return does not mean that the taxable scholarship does not have to be recorded on your tax return.)