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Division of Business and Finance

East Tennessee State University

Below you will find information regarding the Office of Nonresident Alien Tax Compliance. Should you have any further questions, do not hesitate to make an appointment with our office by clicking here.

What our office does

  • GLACIER paperwork
    • Web-based system that determines your tax status based on your visa status and country of origin
  • GLACIER Tax Prep assistance
    • Web-based system that assists you in filing your personal income tax return
  • GLACIER will communicate with you through email from  

GLACIER Appointment Information

  • We are located at cashier window #7 in the Bursar's office, Burgin Dossett, room 202. Look for the GLACIER sign on the far left.
  • In order to make an appointment, please click here and utilize our online calendar

What will I need to bring to my appointment?

  • I-20, DS-2019, or H1-B documentation (depending on your visa type)
    Visa and Passport
  • I-94 Now only available online, this is a record of entrance to the United States
  • To print a copy for yourself click here, and complete the form.
  • Social Security Number or ITIN (if you have one it is normal to not have either number)

GLACIER Information

A GLACIER profile is required if you:

  • Work on campus
  • Receive scholarship income
  • Receive a new employee contract or scholarship
  • Have to file a tax return

All international students are required to file a U.S. tax return through GLACIER Tax Prep, even if you do not have any income or scholarship.

What information will I need to provide to GLACIER?

  • Full name (on visa)
  • E-number
  • Email
  • Local address in the Johnson City area
  • Home address in your home country
  • Local phone number (if available)
  • List all prior visits to the United States, including visa types during visits
  • Depending on your visa type, you will have to provide information from the following documents that apply to you:
    • F-1 will provide I-20
    • J-1 will provide DS-2019
    • H1-B and/or TN-Employee must provide their documentation given to them by ETSU

Why am I required to provide information in GLACIER?

The IRS has issued strict regulations regarding the taxation and reporting of payments made to non-U.S. Citizens. As a result, payments made to you may be subject to U.S. income tax and reporting to the IRS. GLACIER is an efficient and effective way to manage tax liability.

What if I do not complete GLACIER and submit copies of my documents?

You will NOT get paid until all the proper information has been entered into GLACIER and copies of the appropriate documentation have been submitted to the Office of Nonresident Alien Tax Compliance.
GLACIER is NEVER complete until our office receives printed and signed copies of your paperwork.

What if I don't have a job?

We still encourage all international students to enter their information into GLACIER and provide copies of their documentation to our office.
GLACIER offers free assistance with your personal income tax return through GLACIER Tax Prep. You must have a GLACIER profile to access the Tax Prep.

Tax Residency Status

Why is my tax residency status important?

In order to comply with the U.S tax laws, your tax residency status must be determined. The substantial presence test is used to determine whether an individual is a nonresident alien or resident alien for purposes of U.S. tax withholding. GLACIER will calculate your U.S. residency status for tax purposes based on the information provided by you.

How long will I be a nonresident alien?

  • Students on a F-1 visa will generally be a nonresident alien for the first 5 calendar years they are present in the U.S.
  • J-1 Research Scholars and J-1 Medical Residents will generally be nonresident aliens for the first 2 years they are present in the U.S.
  • H1-B employees will generally become resident aliens after their first 6 months present in the U.S.
  • In most cases, you will become a resident alien for tax purposes retroactive to the first day of the calendar year during which your status changed.

What is the difference between a nonresident alien and resident alien?

  • Nonresident Aliens are subject to special tax withholding and reporting regulations.
  • Resident Aliens are taxed in the same manner as a U.S. citizen.
  • Resident Aliens will not be permitted to use the Tax Prep system (see Tax Return Information section for more details)
  • Resident Aliens will have FICA taxes withheld from paychecks.

Tax Treaty Information

Can I be exempt from tax withholding?

  • The U.S maintains income tax treaties with approximately 63 countries. The existence of a tax treaty does not automatically ensure an exemption from tax withholding. GLACIER will determine if you qualify for a treaty exemption and prepare the appropriate forms.\
  • Just a few example countries with tax treaties include:
    • China
    • Spain
    • Germany
    • France
    • Venezuela

Tax Treaties must be renewed every calendar year by completing Form 8233, even if you have completed Form 8233 for the current year. All students/employees must have a Social Security Number or ITIN to claim tax treaty benefits.

  • Tax Treaties are renewed beginning in November in preparation for the upcoming calendar year.
  • All students/employees with a tax treaty must renew their paperwork in order to remain tax exempt.

Social Security Number Information

Requirements everyone must meet before applying:

  • Have a job offer on campus for a paying job (tuition scholars are not eligible to apply)
  • Registered full-time for your classes and have been registered in SEVIS
  • Have a local, physical address

After the above requirements are met, you may proceed with the application process.
If you do not have a job offer on campus, then you cannot apply for a social security number.

What you need to obtain on campus in order to apply at the Social Security office:

  1. A job offer letter provided by your on-campus employer that has been written on their department letterhead stationery. Be sure to notify your employer if you are an F-1 or J-1 student so they will fill out the proper form. (Go to and click on Template for ETSU Employer Form for SSN Request)
  2. Once you have the letter from your employer, bring it to the International Programs and Services Office, located in Yoakley Hall, room 122. There, they will provide you with another letter verifying your immigration status and enrollment at ETSU. It will take at least one day to prepare this letter. (You need BOTH letters when you go to the Social Security office). Students on CPT do NOT need a letter from the International Programs and Services Office, but they DO need authorization on page of their I-20. Students on OPT or Economic Hardship are only required to provide the EAD with immigration documents.
  3. Next, complete the application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5) before you go to the Social Security Office. They will give you this form when you get your second letter at the International Programs and Services Office.

Be sure to take the following required items with you to the Social Security Office:

  • I-20 or DS-2019
  • Passport/Visa
  • I-94
  • Letter from your prospective employer
  • Letter from the International Programs and Services Office
  • If you are a Grad Assistant, take a copy of your contract.

You will not be permitted to begin work until you have a social security number. However, it may take several weeks for your social security card to be sent to you in the mail. In order to begin work immediately, you can go back to the social security office the next business day after your initial application and obtain a printout containing your new number. This printout can act as your temporary social security card until your official one arrives in the mail.

  • GLACIER requires a social security number in order for an employee's paperwork to be complete.
  • Human Resources will require a copy of your social security card.

Address of the Social Security Office:

Social Security Administration
818 Sunset Dr., Suite 203
Sunset Commons Building
Johnson City, TN 37604

Social Security Office Phone Number and Office Hours:

866-964-5059 or 800-772-1213
Monday Friday 9:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m.

Information for Athletic and Rent Scholarships

  • Many athletes have taxable scholarships (amounts above required tuition and fees are taxable at 14%, i.e. scholarships that include room and board). Therefore, completing GLACIER is essential to filing a correct tax return. In addition, only through GLACIER can athletes with tax treaties become tax exempt by filing Form 8233.
  • GLACIER offers free assistance with your personal income tax return through GLACIER Tax Prep. You must have a GLACIER profile to access the Tax Prep.
  • What is a taxable scholarship?
    • Many athletic scholarships include room and board. This portion of the scholarship is considered taxable as income. If your scholarship is only for tuition and required fees, then you will not have to pay tax.
    • ETSU calculates the appropriate amount of tax and withholds it from students by charging it to their student account each semester. You can view this charge on Goldlink.
  • If you are from a country with a tax treaty, you may become tax exempt by claiming the treaty through GLACIER (see Tax Treaty Information section for details)

How do I claim a tax treaty?

  • In order to immediately claim a tax treaty, you MUST have a social security number (see Social Security Number Information section for details) or an ITIN, Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (see below).

What if I do not want a job on campus?

  • If you do not wish to pursue a social security number for immediate tax exemption, you may file for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
  • After you receive this number (up to six months later), you may use it to claim tax treaty benefits immediately for the following semesters.

What is an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)?

  • An ITIN is a number that acts as a social security number when an individual is not eligible for a social security number.
  • An ITIN can only be issued to an individual who pays taxes but does not have a job in the United States.

When can I apply for an ITIN?

  • Students can apply for an ITIN anytime through the SEVIS process.
  • Our office will assist in completion of Form W-7 and International Programs and Services will complete the process by verifying your immigration documents and mailing the information to the IRS.

What will I need in order to apply for an ITIN?

Form W-7, passport, visa and I-20

I have applied for an ITIN, but was sent a rejection letter from the IRS. What do I do next?

It is very common for students to receive a letter from the IRS asking for additional information. Please bring a copy of your rejection letter and initial Form W-7 to the Office of Nonresident Alien Tax Compliance and we will assist you.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

I am applying for a Tennessee State driver's license. Can your office provide me with proof of address?

Your GLACIER profile is edited by you, and therefore, the listed address is not a valid form of proof of address. For more information about proof of address in Tennessee, please see

I have recently obtained a Permanent Resident Card, or "Green Card." Can I still use GLACIER

Once you obtain a Green Card, please bring a copy of the card to our office and we will mark you as “Terminated” in GLACIER. You will now file your taxes and complete all tax-affiliated paperwork in the same manner as United States Citizen. Human Resources will also need a copy of your Green Card.

Do I have to update my GLACIER profile every time I visit another state?

  • As long as you are inside the United States (including territories such as Puerto Rico, U.S. Samoa, etc.) you will not have to show that you left the country.
  • If you do leave the United States (i.e. your passport/visa is stamped from another country, including Canada and Mexico), then you will have to list this absence on your GLACIER profile upon your return.

I will be out of the country during tax season, how can I still get assistance with GLACIER Tax Prep(GTP)?

  • You can sign into your Glacier profile from anywhere in the world. As such, GTP offers online assistance with tax questions.
  • You have several resources for assistance with GLACIER Tax Prep. Please stop by our office before you leave the country for the final time and we will help you decide which option would be best for you.

If my schedule is too busy to come by the office, can you do my GLACIER paperwork/tax return for me?

  • No, our office is not able to complete an individual's profile information without them present.
  • If you have issues making an appointment, please call or email us and we will accommodate a time that best suits your schedule.

Can I complete my GLACIER paperwork on my own?

Yes, you can complete GLACIER paperwork on your own. However, we strongly suggest that first time users seek assistance from our office. Please note that GLACIER is NEVER complete until our office received signed copies of your final documents along with copies of your travel documents.

Can I complete my tax return on my own?

We strongly suggest that students and employees utilize our assistance in the usage of GLACIER Tax Prep if they have never completed a United States tax return. However, if you would prefer to complete your forms on your own, you can. If you have any questions about the process, you can direct them to .

Can your office help me find a job on campus?

  • Our office only assists with the completion of hiring documents after you obtain a job on your own.
  • To view available student worker positions, go to and click on "RSWP Regular Student Work Study"
  • To view available graduate assistant positions, visit:

I need a copy of my tax return. Can your office provide me with a copy?

  • Our office does not keep your tax return information on file. In accordance with our policy, we will never have a copy of a student or employee's tax return.
  • It is possible to obtain a copy of last year's tax return in your personal GLACIER account by logging in at

My friend and I made the same amount of money, but I paid more tax. Why is that?

The tax reporting and tax return process is calculated on an individual basis. Due to differing circumstances (including but not limited to visa status, residency status, and country of origin), many nonresident aliens with the same income may pay a different amount of tax.

Can you tell me ahead of time how much money I will receive back from my tax return?

  • As mentioned, the tax return process is calculated on an individual basis. We will not be able to predict ahead of time how much money, if any, a person will receive after their tax return is filed with the IRS.
  • GLACIER Tax Prep will tell you the amount of your tax refund, if any, immediately upon completion of your tax return documents.

I am married, but GLACIER will not allow me to claim my spouse on my W-4 form; Why not?

As long as you are a nonresident alien, the IRS requires you to fill out your W-4 form as "single" with an allowance of "1." This form is simply used to determine tax withholding.

My friend/colleague filed their taxes at an outside tax agency and received a larger refund. Can I do that as well?

  • GLACIER Tax Prep has been designed to meet the needs specifically of nonresident aliens, whereas most tax agencies only file in accordance with IRS regulations that are for United States Citizens only.
  • Therefore, if you file with an outside tax agency, your tax return will likely be incorrect.
  • If you file an incorrect tax return, it is possible to accrue interest and penalties by the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Government.
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