Tax information

Students are not automatically exempt from having to pay taxes. Some important information for you to read below:

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FICA Taxes (Social Security and Medicare Tax)

During the academic year, students registered for a minimum of six (6) credit hours and working on campus are exempt from having Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from their paychecks.

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Federal Income Tax Withholding or Exemption

United States citizens and permanent residents who qualify may claim exemption from Federal income tax withholding by completing Form W-4. This form is used to specify your marital status and deductions or if you wish to claim exempt from federal tax withholding. Determine your eligibility carefully to avoid any tax penalties.

Rensselaer Self-Service Information System W-4 Tax Form Instructions

International students will receive assistance from the Payroll Office during the hiring process.

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New York State Income Tax Withholding or Exemption

United States citizens and permanent residents who qualify may claim exemption from New York State income tax withholding by completing Form IT-2104E. Determine your eligibility carefully to avoid any tax penalties. New York State has two different forms, one if you are claiming exempt and a different form for non-exempt. If you do not wish to claim exempt from New York State tax, complete Form IT-2104. Only one IT-2104/E form needs to be completed. 

Rensselaer Self-Service Information System NY State Tax Form Instructions

The Rensselaer payroll staff will not give advice on completing any tax forms. If you have questions, please talk with your parents or a qualified tax professional. If these forms are not received by the Payroll Department, the government requires a default setting of single claiming zero exemptions.

If you claim exempt, you will need to complete a new Form W-4 and Form IT-2104E each year.

International students will receive assistance from the Payroll or Student Employment Office during the hiring process.

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W-2 (the official Wage and Tax Statement)

Income paid must be reported to the Social Security Administration on a W-2 form. The Payroll Department is required to report payments made to students who receive income during any calendar year. Students may be required to file tax returns on which they declare not only this kind of income but also any taxable stipends they have received during the calendar year. By law, taxes may be required to be withheld from Graduate fellowship payments made to international students. Students who are US citizens for tax purposes do not have any withholding on their fellowship stipends which are generally for tuition, nor are these amounts reported to the Social Security Administration. However, all stipends and fellowships are considered by the IRS to be taxable income, to the extent that they exceed the cost of books, fees, equipment and supplies required of all students in a course of instruction.

It is recommended that students access their Form W-2 via the Student Information System (SIS). However, the student must first sign up to receive the W-2 electronically. Students may print the Form W-2 from Student Information System (SIS).

Rensselaer is required by the IRS to furnish all employees with a Form W-2 no later than January 31 of each year for the purpose of completing your annual tax return. We encourage you to consent to receive your annual Form W-2 electronically rather than by mail. There are many benefits to receiving an electronic Form W-2 including the following:

  • Earlier access to your Form W-2. Typically, electronic W-2s are available by the second week in January while paper W-2s are not mailed until January 30. Please be advised that only those employees who have consented to electronic-only W-2 delivery will be able to view their W-2 on the RSS/SIS site.
  • Eliminates potential for lost, stolen, delayed or damaged W-2s sent via the U.S. postal service.
  • Access is available 24/7 at the same easy-to-use secure web site at which you access your Payroll and Human Resources information.

You can enroll to receive electronic W-2s by following the steps below. If you have previously given consent you do not need to do it again.

  1. Sign into Rensselaer Self Service
  2. Enter your secure ID and Password
  3. Click on Human Resources/Payroll Menu
  4. Click on Tax Forms
  5. Click on Electronic W-2 Consent
  6. Check the Box "Check To Receive W-2 Electronically"
  7. Click Submit
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Tax Information for International Students

Information is provided on the International Services for Students and Scholars web page about taxes in the US. Click on the accordion labeled “Taxes”. Please also review the International Student Worker section of this website for important Nonresdient alien tax complaince website information through Glacier. 

Form 1042S (International Students Only)

International students may receive a W-2 only, or a 1042S only, or both. The Form 1042S will report fellowship stipends and payments exempt under a tax treaty. All other payments are reported on a W-2. International students should wait until both Forms have been made available before filing their tax returns. Forms 1042S are not accessible on SIS. A printed form will be mailed to your permanent address. Payroll makes every effort to send your form to campus if we know you are still on campus. The 1042S forms must be available to you on or before March 16 . The Office of International Students and Scholars website contains information specifically pertaining to international students. This office may sponsor a tax workshop in the spring that many international students find helpful.