Social Security and Medicare Tax Refund

Some students and scholars are exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes. This means that they can ask the government not to take money for those programs out of their paycheck. In order to qualify, you must fulfill the following criteria:

  • You hold an F-1 or J-1 visa.
  • You are considered a nonresident alien for tax purposes.
  • You work on-campus, off-campus with DHS permission, or are undergoing approved practical or academic training.

To claim an exemption from social security tax, you must provide verification of visa status and proof of work permission to the employer.

Occasionally, Medicare Taxes are withheld in error. Nonresidents may not request a refund of Medicare Taxes on their annual income tax report.

File a Refund Request

  1. Complete IRS Form 843 “Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement.” Put an address on Form 843 that will be accurate for the next 3-4 months.
  2. Attach copies of the Form W-2, a copy of your Form I-94, and proof of work permission:
    1. An EAD (for example, for OPT), 
    2. Page Two of your I-20 (if CPT), or 
    3. your DS-2019 (if Academic Training) 
    4. If the employer was UC, copy your W-2 and I-20 / DS-2019. ‘University of Cincinnati’ is printed somewhere on both. Highlight where it says ‘University of Cincinnati’ and attach them to your documents. This is your work permission.
  3. If you are a F or J Visa holder, you also need to complete Form 8316.
  4. Make copies of the documents and keep them with your tax records.
  5. MAIL the forms with copies of your W-2 and I-94 card to the required IRS service center.

This is not a fast process. Wait at least 60 days before contacting the IRS by phone to verify the status of the refund request.

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Instructions for filling out the Form 843 by question.
Form Question Instructions  
Question 1 Indicate the dates that you were employed where Medicare Taxes were withheld. If you worked for more than one tax year, you will need to complete a Form 843 for each tax year.  
Question 2 Write the amount of Medicare Taxes that were withheld.  
Question 3 Place a checkmark in the "Employment" box.  
Question 4 LEAVE BLANK  
Question 5 LEAVE BLANK  
Question 6 Indicate the tax return on which the Medicare taxes were originally reported.  
Question 7 Write "Medicare Tax erroneously withheld by employer. See attached Forms 8316, W-2 and I-94."  
Signature Line Sign your name and put today's date.  
Instructions for Form 8316 by question.
Form Question Instructions
Question A If Medicare Taxes were withheld from your paycheck and you meet the requirements described earlier, place an "x" in the "Yes" box.
Question 1, 3, 5 and 7

Should be checked as "No"

In the place provided under Question 5, you can write: "The employer does not provide refunds of Social Security or Medicare taxes, or provide statements on this matter."

Questions 2, 4, 6 and 8 "0"
Signature line Sign your name and put today's date. Include a telephone number and best time to be contacted by the IRS.