The following foreign student and scholar nonresident aliens are usually exempt from social security and Medicare taxes:
- Nonimmigrant students, scholars, teachers, researchers, and trainees (including medical interns) who are temporarily present in the U.S. in F-1, J-1, M-1, or Q-1 status
- Any period in which a foreign student is in "practical training" or other off-campus employment allowed by the USCIS
- Any student who is enrolled and regularly attending classes at a college or university on pay earned from that school
Similarly, the self-employment income of nonresident aliens is exempt from self-employment tax. The exemption is lost if an alien becomes a resident.
If an employer withholds social security and Medicare taxes from pay that is not subject to taxes, follow these steps:
- Contact that employer for reimbursement
- If the employer does not refund the withheld taxes, file a refund claim on Form 843
For additional information, refer to Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.