Work/Travel Participants & Taxes

Taxes J1 Participants Have to Pay:

  • Federal Income Taxes
  • State Income Taxes
  • City Income Taxes

Taxes J1 Participants Do Not Have to Pay:

  • Social Security & Medicare Tax (FICA)
  • Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)

US Income Tax

As a Host Employer, you are required by law to withhold income tax from your student employee’s salary. Salary withholdings should be taken for Federal Income Tax and, depending on regional laws, State and Local Income Taxes as well.

Help your students fill out their W4 Form after they arrive. We recommend that students mark their status as “Single” and claim zero to avoid owing additional taxes later.

Work/Travel Students MUST pay US Income Tax. Failure to do so could result in an outstanding debt to the US Government, creating big problems for them in the future. When the student’s first pay check is issued, please be prepared to answer questions about US Tax Laws and deductions.

If you have further questions about withholding from a J1 Participant’s paycheck, we recommend seeking the advice of an accountant or tax professional. The IRS website (,,id=199675,00.html) also provides additional, detailed information on the Tax Status for the Work/Travel Program.

Information on Student Tax Return Filing Procedures:

J1 Work/Travel Students must file taxes with the IRS by April 15th, just like everyone else. Please provide them with their W2 Forms by mail to their home country addresses. We strongly recommend that you confirm their correct home mailing address prior to their departure. Remember that International shipping takes additional time so please plan accordingly. If you have Winter Season students, they will need W2 Forms for both years they worked with you. If your students ask you about how to file their tax returns, you may direct them to – this company has partnered with AWA to help our students file their taxes correctly and easily.

More Info