How to Complete Your Nonresident PhD Trainee Tax Return (and Understand It, Too!)
(Tax Year 2023)
Taught by Dr. Emily Roberts
Do your international graduate students and postdocs come to you with questions and frustrations regarding their US tax returns...
But you are disallowed from and/or ill-equipped to address their concerns?
This external educational tax workshop is a solution.
The purpose of the workshop is to teach nonresident graduate students and postdocs how they, their income, and their education expenses are viewed by the IRS so that they can easily prepare an accurate tax return.
Ready to talk to Emily about sponsoring the workshop?
Who Takes This Workshop?
This workshop is for people who:
  • Are graduate students and/or postdocs in 2023 (part-year included)
  • Are in the US on an F-1 or J-1 visa
  • Are nonresidents for tax purposes *
  • Receive funding that pays them a stipend or salary
See the "Introduction" video at the bottom of this page for the full exploration of the characteristics of the intended participants.
* There are separate workshops other groupings of PhD trainees, which you can find through these links:
Who Sponsors This Workshop?
This workshop is usually sponsored by any of:
  • Graduate schools/offices and postdoc offices
  • Graduate student governments/associations and postdoc associations
  • Medical schools, engineering schools, etc.
  • International houses, etc.
How Does This Workshop Uniquely Serve Nonresident Graduate Students and Postdocs?
Preparing tax returns using tax software alone is not sufficient to give international graduate students and postdocs peace of mind that they have adequately fulfilled this unfamiliar obligation—at least, not for many PhD trainees.
Unsurprisingly, given their academic credentials: they want to understand their tax obligation, not just blindly plug numbers into software.
This educational tax workshop teaches nonresident graduate students and postdocs the information and context they need to:
  • Understand the tax forms they received
  • Determine whether they are nonresidents or residents for tax purposes
  • Look up what tax treaty benefits apply to them
  • Calculate their taxable income
  • Apply relevant deductions and credits
This workshop should be used in conjunction with tax software or a human tax preparer as it does not provide individualized tax advice. Its focus is on teaching nonresident PhD trainees the principles concerning federal income tax.
Ready to talk to Emily about sponsoring the workshop?
What Is Included in the Workshop?
The asynchronous workshop comprises:
13 videos with transcripts totaling one hour and fifty eight minutes, titled:
  • Hello
  • Objective
  • My Assumptions About You
  • General Background
  • Higher Education Background
  • Tax Return Preparation Methods
  • Determining Your Taxable Income
  • Resident or Nonresident?
  • Tax Treaties
  • Form 1040NR
  • Schedule OI
  • Form 8843
  • How to File Your Tax Return
5 worksheets
1 spreadsheet
Asynchronous Q&A opportunities where participants can ask questions at any time—all submitted questions are posted and answered in writing inside the workshop within a week
Here is a quote from an anonymous previous participant in a sister workshop regarding this format:
"I appreciated the different segments and that the workshop was tailored to someone in my position with the questions I have. I didn't feel any of the material in the workshop itself was unclear and it was easy to pick up and work through the videos at my own pace. I also really appreciated [Emily's] availability—it was really nice to know that if I had any questions, I could just ask [her] directly!"
Who Teaches the Workshop?
I'm Dr. Emily Roberts (she/her), the founder of Personal Finance for PhDs. I am a financial educator specializing in prospective graduate students, graduate students, postdocs, and early-career PhDs. I hold a PhD in biomedical engineering from Duke University.
Through Personal Finance for PhDs, I give live seminars for universities, provide pre-recorded workshops to universities and individuals, host a podcast, and run a membership community.
I struggled to complete my own tax returns during grad school and grew curious about the unique treatments of various types of funding. After I defended, I threw myself into studying the tax benefits and drawbacks related to higher education-related income and expenses.
While I have taught higher education federal income tax content for citizens and residents for many years, the 2022 tax year was my first time teaching the material for non-residents.
What Is the Cost?

The cost of the workshop is $25 per person for the first 100 participants.

A discount will apply if you have more than 100 participants across all versions of this workshop (see FAQ below).

Ready to talk to Emily about sponsoring the workshop?
Frequently Asked Questions About This Workshop
When is the best time to offer the workshop?

I recommend setting up and advertising the workshop starting in mid-January and keeping it available until a few days after Tax Day.

Many people want to file their tax returns ASAP in January to receive their tax refunds, while many others procrastinate this task and won't get to it until April.

Even if you're finding this workshop for the first time later on in tax season, there's still time to offer it for those later filers! We can get the workshop set up very quickly on our end.

What is the volume discount structure?
  • Registrants 1-100: $25 each
  • Registrants 101-200: $20 each
  • Registrants 201-300: $15 each
  • Registrants 301+: $10 each

This volume discount applies across all the versions of How to Complete Your PhD Trainee Tax Return (and Understand It, Too!) that your office sponsors.

Can we host a live event instead?

I believe that this pre-recorded and asynchronous version of the tax workshop is superior to a fully live version because:

  • The video content is 100% scripted and therefore as complete, precise, and concise as possible—and I provide the script/transcript so the content can be read instead of watched.
  • The videos can be paused, replayed, or skipped as needed. This is particularly useful as it sometimes takes time to gather documents, look up fine print, and make calculations; a live event doesn't allow sufficient time for this.
  • A participant can access the workshop at the time that they feel motivated to complete it, whether at the beginning or end of tax season or in between.
  • The periodic live Q&A calls retain a live event's advantage of being able to ask questions of me, and I've observed that the questions are usually better because the participants have had time to reflect on the material.

While I won't present this material live during this tax season, you can create a live event for your students who prefer a group event. You can stream the videos sequentially in a group setting (in person or remote). I just ask that you make sure that everyone in attendance has joined the workshop through your registration page.

How can participants ask questions?

There is a form to submit questions in writing inside the workshop. Once very two weeks, I will address these questions in writing or verbally and post the answers inside the workshop.

Are state income taxes addressed in the workshop?

No, this workshop covers only federal income tax.

How will participants sign up?

I will create a unique registration link for your graduate students and postdocs that leads to a unique version of the workshop. I will bill you for the number of people who were added to your version of the workshop.

Can you send us the registration list?

Yes, we can easily export the registration list at any time and will send it to you upon your request. Please contact [email protected] with this request.

Can you send us any data on how the workshop is being used?

Yes, I have a tracking feature set up to tell what fraction of the workshop each participant has completed. (Keep in mind that the workshop was designed so that modules that are irrelevant to an individual are easily skipped!)

I am also tracking who submits written questions inside the workshop.

How do participants access the workshop?

I host the workshop files on my website, After a participant registers, they will receive their auto-generated login information. When they log in through, they will see a link for the workshop.

Can you limit the number of sign-ups to the number we want to pay for?

Yes, we can monitor the number of sign-ups and manually close registration when we see that you have reached your desired limit. The registration page can populate a waitlist instead if you want to continue to track the demand.

How do we pay for it?

Preferred: I will register as a vendor/supplier with your institution and invoice you for the number of registered participants to that date to be paid by check or direct deposit. I am already registered as a vendor with many universities.

Alternative: I will send you a customizable payments page, through which you can pay by credit card.

When will we be billed?

I will invoice you up to two times for this workshop.

The first invoice will be sent once enrollment reaches 50.

The second invoice will be sent after registration closes on April 19, 2024.

(This schedule is negotiable.)

Can we subsidize the cost of the workshop for our graduate students instead of paying for it in full?

Yes, you can choose what fraction of the $25 per person cost you will subsidize and what fraction will be the participant's contribution. I will still create a unique registration page and workshop copy. The participant will be charged up front the price you choose, and I will bill you later on for your portion based on the number of completed registrations.

For how long will participants retain access to the workshop?

The workshop files will remain available through the extended tax return filing deadline of October 15, 2024.

What other universities have sponsored this workshop?

In the 2022 tax season, How to Complete Your Nonresident PhD Trainee Tax Return (and Understand It, Too!) was purchased on behalf of graduate students and postdocs at:

  • Brandeis University
  • Duke University
  • University of Houston
  • Michigan State University
  • National Institutes of Health
  • University of Rhode Island
  • Scripps Research
  • Southern Methodist University
  • Vanderbilt University
Click here for a complete list of clients who have licensed one of my asynchronous tax workshops.
Have another quick question?

Feel free to email it to me: [email protected].

Since You've Read This Far...
Check out a sample of the course content (2023 version)!
Ready to talk to Emily about scheduling the workshop?