Tax Filing Requirement for 2018 and future years
Starting in 2018, all non-residents that have US earnings will be required to file a Federal income tax return regardless of the amount earned. It is very important that the employers are withholding the correct amount of taxes (10% of the first $9,525 in earnings). If less is withheld, then the J-1 participant will owe additional Federal taxes when they file their tax return and will need to pay the balance due when filing the return.
State income taxes
If the J-1 participant is working in a State that has state income taxes withheld, there may be State income taxes that are refundable. The amount varies by State. To obtain a refund of State taxes, a Federal tax return must first be filed, and a copy submitted with the State income tax return. In cases where State income taxes have been withheld, that will result in a small Federal tax refund as the State income tax is deductible on the Federal tax return. The amount of the State tax refund will vary by State as each State has their own tax laws.