Archive for March, 2015

  • Tax Tip: Tax treaties and how they can help you save money at tax time

    The 2014 US tax season is OPEN, and you as an international student are also obliged to file a tax return.

    For most people, except for those who prefer U.S. taxation laws as a Sunday read, tax matters are so overwhelming and hard to understand that even the thought of tax return filing can deepen the usual tax time blues.

    It might be hard to believe it but tax return preparation can actually be stress-free and even easy. Below we have unveiled the power of tax treaties for non-resident international students and how they help you save some money at the tough tax times.

    The power of Tax treaties

    Many international students in U.S. can benefit from tax treaties between the United States and their home countries. If you have never heard of this, do not worry we are here to tell you!

    Tax treaties are specific agreements between USA and other countries. Currently the U.S. tax treaty network covers approximately 66 countries all over the world. Generally, under these tax treaties residents of foreign countries, including foreign students and scholars are taxed at a reduced tax rate and can benefit from exemptions on many different types and items of income. That is a great opportunity to save some money so make sure that you claim the treaty benefits you are eligible for.

    If you are wondering whether there is a tax treaty signed between your home country and the United States, why don’t you take a look at the map below to find out?

    new1Of course, there are a lot of requirements you should meet to be eligible to claim treaty exemptions. In general, they can be summarized in the following:

    • You should meet the treaty eligibility requirements. They vary among countries and specific items of income. For more info, check this:  IRS Publication 901 (pdf)
    •  You should have Social Security number or ITIN number
    •  You should complete the correct tax treaty exemption forms properly.

    If all this sounds too confusing for you – no worries, we can help you. If you use Sprintax software, you do not need to unravel the complicated provisions of the tax treaty – we do that for you! We will provide you with all the necessary (and correct!) tax treaty exemption forms that you have to fill in. Quick and easy.

    Register here to get started!

  • Top 5 Tax Myths International Students believe in – DEBUNKED!

    George Orwell once said: “Myths that are believed in tend to become true”.

    Well, there might be a grain of truth in what he said but not when it comes to taxes and the U.S. taxation laws.

    As an international student you are not supposed to know the US tax procedures concerning tax return filing by heart but at least you should be aware of the Top 5 tax myths that most international students tend to believe in. So do not walk around believing in “old wives’ tax tales and check the most common tax myths DEBUNKED here!

    Myth 1: Students are not obliged to file US tax return
    Busted: Regardless of the fact that you probably do not classify as an U.S. citizen or you have received no income throughout the previous year, you are required by the U.S. taxation law to file a tax return. Remember this!

    Myth 2: You can file your taxes any time during the year
    Busted: You should complete and submit your tax documents to the IRS by 15th of April for any income earned in the previous year. That means that tax returns for 2014 must be postmarked by 15th of April 2015.

    Myth 3: Not filing your tax return will not have any consequence for you
    Busted: Even if you haven’t earned any income and therefore you do not owe any money to IRS, not filing your taxes can still influence your future plans. You are obliged to file your tax return by the U.S. law and not complying with the law may affect your future visa applications. So why risk your visa status or even your permanent residency? Be sure to FILE your taxes!

    What’s more, if you have received any income during the tax year you could be entitled to get some of the taxes you paid back. If you do not file your tax return, you lose the opportunity to apply for your tax refund and get some extra money. Not to mention the penalties that IRS can impose on you.

    Myth 4: Non-resident students can avail of same tax credits and deductions as the residents
    Busted:Unlike resident aliens who avail of the same tax benefits which are available to the U.S. citizens, non-resident aliens cannot claim the same tax credits and deductions; such as filing a tax return online or education credits, for instance.

    But you can still be eligible to take advantage of ‘tax treaties’ signed between the United States and your home country, so make sure you check this. Sprintax has all credits and tax treaties relevant to non-resident international students already built in making Sprintax the easy option for tax filing for non-residents.

    Myth 5: You can file electronically
    Busted: Unlike the U.S. residents, the non-residents for tax purposes cannot file their tax return electronically. And by “electronically” we mean that you cannot submit your documents to IRS electronically. You can however rely on the help of an online tax preparation tool as Sprintax to help you with the complicated tax documents (and you better do!) but once done, you should print and post them to IRS.

    You have more burning questions for taxes? No worries, contact our great team- they got all the answers!