Archive for May, 2016

  • 10 Quick Tax Tips!

    us tax tips

    Studying in the US? You’re required by US taxation law to file a tax return so here are 10 tips to help your taxes go smoothly!

     

    1.You should submit your tax documents to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) by 15 April for any income earned in the previous year (the 15 April deadline may be extended to accommodate holidays or weather conditions).

     

    2. You may be able to take advantage of a ‘tax treaty’ between the US and your home country, so make sure you check this as it could mean you pay less tax! Sprintax can also check for this when you apply.

     

    3. As a non-resident alien, even if you don’t need to file a US income tax return, you still must file a Form 8843.

     

    4. Students in F-1 and J-1 status are generally considered Non Resident Aliens (NRAs) for the first 5 years in student status, including the tax year (January 1 – December 3). In the 6th year, they become a resident for tax purposes. Scholars in J-1 status are typically considered NRAs for the first 2 years (for example, scholars who arrived in 2015 or later are non-residents for the 2016 tax year).

     

    5. If you have any source of US income, you must declare it on your US tax return.

    Sources of income include:

    • On-campus/off-campus employment
    • Scholarship/fellowship grants/stipends
    • Graduate or teaching assistantships
    • Salary for a teaching or research appointment

     

    6. Documents you’ll need for your US tax return:

    • Passport
    • Visa info (Form DS-2019 or Form I-20)
    • Your Tax Identification Number or Social Security Number (not required if you’re just filling Form 8843)
    • All U.S. entry and exit dates

     

    7. You’ll also need certain tax forms:

    • Your W-2: This form reports your income earned from your employer
    • 1042-S: This reports scholarships, fellowships, grants paid to you.

     

    8. You can still file your tax return after the April deadline and don’t worry about penalties and fines if you have no tax liability. However if you own money to the IRS, you may incur late filing fees and/or penalties.

     

    9. You cannot file your non-resident tax return online, but Sprintax can help you fill in all the information online and will give you instructions on where to mail it.

     

    10. Need to file a US tax return? To get started with your U.S. tax return, click here to create an account!

  • Form 8843 Explained

    Form 8843 US tax

    As a non-resident alien, even if you don’t need to file a US income tax return, you still must file a Form 8843. So what’s it all about?

    What is a Form 8843?

    8843

    (extract of form)

    A Form 8843 ‘’Statement for Exempt Individuals with a Medical Condition” is not an income tax return, it is a statement you file for the US Government if you are a certain non-resident alien (including spouses/dependents of certain non-resident aliens).

     

    Who must file a Form 8843?

    Non-residents aliens in the US under F-1, J-1, or J-2 non-immigrant status are required to file a Form 8843, even if you had no income in the previous tax year.

     

    You must file a Form 8843 if:

    • You were present in the US in the previous tax year
    • You are a non-resident alien
    • And you are in the US under F-1, F-2 or J-2 status.

     

    Even if you don’t need to file an income tax return, you should file the Form 8843 if the above criteria apply.

     

    How do I fill it in?

    Here is the Form.

    Part 1:

    • Fill in your details accurately including your name as it appears on your passport.

     

    • If you have a social security number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number you should include it. You generally don’t need an SSN or ITIN to file a Form 8843 but if you have been assigned one, you must include it on Form 8843. The exception to this is for those who can be claimed as dependents on a US tax return. These dependents must have either an SSN or ITIN.

     

    • Enter the type of visa you’re on in the US (F-1, J-1, etc.).

     

    • Enter your current non-immigrant status, unless this has changed since you entered the US. In this case you should also enter the date your change of status was approved.

     

    • Enter the number of days you were present in the US in the last 3 calendar years.

     

    • In the box on the substantial presence test, enter the number of days that you were in the US in the tax year.

     

    Part 2

    For teachers and trainees, answer the questions according to your personal circumstances and include the details of what academic institution or programme you were involved in the previous year.

     

    Part 3

    If you are an F-1, J-1 (and dependents), you should fill in this section.

    • Include details of the academic institution or programme
    • Answer the rest of the questions according to your personal circumstances

     

    Part IV and V

    These parts don’t apply to those in the US on F or J non-immigrant status so you don’t need to fill these in.