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  • Revealed: the 14 US tax questions every nonresident student asks us!

    How to file a nonresident tax return with Sprintax

    Are you a nonresident student in America? Do you find US tax to be confusing?

    Don’t worry, you’re not alone!

    Even for the most financially savvy US citizen, American tax can be pretty tricky.

    At Sprintax, we offer a 24/7 live chat service. Our chat team are on hand to guide our customers and answer all of their tax questions throughout the prep-process.

    Following the close of the 2018 tax season, we thought it would be a good idea to run the numbers on the most common questions our team have received throughout the year and answer them here in this handy blog!

    So without further ado we can now reveal (and answer) the 14 most common US tax questions our customers ask us.

    (1) What is the difference between being resident and nonresident for tax in the US?

    If you’re not a US citizen, you will be considered a ‘nonresident alien’ for tax unless you meet the green card test or the substantial presence test. Resident aliens are taxed on all of their income as if they were a US citizen. For a nonresident alien, only income that is generated from sources within the US (excluding certain investments) is taxed.

    Confused about your residency? Sprintax will review your circumstances and determine your residency status for you.

    (2) What is dual-status residency?

    You are a ‘dual status alien’ when you have been both a US resident alien and a nonresident alien in the same tax year. Dual status does not refer to your citizenship, only to your resident status for tax purposes in the US. Based on the information you provide, Sprintax will correctly determine your residency status and inform you if you are a resident or dual-status resident. If you are considered a nonresident for tax purposes you will be able to complete your return with Sprintax.

    (3) What is the difference between residency for Federal tax purposes and for State tax purposes?

    State residency is not the same as Federal residency. Even if you are a nonresident for Federal tax purposes you may be considered resident for State tax purposes. Sprintax correctly determines your residency status based on the information provided in your account.

    The procedure for establishing State tax residency varies from State-to-State. Most States will look at a list of residency factors such as domicile (permanent residency), or the day counting rule. Owning a home, family location and financial interests are other factors which help determine residency. Depending on your circumstances, you can be considered a resident of the State in which you currently live, but still be considered domiciled in another State or country to which you intend to return.

    (4) I’m a nonresident studying in the US. Do I need to report foreign income for my Federal income tax return?

    As a nonresident you are not required to report income from sources outside the US on your US Federal tax return. However, some States may require you to report foreign employment income on your State return.

    (5) I’m a nonresident studying in the US. Should I use a 1098-T when preparing my tax return?

    No! Form 1098-T reports qualified scholarships and relevant expenses in relation to the education credits that are available for US citizens and residents only. Nonresident aliens are not eligible for these credits even if they receive a Form 1098-T. The IRS regulations State that, although no Form 1098-T is required for nonresidents, education institutions may create the form for all students for administrative purposes.

    (6) Should I file a separate return for each employer I had during the year?

    No! You should not submit separate returns for each employer you had during the year. Instead, every W-2 (and/or any other income document that you received during the year) should be reported on the same tax return.

    With Sprintax you will be able to report all your payment documents on one tax return. Simply choose the type of document(s) you have (W-2, 1042-S, 1099, etc.) and for each document type select the relevant quantity of documents.

    If, for example you had two employers you should select W-2 as the document type and ‘2’ as quantity.

    (7) What’s the difference between active and passive income?

    You receive active income in exchange for a service you have performed. It can include wages, tips, salaries, commissions and income from businesses in which there is material participation. Passive Income is earnings you receive from a rental property, limited partnership or other enterprise in which you are not actively involved.

    (8) What is a tax treaty?

    A tax treaty is an agreement between two countries regarding how they tax each other’s citizens. Residents of foreign countries that have tax treaties with the US are taxed at a reduced rate or are exempt from paying US taxes altogether. The reduced rates and exemptions vary widely among the countries that have tax treaties with the US.

    student j1 tax refund US

    (9) Who is eligible for a tax treaty?

    Each treaty has a variety of terms and clauses that will affect whether or not you can claim an exemption from paying tax. Your entitlement to avail of a tax treaty depends on a number of factors including nationality, length and purpose of stay, type of income, employment type and more. When you enter all your information in Sprintax, it will automatically determine whether you’re eligible to avail of a tax treaty. And make the appropriate calculations on your tax return.

    (10) What happens if I don’t file a compliant US tax return?

    It’s vital to comply with US tax law especially if you would like to visit the US in future. If you do not file a correct tax return you may end up having to pay some unwanted fines or penalties.

    (11) How much tax is deducted in the US?

    There are two types of income tax in the US – Federal and State. Federal tax is progressive. In other words, the more you earn the more tax will be deducted from your pay by your employer. For example, all nonresidents must pay 10% in Federal income tax up to $9,525. And if you earn more than this amount, you must pay 12% in income tax on the amount between $9,525 and $38,700. The amount of State tax that you pay depends largely on where you earn the income, as tax rates differ from State-to-State.

    (12) Am I entitled to a tax refund?

    Yes, there is a very good chance that you’ll be entitled to a tax refund. The average State tax refund for a Sprintax customer is $175. But remember, in order to receive your refund you will need to file a tax return. It’s your money. So file your return and claim your cash!

    student j1 tax refund US

    (13) Tax is so boring! What’s the easiest way to file a return?

    The easiest way to file a tax return is to choose Sprintax!

    Sprintax is the only online self-prep tax software for nonresidents in the US. When you choose Sprintax, you can enjoy a stress-free service from start to finish. Plus, if you have any questions, our live chat team are on hand 24/7 to support you.

    (14) What is the benefit of filing my tax return with Sprintax?

    When you create your account, the Sprintax software will assist you in preparing fully compliant Federal and State tax returns. Sprintax will also enable you to receive your maximum legal tax refund. Sprintax is the ‘go-to’ tax filing software for numerous major universities in the US including NYU, Columbia, Arizona State University, Illinois Institute of Technology and Cornell. We’re also the nonresident partner of choice for Turbo Tax.

    Prepare your nonresident tax return the easy way. Choose Sprintax

  • Which nationality claimed the largest US tax refund in 2019? The results are in!

    Nonresident Tax returns Sprintax

    At Sprintax we specialize in US tax prep and securing tax refunds for international students and J-1 program participants.

    But just how many tax returns do we prepare each year? And how much money can our customers claim in tax refunds?

    With tax season 2018 firmly behind us, we thought this would be a good time to crunch some numbers and find out!

    Here’s what we found…

    The Sprintax top 10!

    Indian and Chinese students top our 2018 tax prep list. In fact, we prepared over 85,000 US tax returns for Indian and Chinese students alone!

    You can see our the full tax prep list below.

    nonresidnet tax prep Sprintax

    Federal and State Tax refunds

    Indian, Chinese and Canadian students top our table of ‘highest Federal tax refunds’.

    On average, Indian students were entitled to claim back $1,391 in Federal tax. Chinese students were due $1,016 and a Canadian student could claim $1,304.

    Not bad after a busy college year!

    Meanwhile, the average Canadian student was also entitled to claim $724 in State tax refunds. It was common for British students to claim as much as $425 back in State tax. And Chinese students were due $526.

    You can see the full tables here:

    Nonresident federal tax refunds Sprintax

    Nonresident state tax returns Sprintax

     

    Missed the tax deadline?

    Every international student in the US is required to file a tax return.

    If you’re a nonresident studying in America and you didn’t file a tax return on April 15, Sprintax can help you!

    Should you file a tax return?

    There are three reasons why you should file your US tax return.

    1. Not only is filing a tax return your legal obligation, it’s also one of the conditions of your visa
    2. If you don’t file a tax return you may be hit with fines and penalties – the sooner you file the less you’ll have to pay!
    3. By not filing your tax return, you can severely jeopardize your chances of securing a US visa or Green Card in the future

    It’s also important to note that if you’re entitled to a tax refund (and judging from our table above, many students are!), you will not have to pay any penalties for filing your tax return late.

    See more information about filing a tax return late here

    Why choose Sprintax?

    Sprintax is the ‘go-to’ tax preparation software for numerous major universities in the US including, Columbia University, Arizona State University, Illinois Institute of Technology and Cornell University.  We’re also the nonresident partner of choice for TurboTax and the only online Federal and State self-prep tax software for nonresidents in the US.

    • Save time and stress!
    • Determine your tax residency status
    • Prepare a fully compliant US tax return
    • Maximize your State tax refund
    • Avail of our 24/7 Vita Qualified Live Chat facility

    Prepare your US tax return today!

     

  • Utilizar TurboTax para reclamar tu reembolso de impuestos J1 es ilegal

    Testimonial image for Sprintax

    Es difícil imaginar algo peor que el IRS (Internal Revenue Service, Servicio de Ingresos Internos) después de la experiencia J1 de tu vida.

    Sin embargo, esto es exactamente lo que puede suceder si presentas una declaración de impuestos incorrecta de Estados Unidos.

    Si trabajaste en Estados Unidos con una visa J1, entonces es probable que estés legalmente obligado a presentar tu declaración de impuestos en Estados Unidos hasta el 15 de abril como fecha límite.

    TurboTax logo

    Entonces, por ejemplo, si te encuentras con una J1 en 2018, tendrás tiempo para presentar tu declaración de impuestos hasta el 15 de abril de 2019. Si presentas tu declaración de impuestos de Estados Unidos de manera correcta, no tendrás ningún problema más adelante. Esto es importante si alguna vez deseas regresar a Estados Unidos con otra visa o por vacaciones.

    Si te encuentras en Estados Unidos con una visa J1, se te considerará no residente para efectos fiscales y por ende debes presentar una declaración como no residente.

     

    Los residentes en Estados Unidos pueden preparar y presentar su declaración de impuestos de Estados Unidos con el servicio de preparación de impuestos en línea más grande del país, TurboTax. TurboTax ofrece a los residentes en Estados Unidos una guía sobre sus impuestos y les garantiza el máximo reembolso. TurboTax ofrece un excelente servicio en línea que ayuda a millones de residentes en Estados Unidos a preparar su declaración de impuestos y reclamar los reembolsos. Es muy sencillo de usar, sin embargo TurboTax es un servicio para residentes en Estados Unidos únicamente, es por ello que no será adecuado para ti si has estado en Estados Unidos con una visa J1. Sprintax es el socio preferido de TurboTax para los no residentes que se encuentren con una visa J1.

    TurboTax es un servicio para residentes en Estados Unidos únicamente.

    Y como estudiante J1 generalmente serás considerado no residente para fines fiscales.

    Si usas TurboTax para presentar tu declaración de impuestos de Estados Unidos, terminarás haciéndolo como residente. Al ser titular de una visa J1 no residente, tu declaración de impuestos será incorrecta y ¡podrías tener problemas más adelante!

    trouble meme

     

    Al ser titular de una visa J1, NO deberías presentar una declaración como residente.

    TurboTax y cualquier otro servicio de preparación de declaración de impuestos para residentes supondrán que tu conoces tu estado de residencia, entonces, si presentas una declaración de impuestos utilizando sus servicios, podrías hacerlo involuntariamente como residente. Y si presentas una declaración inexacta, el IRS podría investigarte e imponerte multas y sanciones.

    Una de las participantes J1, la estudiante de finanzas Sofía García, de Venezuela, experimentó la rigurosidad del IRS cuando presentó su declaración como residente a través de TurboTax:

    De mayo a septiembre de 2017, Sofía trabajó como ayudante, limpiando mesas en The Surf Lodge en Montauk, Nueva York. Una amiga le sugirió TurboTax como la solución perfecta para presentar su declaración de impuestos. Desafortunadamente, Sofía presentó su declaración utilizando TurboTax a pesar de no ser residente a efectos fiscales.

    Unos meses después, en Venezuela, recibió una carta del IRS en la que se le pedía que confirmara su identidad.

    Si Sofía hubiese preparado su declaración de impuestos con el socio fiscal para no residentes de TurboTax, Sprintax, su declaración de impuestos de Estados Unidos se habría presentado sin inconvenientes. Ella tampoco tendría que haber esperado para reclamar su reembolso de impuestos. Por ejemplo, el reembolso promedio de impuestos estatales para el estado de Nueva York es actualmente de €464,18 

    Sofía recurrió a nosotros en busca de ayuda, así que procedimos a realizar una enmienda en su presentación de declaración de impuestos de Estados Unidos; el IRS podría tardar 6 meses o más en procesar la misma, lo que significa que tendrá que esperar mucho más para obtener los reembolsos.

    ¡Sofía no cometerá ese error nuevamente!

     

    Entonces, si presento una declaración de impuestos inexacta, ¿tendré problemas?

    Reclamar un reembolso al que no tienes derecho se considera evasión de impuestos, lo cual es un crimen.

    Si te atrapan, puede que tengas que pagar multas e intereses. También puedes tener problemas para volver a entrar a Estados Unidos o solicitar una Green card.

    No importa si lo realizas tú mismo o si alguna compañía lo hace por ti; si se presenta una declaración de impuestos fraudulenta en tu nombre, tú serás responsable.

    Y lo peor es que tal vez ni siquiera te des cuenta de que has quebrantado las leyes.

    “No saber” no es una excusa para el IRS.

    Entonces, una de las cosas más importantes es asegurarte de que presentes tu declaración utilizando el estado fiscal correcto, y si utilizas un preparador de impuestos, elije uno de buena reputación como Sprintax.

     

    ¡Podrías reclamar compensaciones, exenciones y créditos a los que no tienes derecho!

    Si presentas tu solicitud como residente, podrías reclamar compensaciones, exenciones o créditos a los que no tienes derecho. Esto podría resultar en un reembolso mayor. Sin embargo, como no residente no tendrás derecho a muchos de estos y deberás devolverlos al IRS si así te lo demandan.

    Esto podría significar que debas pagar una considerable factura fiscal.

    El Crédito Tributario de la Oportunidad Americana, del inglés The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), es un buen ejemplo de esto. Nos hemos encontrado con casos de estudiantes J1 que reclaman incorrectamente este crédito como un “bono de $1000”.

    Por otro lado, si alguien te dice que puede reclamar esto como un participante J1 no residente, es falso.

    El AOTC solo se encuentra disponible bajo condiciones estrictas.

    Un titular de la visa J1 no puede hacer uso del AOTC a menos que hayan transcurrido 6 años como estudiante o 3 años para todas las demás categorías en Estados Unidos y sea considerado residente a efectos fiscales. También debe encontrarse estudiando en Estados Unidos.

    Si lo reclama incorrectamente, terminará debiendo dinero al IRS, lo cual podría afectar sus solicitudes de visa futuras.

     

    Si presento una declaración de impuestos incorrecta, ¿qué sucede si hay una auditoría?

    El IRS puede auditar tus impuestos en cualquier momento dentro de un límite de tiempo de 3 años después de que hayas presentado tu declaración de impuestos. La mayoría de las personas considera que la posibilidad de una auditoría es estresante.

    Así que cuanta más ayuda obtengas, mejor.

    Si te seleccionan para una auditoría y te encuentras en problemas, Sprintax.com puede ayudarte a presentar una enmienda en tu declaración de impuestos de Estados Unidos.

     

    ¡Aquí es donde todo se volvió un problema!

    ¿Cómo evito problemas con el IRS?

    La forma más fácil de presentar tu declaración de impuestos para no residentes y permanecer del lado correcto del IRS es presentarla con Sprintax.

    Como socio autorizado de TurboTax, la preparación de impuestos J1 con Sprintax está específicamente diseñada para no residentes que presentan la declaración de impuestos de Estados Unidos. Sprintax es un servicio de autopreparación, lo que significa que puedes crear una cuenta aquí y preparar tu declaración de impuestos federales y estatales respondiendo algunas preguntas simples en línea.

     

    Así es cómo funciona:

    1. Crea una cuenta Sprintax aquí.
    2. Responde algunas simples preguntas.
    3. Carga cualquier documento requerido, como el formulario W2.
    4. Preparamos tu declaración de impuestos federales/estatales totalmente en conformidad con la ley.
    5. Deberás pagar una tarifa en línea de $35,95 por la declaración federal o $25,95 por la declaración estatal.
    6. Te indicaremos a dónde enviar tu declaración de impuestos.
    7. Imprime y envía (preséntala) al IRS según nuestras instrucciones.

     

    ¡También es esencial que respondas con honestidad cada pregunta!

    ¿Cuál es el beneficio de presentar mi declaración de impuestos?

    Un cumplimiento del 100% es probablemente el beneficio más importante de presentar una declaración de impuestos correcta.

    ¡Y si tienes derecho a un reembolso, es un plus!

    Debido a la Ley de Recortes de Impuestos y Empleos en 2017, ahora es más importante que nunca presentar tu declaración de impuestos de Estados Unidos.

    A partir del 1 de enero de 2018 (y hasta 2025) la exención personal se redujo de $4050 a $0, lo cual significa que el ingreso tributable general ha aumentado para todos los no residentes.

    Entonces, si trabajas en Estados Unidos desde 2018, debes presentar una declaración de impuestos, no importa cuánto ganes. Y si trabajaste allí en años anteriores, ¡deberías presentar una solicitud para averiguar cuánto puedes reclamar!

    La eliminación de la exención personal también significa una reducción de los reembolsos de impuestos federales para la mayoría de los no residentes.

    Es importante destacar que estas enmiendas no afectan al año 2017 (y años anteriores). Es decir, si trabajaste en Estados Unidos antes de 2018, podrías tener derecho a percibir un reembolso de impuestos federales.

     

    El reembolso promedio de Estados Unidos es actualmente de $800

    Las modificaciones no impactan en tu reembolso estatal, sin importar de qué año sea la presentación de declaración de impuestos que hagas.

    Para reclamar tu reembolso de impuestos estatales, primero debes presentar tu declaración de impuestos federales antes de presentar los estatales.

    ¿En pocas palabras?

    Estás legalmente obligado a presentar una declaración de impuestos y existe la posibilidad de que obtengas un reembolso de impuestos.

     

    ¿Y ahora qué?

    Si trabajaste en Estados Unidos en 2017 o en años anteriores, debes presentar tu declaración de impuestos tan pronto como sea posible. Puede que se te haya pasado la fecha límite, pero si te corresponde un reembolso, aún tienes la posibilidad de reclamar ese dinero.

    Si trabajaste en Estados Unidos en 2018, entonces la fecha límite para presentar la declaración es el 15 de abril de 2019.

    La forma más sencilla de hacerlo es utilizando Sprintax.

    Nuestro servicio de preparación de declaración de impuestos para no residentes te ayudará a preparar tus declaraciones de impuestos federales y estatales en minutos y te guiará a través del proceso de presentación.

    Con Sprintax obtienes:

    • Una declaración de impuestos de Estados Unidos 100% en conformidad con la ley.
    • Una comprobación de tu estado de residencia.
    • Información sobre cualquier acuerdo fiscal aplicable para reducir una obligación fiscal o aumentar un reembolso.
    • Disponibilidad de asignaciones personales, créditos y deducciones fiscales.
    • Ayuda en un chat las 24 horas en vivo.
    • Reclamaciones de cualquier reembolso de impuestos que corresponda.

     

    Más de 500 000 no residentes que trabajaron en Estados Unidos ya han utilizado Sprintax.

    Relájate y crea tu cuenta aquí ahora para comenzar a preparar tu declaración de impuestos de Estados Unidos.





  • Made an error on your tax return? Don’t worry, fixing it is not as difficult as you might think

    How to Amend your US tax return

    With Sprintax, you can now prepare amended tax returns for the 2017 and 2018 tax years easily online!

    US tax can be tricky – especially if you’re a nonresident who is not familiar with the American tax system.

    And it’s pretty easy to make a mistake on your tax return. In fact, there are a plethora of different reasons why a tax return can be viewed as ‘incorrect’ or ‘incomplete’ in the eyes of the IRS – from forgetting to sign a form to misreporting income or incorrectly calculating a deduction.

    While making a mistake on your return is not necessarily a big deal, it is important that you rectify the situation by filing an amended tax return, where appropriate.

    In this blog we’ll cover:

    • When you should amend your tax return
    • When’s there’s no need to
    • And how you can easily file an amended tax return

    Let’s get started.

    Prepare your Form 1040X with Sprintax

    Need help amending your US tax return

    When not to amend your tax return

    Firstly, it’s important to note that there are some instances where it is not necessary to amend your tax return.

    For example, if you make a math error on your return, the IRS will usually correct it themselves without the need for you to file further paperwork.

    Plus, if you forgot to include a particular form with your return, the IRS will write to you to request the missing item so that they can finish processing your tax return.

    In other words, when you receive a notice about an error, there will usually be other ways to correct errors besides an amended tax return.

    When you should file an amended tax return

    At this point it’s important to mention that, if you file an incorrect tax return, you should not file another original Form 1040NR tax return. This will only cause confusion and further problems for you.

    Instead, you should file an amended tax return form.

    While not every mistake on a tax return requires an amendment, you should amend your tax return if you need to:

    Correct your income and tax figures

    Filing your US tax return online

    If you didn’t include all your payment documents when preparing your return or if you receive additional tax documents for the tax year, (such as if a Form W-2 arrives after the tax deadline), you need to file an amended tax return to report the additional income and tax.

    Claim all of the allowable tax deductions or tax credits

    If you did not claim tax deductions or credits that you were entitled to, you should amend your tax return in order to avail of them.

    Correct your filing status

    For example, if your filed as a single individual but actually got married on the last day of the tax year, you will need to amend your return by filing your taxes under the appropriate status – married filing jointly or married filing separately (note: nonresidents can only file as ‘married filing separately’).

    Correct the number of dependents claimed for on your return

    An amended return will be required if you want to claim additional dependents, or you have claimed for ineligible dependents.

    The general IRS rule states that a nonresident alien, whether single or married, may claim only one personal exemption, as long as they are not claimed as a dependent on any other US tax return.

    There are some exceptions to the general rule which allow specific groups of taxpayers to claim dependent exemptions for their family members:

    • Residents of Canada or Mexico
    • Residents of the Republic of Korea
    • Residents of India

    You can check out if you qualify to claim an additional exemption for your dependent here.

    Need a hand filing your amended tax return? Contact Sprintax today!

    How to Amend a Tax Return That You Filed

    You should file a Form 1040X in order to amend the federal income tax return that you filed previously.

    The Form 1040X is two pages long and you are only required to include new or updated information. You will also find a space where you can write an explanation as to why you are amending your return.

    Once you complete the form, you’ll have to mail it to the IRS along with all of the required supporting documents. Amended returns are only filed on paper. The normal processing time for a Form 1040X, is between 8 and 12 weeks from the time the IRS receives your tax return.

    If you are amending for more than one tax year, you will need file Form 1040X for each tax year separately.

    Many people find the prospect of dealing with the IRS and amending their tax return to be quite daunting. But if you find US tax to be confusing, and you’d like a hand preparing your amended tax return, Sprintax can help you!

    By creating a Sprintax account, you can easily prepare amended tax returns for the 2017 and 2018 tax years online.

    Plus, if you’ve got any questions about US tax, our team are on hand 24/7 to help you.

    Amend your US tax return the easy way today!

    Here’s what our system looks like!

    Amending a tax return with Sprintax

    Amending tax returns and your tax refund

    If you are filing an amended tax return in order to claim an additional refund, you’ll have to wait until you have received your original tax refund before filing your Form 1040X.

    In order to receive an extra tax refund, you must generally file your amended tax return within three years (or within two years after the date you paid the tax – whichever is later).

    Amending tax return tax refund

    If your amended return shows you owe more tax than you reported on your original return, you’ll likely owe additional interest and penalties too. This is why you should file your amended tax return and pay the liability as soon as possible in order to minimise any penalties.

    In other words, the sooner you correct the error, the less interest you’ll pay!

    Subscribe to the Sprintax Blog!

    US tax can be confusing. Especially for nonresidents!

    That’s why, if you’re an International Student or J-1 participant in the US, or you work in a University International Student Office, you should subscribe to the Sprintax blog.

    You’ll find tons of useful content for nonresidents. We cover tax, student life, acclimatizing to the US and much more.

    So what are you waiting for? Sign up today and never miss a thing!





  • Missed the US tax deadline? Here’s what to do

    Filing your tax return late Sprintax

    Tax season is over for another year (phew!).

    Every international student or J-1 participant in the US was obliged to file a tax return before the 15 April deadline.

    But what happens if you didn’t file your return? What should you do next?

    Filing late

    Firstly it’s important to note that, by not filing your tax return, you can severely jeopardise your chances of securing a US visa or Green Card in the future.

    The second point to keep in mind is that failure to file a tax return may result in you being hit with fines or penalties.

    There are two different types of penalties that you may be subjected to – late filing and late payment.

    The late filing fees are much more significant than the late payment costs. That’s why it’s a good idea to file your tax return as soon as you can, even if you’re not in a position to pay your tax bill.

    Simply put, the sooner you file, the less you’ll have to pay in penalties.

    US tax return prep

    US tax late filing & payment penalties

    • A failure-to-file penalty may apply if you did not file by the deadline. Similarly a failure-to-pay penalty may also apply if you did not pay all of the taxes you owe by the tax filing deadline.
    • The failure-to-file penalty is generally more severe than the failure-to-pay penalty. This is why you should file your tax return on time each year, even if you’re not able to pay all the taxes you owe by the due date.
    • The penalty for filing late is normally 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month (or part month) that a tax return is late. That penalty starts accruing the day after the tax filing due date and will not exceed 25% of your unpaid taxes.
    • If you do not pay your taxes by the tax deadline, you will normally face a failure-to-pay penalty of 0.5% of your unpaid taxes. That penalty applies for each month or part of a month after the due date and starts accruing the day after the tax-filing due date.
    • If both the 5% failure-to-file penalty and the 0.5% failure-to-pay penalties apply in any month, the maximum penalty that you’ll pay for both is 5%.
    • If you file your return more than 60 days after the due date or extended due date, the minimum penalty is $135 or 100% of the unpaid tax (whichever is less).

    So what should you do if you can’t afford to pay your outstanding tax liability in full?

    Firstly, you should pay as much as you can when you’re filing your tax return. This way you can minimize any penalties and interest charges imposed.

    Next, you can contact the IRS and request a payment plan or installment agreement which will allow you to pay your tax bill in set amounts every month.

    To establish a payment plan, simply apply online with the IRS payment agreement.

    Avoid US tax penalties and fines

    Due a tax refund?

    If you’re entitled to a tax refund, you will not have to pay any penalties for filing your tax return late.

    You have until 14 April 2022 (15 October 2022 with an extension) to file a 2018 tax return if you are due a refund for that tax year.

    If you don’t file by then, the US Treasury will keep your hard earned money!

    Double check your State’s tax deadline

    Did you know that not every State has their tax deadline set for 15 April?

    If you’re obliged to submit a tax return for any of the following states, you’ll still have time to meet the deadline.

    • Iowa – April 30th 2019
    • Virginia – May 1st 2019
    • Louisiana – May 15th 2019

    How to tell if you owe money to the IRS or you’re due a tax refund

    Easy US tax filing

    Sprintax is the only online Federal and State self-prep tax software for nonresidents in the US.

    We take the stress out of US tax prep. Our system will assist you in preparing fully compliant Federal and State tax returns and also enable you to use any tax deduction and benefits you’re entitled to and maximize your legal tax refund.

    The average State tax refund that Sprintax customers received last year was $328.

    How Sprintax will help you?

    When you create your Sprintax account you’ll be asked a few easy questions. Once you complete the short form, you will then be able to download your fully completed and compliant 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ (nonresident tax return) based on the information you provided.

    Sprintax is also the ‘go-to’ tax preparation software for numerous major universities in the US including, Columbia University, Arizona State University, Illinois Institute of Technology and Cornell University.  We’re also the nonresident partner of choice for TurboTax.

    With Sprintax you can:

    • Save time and stress!
    • Determine your residency status
    • Prepare a fully compliant US tax return
    • Maximize your State tax refund
    • Avail of our 24/7 Vita Qualified Live Chat facility

    Prepare your US tax return today!

    Subscribe to the Sprintax Blog!

    US tax can be confusing. Especially for nonresidents!

    That’s why, if you’re an International Student or J-1 participant in the US, or you work in a University International Student Office, you should subscribe to the Sprintax blog.

    You’ll find tons of useful content for nonresidents. We cover tax, student life, acclimatizing to the US and much more.

    So what are you waiting for? Sign up today and never miss a thing!





  • Where’s My Tax Refund?

    USA flag and American dollars. American flag blowing in the wind and 100 dollars banknotes in the background. USA flag and American dollars. American flag blowing in the wind and 100 dollars banknotes in the background

    Filed your tax return and wondering where your refund is? Here’s how you can keep up to speed with your refund

    Phew! The tricky part is over.

    With your tax return safely filed, you’re probably wondering ‘how long will it be before I receive my tax refund?’

    Fortunately you can now get information about your tax refund online.

    Here’s what you need to know…

    Your Federal tax refund 

    Generally the IRS advises that you will have to wait 4 to 6 weeks after you mail your return before you receive your money.

    If you would like to keep updated with the status of your Federal tax refund, you can do so by using the IRS’ online “Where’s My Refund?” tool.

    The system will ask you for the following:

    • Your Social Security Number, or your Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
    • Your filing status (Single or Married Filing Separate Return for non-residents)
    • The exact dollar refund amount shown on your tax return

    It’s a good idea to have a copy of your federal tax return on hand so you can easily enter the required information.

    You can also check the status of your refund over the phone by calling one of the following numbers:

    • The IRS Refund Hotline – 800-829-1954. This number, available 24/7, is specifically for calls regarding tax refunds.
    • The IRS TeleTax system – 800-829-4477. This provides general tax information as well as your current refund status. It is also available 24/7

    US tax refund

    Your State tax refund

    Firstly AlaskaFloridaNevadaSouth DakotaTexasWashington, and Wyoming don’t have income tax. If you received income such as wages, scholarship or any other earnings and/or income, you would not have been required to file a State tax return and you will therefore have no entitlement to a State tax refund.

    In addition, New Hampshire and Tennessee only tax interest and dividend income, not wages, scholarship, earnings, or other type of income.

    For all other States, you can check the status of your State tax refund by using the useful links listed below.

    Alabama (AL)

    The Alabama Department of Revenue advises that it usually takes 8-12 weeks for tax filers to receive a refund from the date a return is accepted.

    To check the status of your Alabama state tax refund, go to My Alabama Taxes and then click ‘Check on My Refund Status’.

    For more information, contact the Alabama Department of Revenue.

    Arizona (AZ)

    Arizona tax prep made easy

    The Arizona Department of Revenue advises that the processing of a paper filed tax return can take up to 12 weeks to process.  For a refund to be direct deposited or mailed, it may take up to an additional seven days from the date the tax return processing was completed.

    You can check the status of your Arizona state tax refund here.

    Or, for more information, contact the Arizona Department of Revenue.

    Arkansas (AR)

    It can take up to 6 weeks after the date your return was accepted to receive a refund from the Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration.

    To check the status of your Arkansas State tax refund, simply follow this link (and click ‘Where’s My Refund?’)

    For more information, contact the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (see the ‘Individual Income Tax’ section).

    California (CA)

    The State of California Franchise Tax Board says that it can take approximately 4 weeks to receive a refund (for paper filed returns). Some tax returns need extra review for accuracy, completeness, and to protect taxpayers from fraud and identity theft and extra processing time may be necessary in these cases.

    To check the status of your California State tax refund, simply follow this link.

    For more information, contact the California Franchise Tax Board.

    Colorado (CO)

    Colarado State tax prep

    Follow this link to check the status of your Colorado state tax refund, and then click ‘Check the Status of Your Refund’.

    Or you can find more information about your refund here or by contacting the Colorado Department of Revenue.

    Connecticut (CT)

    According to the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services, it can take 10 – 12 weeks to process a paper return.

    Follow this link to check the status of your Connecticut state tax refund (and then click ‘Check on the Status of Your Refund’).

    For more information, contact the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services (DRS).

    Delaware (DE)

    The Delaware Division of Revenue advises that has announced it can take approximately 6 weeks to receive a refund from the date a tax return is accepted.

    Follow this link to check the status of your Delaware state tax refund.

    Further information, can be found by contacting the Delaware Division of Revenue.

    District of Columbia (DC)

    The D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue advises that it can take 2 to 3 weeks for processing and issuance of a refund.

    Follow this link to check the status of your D.C. tax refund and click on the ‘Where’s My Refund?’ button.

    For more information, contact the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue.

    Georgia (GA)

    Georgia tax refunds made easy

    The Georgia Income Tax Division has said that it can take 90 business days to process a return and issue a tax refund.

    Follow this link to check the status of your Georgia tax refund (click on the Where’s My Refund? button).

    For more information, contact the Georgia Department of Revenue.

    Hawaii (HI)

    Typically, it takes 9-10 weeks for the Hawaii Department of Taxation to process a tax refund.

    Follow this link to check the status of your Hawaii tax refund (click on the ‘Where’s My Refund?’ button).

    For more information, contact the Hawaii Department of Taxation.

    Idaho (ID)

    The Idaho State Tax Commission advises that it can take 10-11 weeks to process a return and issue a refund.

    To check the status of your refund simply follow this link (and click the ‘Where’s My Refund?’ button).

    For more details you can contact the Idaho State Tax Commission.

    Illinois (IL)

    You can check the status of your Illinois tax refund here.

    For more information contact the Illinois Department of Revenue here.

    Indiana (IN)

    Indiana state tax refunds

    The Indiana Department of Revenue says that it can take approximately 10 weeks to process a return and issue a refund.

    You can check the status of your Indiana tax refund here, or alternatively, if you’d like further information, contact the Indiana Department of Revenue.

    Iowa (IA)

    According to the Iowa Income Tax Department of Revenue and Finance, it can take approximately 3 weeks to process a return and issue a refund.

    Check the status of your Iowa tax refund here.

    Or for more information, contact the Iowa Department of Revenue.

    Kansas (KS)

    The Kansas Department of Revenue has announced that the normal processing time for a paper tax return is 16 weeks.

    Follow this link to check the status of your Kansas tax refund.

    And more information, can be obtained by contacting the Kansas Division of Taxation for Individuals.

    Kentucky (KY)

    The Kentucky Revenue Cabinet advises that you will typically have to wait 8-12 weeks before you will receive your tax refund.

    Follow this link to check the status of your Kentucky tax refund and click on the ‘Check Refund Status online’ button.

    For more information, contact the Kentucky Department of Revenue.

    Louisiana (LA)

    Louisiana State tax refunds

    The Louisiana Department of Revenue says that processing time for paper returns is 12-16 weeks from the date the return was mailed.

    You can check the status of your Louisiana tax refund here.

    Or for more information, contact the Louisiana Department of Revenue or call 1-855-307-3893.

    Maine (ME)

    The Maine Revenue Services advises that tax refunds can take up to 14 days to be processed.

    Check the status of your Maine tax refund here .

    For more information, you can contact the Maine Revenue Services Department directly here.

    Maryland (MD)

    The Maryland Controller of the Treasury has outlined announced that the processing of paper returns takes approximately 30 days.

    If you would like an update on your tax refund, you can check the status here.

    Need more info? Simply contact the Comptroller of Maryland.

    Massachusetts (MA)

    You can check the status of your Massachusetts tax refund here (click on the ‘Where’s My Refund?’ button).

    And you can find more information, by contacting the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.

    Michigan (MI)

    Michigan state tax refunds

    The Michigan Department of the Treasury says it can take approximately 8 weeks to process a return and issue a refund.

    Follow this link to check the status of your Michigan tax refund and click on the ‘Check my tax and refund information’ option.

    For more information, contact the Michigan Department of Treasury.

    Minnesota (MN)

    If you filed a Minnesota State tax return, you will probably have to wait 6 weeks for your tax refund.

    You can check the status of your refund here. And you can find any further information you require by contacting the Minnesota Department of Revenue.

    Mississippi (MS)

    Check the status of your Mississippi tax refund here.

    Or contact the Mississippi Department of Revenue for more information.

    Missouri (MO)

    The Missouri Department of Revenue advises that it can take 8-10 weeks to process a tax return and issue a refund.

    Check the status of your Missouri tax refund here.

    For more information, contact the Missouri Department of Revenue.

    Montana (MT)

    Montana State tax refunds

    The Montana Department of Revenue has detailed that it can take approximately 8 weeks to process a return and issue a tax refund.

    Follow this link to check the status of your tax refund (click on the ‘Where’s My Refund?’ button).

    Or for more information, contact the Montana Department of Revenue.

    Nebraska (NE)

    The Nebraska Department of Revenue has announced it can take 15-21 days to process a return and issue a refund.

    Follow this link to check the status of your Nebraska tax refund.

    More details can be found by contacting the Nebraska Department of Revenue.

    New Jersey (NJ)

    According to the New Jersey State Department, it can take 12 weeks or longer to process a return and issue a refund.

    Follow this link to check the status of your New Jersey tax refund.

    Or for more information, contact the New Jersey Division of Taxation.

    New Mexico (NM)

    The New Mexico Taxation & Revenue Department has said that it can take approximately 8-12 weeks to process a tax return and issue a refund.

    To check the status of your New Mexico tax refund, follow this link (and click on the ‘Where’s My Refund?’ button).

    For more information, contact the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department.

    New York (NY)

    Easy New York State Tax Return

    The New York State Processing Center usually issues refunds 8-12 weeks after they receive a tax return.

    You can check the status of your New York tax refund here (click on the ‘Where’s My Refund?’) button.

    Or for more information, contact the Department of Taxation and Finance.

    North Carolina (NC)

    The North Carolina Department of Revenue has announced it can take approximately 12 weeks to process a return and issue a refund.

    Follow this link to check the status of your North Carolina tax refund (click on the ‘Where’s My Refund?’ button).

    For more information, contact the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

    North Dakota (ND)

    The North Dakota Office of State Tax Commissioner says that it can take approximately 6 weeks to process a return and issue a refund.

    You can follow this link to check the status of your North Dakota tax refund (click on the ‘Where’s My Refund?’ button).

    Or for more information, contact the North Dakota Office of the State Tax Commissioner.

    Ohio (OH)

    The Ohio Department of Taxation advises that it can take a minimum of 30 days to process a return and issue a tax refund.

    You can check the status of your Ohio tax refund here and find more information by contacting the Ohio Department of Taxation directly.

    Oklahoma (OK)

    Easy Oklahoma tax return

    Follow this link to check the status of your Oklahoma tax refund.

    And for more information, you can contact the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

    Oregon (OR)

    You can check the status of your Oregon tax refund here.

    And for more information, you can contact the Oregon Department of Revenue.

    Pennsylvania (PA)

    According to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue it can take 3 to 4 weeks for a tax refund to be processed.

    Check the status of your Pennsylvania tax refund here (click on the ‘Where’s My Refund?’ button).

    More information can be found at the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.

    Rhode Island (RI)

    The Rhode Island Division of Taxation says it can take 5 to 7 weeks to process a tax return and issue a refund.

    Simply follow this link to check the status of your Rhode Island tax refund.

    For more information, contact the Rhode Island Division of Taxation directly.

    South Carolina (SC)

    Follow this link to check the status of your South Carolina tax refund.

    For more information, contact South Carolina Department of Revenue.

    Utah (UT)

    Easy Utah tax returns

    The Utah State Tax Commission says that it can take 90 days to process a return and issue a refund.

    If you would like to check the status of your Utah tax refund, you can do so here (click on the ‘Where’s My Refund?’ button).

    For more information, contact the Utah State Tax Commission.

    Vermont (VT)

    The Vermont Department of Taxes advises that it can take approximately 8 weeks to process a return and issue a refund.

    You can check the status of your Vermont tax refund here (click ‘Individuals’ and then ‘Check the status of my return’).

    For more information, contact Vermont Department of Taxes directly. 

    Virginia (VA)

    The Virginia Department of Taxation says it can take up to 8 weeks to process a tax return and issue a refund.

    Simply follow this link to check the status of your Virginia tax refund.

    For more information, contact the Virginia Department of Taxation.

    West Virginia (WV)

    Follow this link to check the status of your West Virginia state refund.

    Wisconsin (WI)

    You can check your Wisconsin refund status here and find more information by contacting the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

    Haven’t filed your tax return yet?

    Easy US tax prep

    Better late than never!

    The April 15 deadline may have passed but you can still claim your tax refund.

    Sprintax is the easiest way to prepare your Federal and State tax returns.

    So what are you waiting for?

    File your tax return and claim your cash today!

    Get started here.

    Subscribe to the Sprintax Blog!

    US tax can be confusing. Especially for nonresidents!

    That’s why, if you’re an International Student or J-1 participant in the US, or you work in a University International Student Office, you should subscribe to the Sprintax blog.

    You’ll find tons of useful content for nonresidents. We cover tax, student life, acclimatizing to the US and much more.

    So what are you waiting for? Sign up today and never miss a thing!





  • Is Sprintax Safe?

    US tax deadline Sprintax

    Spotting tax scams a mile off – How to securely file your tax return and retrieve your refund

     

    Every non-resident student and J-1 participant is legally obliged to file a tax return before the 15 April deadline.

    And for thousands of non-residents each year, the prospect of filing a tax return is incredibly daunting.

    Let’s face it. US tax can be pretty complicated, even for Americans!

    So it makes sense that so many non-residents seek help with completing their tax return.

    There are countless tax agents and accountants who offer tailored US tax services for international students and J-1 participants.

    But the fact is that not every tax agent acts in the best interests of their non-resident clients.

    With tax season 2019 well and truly in full flow, now seems like a pretty good opportunity to take a look at some of the pitfalls facing non-residents who want to enlist the services of a tax agent.

    Is Sprintax safe for US tax returns?

    Spotting Scammers

    Unfortunately, choosing a non-resident tax agent is not as straight-forward as it may seem for non-residents.

    For example, there are many dubious tax companies out there who boast about how much they save their customers on their tax bill or claim that they can retrieve inflated tax refunds.

    However, it’s important to ask yourself – are they really the best people to handle your tax affairs? After all, if you choose the wrong tax company, and incorrect information is submitted on your tax return, you will be seen as fraudulent by the IRS and you may have to pay fines and penalties.

     

    Inflated tax refunds

    Whoever said; ‘if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is too good to be true’ was really on to something!

    The well-known idiom particularly rings true when it comes to US non-resident tax!

    One of the main reasons certain tax companies advertise inflated refund figures is because they are claiming expenses and reliefs that their non-resident clients are not entitled to claim.

    As a result, their clients file fraudulent tax returns and run a high risk of incurring penalties and interest payments.

    Take the ‘personal exemption’ for example.

    In previous years, every non-resident (such as international students and J-1 participants) who was working in the US was entitled to earn up to $4,050 without paying tax, through the personal exemption.

    However, following the introduction of the ‘Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’, the personal exemption was reduced from $4,050 to $0 in January 2018.

    Non-residents are no longer entitled to claim a personal exemption. If a tax agent is telling you that you can claim this deduction, they are not acting in compliance with the IRS.

    It doesn’t matter if you filed the return yourself, or a dishonest company filed the tax return on your behalf, it is you that will be held responsible should a fraudulent tax return be filed in your name.

    Who can I trust with my non-resident tax return?

    Tax agents for US residents

    Some US tax agents specialize only in returns for residents. If, as a J-1 participant or international student, you use one of these companies, you will prepare an incorrect tax return.

    Non-residents should file either Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ.

     

    There is a way that you can get help with your tax return, ensure that you stay compliant with the IRS and claim your maximum legal tax refund.

    How?

    Trust Spritnax

    Choose Sprintax!

    Sprintax is the only online Federal and State self-prep tax software for non-residents in the US.

    When you create a Sprintax account, our software will guide you through the entire tax filing process from beginning to end and ensure that your tax return is prepared in full compliance with the IRS.

    We’ll first determine your tax residency status before identifying which forms you need to complete based on your own personal circumstances. You’ll be able to avail of any tax deductions or benefits you’re entitled to and claim your maximum legal tax refund.

    You’ll be asked a few easy questions and based on the information you provide, you will then be able to download your fully completed and compliant 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ (non-resident tax return).

    Sprintax is a fully transparent service.

    You can prepare your Federal tax return from $35.95 and your State tax return from $25.95. There are no hidden fees.

    And if you need a hand during the tax prep process, our tax team are available 24/7 to offer uncomplicated guidance in plain English.

     

    Security of your data

    Not only do we guarantee to keep you compliant with the IRS, we’re also dedicated to protecting your personal and financial information.

    You can have peace of mind that the quality management of our personal income tax filing and refund services is certified by the internationally recognized ISO 9001 quality mark!

    We conduct security tests on our site every day and use the most advanced security technology available. All security protection measures are overseen by a team who are dedicated to protecting your privacy.

     

    But don’t just take our word for it…

    We prepare more than 100,000 US tax returns every year. So it’s safe to say we know a little bit about US tax!

    Sprintax is the ‘go-to’ tax preparation software for numerous major universities in the US including, Columbia, Arizona State University, Illinois Institute of Technology and Cornell. And we’re also the non-resident partner of choice for Turbo Tax.

    Through the years we have received countless positive responses from our customers.

    In fact, we have an 8.3 (/10) Trustscore on Trustpilot.com and you can see some of our reviews and testimonials here:

    Trustpilot.com

    Sprintax.com

    We value all customer feedback, as it provides an important way for us to review the quality of our service. So why not drop us a line and tell us how we’re doing!

    Can I file my tax return with Sprintax

    Prepare with Sprintax. File with confidence!

    With Sprintax you can:

    • Save time and stress!
    • Prepare a fully compliant US tax return
    • Determine your residency status
    • Maximize your State tax refund
    • Avail of our 24/7 Vita Qualified Live Chat facility
    • Enjoy a user friendly system

     

    Prepare your tax return the easy way here

     

    Subscribe to the Sprintax Blog!

    US tax can be confusing. Especially for nonresidents!

    That’s why, if you’re an International Student or J-1 participant in the US, or you work in a University International Student Office, you should subscribe to the Sprintax blog.

    You’ll find tons of useful content for nonresidents. We cover tax, student life, acclimatizing to the US and much more.

    So what are you waiting for? Sign up today and never miss a thing!





  • On a Sports Scholarship in the US? Here’s What You Need to Know!

    international student sports scholarship tax

    Many athletes dream of having an opportunity to move to the US on a sports scholarship and study in one of their world famous universities. If you are good enough to have been offered a scholarship, here’s what you need to know about taxes!

    Studying in the US is expensive and while most universities offer scholarships and many accept applications from international students. Over 600 US universities offer $20,000 worth of scholarships to international students. If you’d like to read more about scholarships for international students in the US check out this short post from the Sprintax blog.

    If you are an international student, in the US on a sports or athletic scholarship you are most likely considered a nonresident and you’re legally obliged to file a federal tax return even if you have received even $1cent.

    You may also be obliged to file a state tax return, depending on your personal circumstances.

    That’s right! And you could get in a lot of trouble if you don’t file. This can affect your ability to return to the US or complete your studies. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to achieve a sports scholarship. Why ruin it by failing to file your taxes?

    If you’re on a sports scholarship in the US, here are some tax tips from Sprintax:

     

    When should I start preparing my US tax return?

    It’s never a good idea to leave important things like tax filing until the last minute. Filing on time also means you can receive your tax refund sooner!

    Yes, the deadline for filing is the 15th of April but you should prepare your documents in advance so that everything runs smoothly.

     

    What forms must I file for my US tax return?

    To file a fully compliant tax return, you must make sure you are submitting the correct forms.

    Even if you have earned nothing during your time spent in the US, you must file a Form 8843 with the IRS.

    If you did receive money while in the US during the tax year, you will have to file a Federal Tax Return in addition to your Form 8843.

    Depending on your personal situation, you may also have to file a State Tax Return. Sprintax is the only online tax preparation software that covers both Federal and State tax prep for nonresidents in the US – so don’t worry, we can help you find out what forms you must file.

     

    How do I know what my residency status is?

    This is very important.

    It is not possible to file a fully compliant tax return without knowing your residency status.

    The two most common tax residency statuses are; nonresident and resident.

    If you are an international student in the US on an F, J, M or Q visa – you are most likely considered a nonresident alien for tax purposes.

    If you’re unsure of your residency status, Sprintax will help you figure that out too.

    international student sports scholarship

    What will I need to file my US tax return as an international student?

    • Passport
    • Visa/immigration status information – this includes Form DS-2019 (for J visa holders) or a Form I-20 (for F visa holders)
    • Income forms – W2 Form, 1042-S and/or 1099
    • Social security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
    • If you filed a tax return with the IRS last year, you will need a copy of that tax return.

    If you don’t have an ITIN, Sprintax can help you apply for one.

    Not sure if you need it? Watch this short video and find out!

    Make sure you have all the right documents. The sooner you start preparing, the better – that way you can contact employers if you haven’t received your payment documents for example.

    Filing taxes is challenging but Sprintax offer a service that makes preparing your tax return easy! If you’re on a sports scholarship and you’d like help with getting your tax return ready for filing season, contact us today.

    Subscribe to the Sprintax Blog!

    US tax can be confusing. Especially for nonresidents!

    That’s why, if you’re an International Student or J-1 participant in the US, or you work in a University International Student Office, you should subscribe to the Sprintax blog.

    You’ll find tons of useful content for nonresidents. We cover tax, student life, acclimatizing to the US and much more.

    So what are you waiting for? Sign up today and never miss a thing!





  • 5 things every international student can do to be ready for tax season

    Prepare for tax season with Sprintax

    It’s never too early to start thinking about tax season. This is especially true when you consider that the April 15 tax filing deadline is only a matter of weeks away!

    There’s no doubt that, whether you have filed a tax return before, or this is your first year with a filing requirement, tax season can be a real headache.

    In this blog we’ll look at 5 things every international student can do to ensure their tax season runs as smoothly as possible.

    (1) Don’t delay!

    Let’s face it, leaving important stuff until the last minute is never a good idea!

    So why leave filing your tax return until April 15?

    There is no reason why you can’t start prepping for tax season now. And, by doing so, you can ensure that you file on time and receive any tax refund you’re due sooner!

    Sprintax non-resident tax returns

    (2) Determine the right forms to file

    It doesn’t matter how much (or how little) you have earned, every non-resident international student in the US has a tax filing obligation.

    For example, if you didn’t earn any income during the tax year you must file a Form 8843 with the IRS.

    And if you have earned US sourced income during the year, you will also have to file a Federal tax return in addition to your 8843 form.

    Depending on your personal circumstances and a number of other factors, you may also have to file State tax return forms.

    Tip: Sprintax is the only online Federal and State self-prep tax software for non-residents in the US.  We will help you to figure out whether or not you have to file a State tax return.

    (3) Work out your residency status

    This is an important one.

    It’s impossible to file a compliant tax return without first determining your tax residency status.

    The most common tax residency statuses are ‘resident’ and ‘non-resident alien’. Most international students who are studying in the US on F, J, M or Q visas are considered non-resident aliens for tax purposes.

    Tip: Not sure if you’re a resident or non-resident? When you create a Sprintax account, our system will automatically detect your tax residency status!

    Preparing for tax season Sprintax

    (4) Get organized

    The first thing you should do to ready yourself for tax season is to organize everything you’ll need to prepare your tax return.

    In order to complete your tax return in full you will need to have the below documents to hand:

    • Your passport
    • Your Visa/Immigration Status information, including Form DS-2019 (for J visa holders) or Form I-20 (for F visa holders)
    • All income forms: W2 forms, 1042-S and/or 1099
    • Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). If you do not have an ITIN, Sprintax can help you get one!
    • A copy of last year’s return (if you filed one with the US tax authorities)

    Tip: Make a note of any missing documents and then start to track them down. For example, if you haven’t received your payment documents, make sure to contact your employer to request them.

    (5) Get help!

     With so much complicated paperwork and so many confusing questions, filing a US tax return is not exactly the easiest of tasks.

    Fortunately, help is on hand!

    When you create a Sprintax account, our system will assist you in preparing fully compliant Federal and State tax returns and also enable you to use any tax deduction and benefits that will allow you to claim your maximum legal tax refund.

    Sprintax will guide you through the tax filing process, firstly determining your tax residency status and then identifying which forms you need to complete based on your own personal circumstances.

    You’ll be asked a few easy questions and based on the information you provide, you will then be able to download your fully completed and compliant 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ (non-resident tax return).

    Benefits of using Sprintax

    Sprintax is the ‘go-to’ tax preparation software for numerous major universities in the US including, Columbia, Arizona State University, Illinois Institute of Technology and Cornell.  We’re also the non-resident partner of choice for Turbo Tax.

    With Sprintax you can:

    • Save time and stress!
    • Determine your residency status
    • Prepare a fully compliant US tax return
    • Maximize your State tax refund
    • Avail of our 24/7 Vita Qualified Live Chat facility

    Subscribe to the Sprintax Blog!

    US tax can be confusing. Especially for nonresidents!

    That’s why, if you’re an International Student or J-1 participant in the US, or you work in a University International Student Office, you should subscribe to the Sprintax blog.

    You’ll find tons of useful content for nonresidents. We cover tax, student life, acclimatizing to the US and much more.

    So what are you waiting for? Sign up today and never miss a thing!





  • Forget fees! Here’s how you can secure a US college scholarship

    Sprintax services for international scholars!

    Here’s two things most prospective international students know about studying in the US.

    1 – When you study in the United States you can secure a first class qualification that is recognised around the globe

    2 – The US is one of the most expensive countries in the world in which to study

    So how can you reconcile these two factors?

    You want a top quality education and the experience of living and studying in the US. Financing a US university degree is tricky even for most Americans. And as an international student, there is an onus on you to provide proof, in advance of commencing your course, that you can pay for your college studies before you can obtain a student visa to study in the United States.

    But what if you can’t afford the fees?

    Don’t give up hope! There are a number of opportunities you can pursue in order to secure funding for your studies.

    For example, most US universities offer scholarship programmes and many accept applications from international students. In fact, more than 600 American universities offer scholarships worth $20,000 or more to international students.

    Scholarships are generally assessed on either academic merit, financial need, or extracurricular contribution. And there are a number of hoops you will need to jump through in order to apply – this may include taking SAT or ACT tests.

    But when you consider the financial benefits to scholarships it’s definitely worth being determined, persistent and seeing the process through to the end.

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    Types of International Student Scholarship

    (1) University scholarships

    Most universities offer some kind of financial aid for international students. So if you’re considering applying for a scholarship, it’s a good idea to contact your institution of choice and enquire about the options that are available to you.

    (2) Financial scholarships

    While this type of scholarship is usually only available for US residents, some universities offer financial needs-based scholarships to international students.

    (3) Merit scholarships

    This type of scholarship is available to students who are either academically skilled, gifted at sports or who excelled in community or entrepreneurial work.

    (4) Government-funded scholarships

    The US Government offers many scholarship programmes for international students (a number of which are listed further below).

    (5) Privately-funded scholarships

    Numerous private businesses and donors offer scholarships for international students. Many of these programs are targeted at developing countries and minority groups, or in specific areas of study.

    University Scholarships

    Sprintax Services for US international scholars

    Here are some of the scholarship offerings available from some of the biggest universities in the US. While this is nowhere near a complete list of scholarships, it should help you to get a picture of the type of programs that are available for international students.

    American University in Washington D.C.

    AU offers free tuition and board for one international student for a full four years undergraduate study. Some partial scholarships are also available from the college.

    Berea College

    This university, located in Kentucky, is the only school in the US that provides 100% funding to every international student for their first year of enrolment. This combination of financial aid and scholarships offsets the costs of tuition, room, board, and fees. In subsequent years, international students are expected to save $1,000 per year to contribute toward their expenses. All international students are provided with a paid, on-campus job through the College’s Work Program throughout the academic year. Students may use their wages (about US $2,000 the first year) to cover personal expenses

    Clark University

    Clark offers a range of merit-based grants to international applicants. International students can apply for scholarships valued at $20,000 to $25,000 per year.

    Dartmouth College

    Dartmouth College offers scholarships and loans to international students, which includes an allowance for travel to the US. International applicants must demonstrate financial need at the time of application. When not in class, many international financial aid recipients work for the College. Included in the aid award will be $2,450 estimated annual income from work during academic terms.

    Emory University

    This Atlanta-based college offers generous financial assistance for international students. These financial aid programs are linked to applications. In other words, it is impossible to get rejected for a scholarship but still be offered a place at the university.

    College scholar Sprintax

    Harvard University

    International students are eligible for the same amount of financial aid as US students.

    • 55% of Harvard undergraduates receive need-based scholarships
    • Parents of international students who earn less than $65,000 and are not expected to contribute any fees
    • Two-thirds of students work during the academic year

    Illinois Wesleyan University

    Illinois Wesleyan awards a small number of merit and need-based scholarships for international students in each first-year entering class.

    Merit-based scholarships

    These are offered to qualified international applicants with outstanding academic achievement and test scores on the required entrance exams. These awards range from $10,000 to $25,000 per year and are renewable for up to four years. In some instances, additional help is provided through student loans and campus employment.

    President’s International Student Scholarships

    This is a full-tuition scholarship (renewable for up to four years of study) awarded each year to two highly qualified international students in assessing their talents, interests and academic achievements.

    Need-based Scholarships

    You can also be considered for need-based financial aid. Using the information on your CSS Profile, the college can consider ways to further assist you with University funded scholarships, loans and campus-employment opportunities.

    Iowa State University

    Iowa State University offers scholarships (valued from $2,000 to $10,000 per year) to international students. Applicants are automatically considered for the merit-based award.

    Michigan State University

    MSU boasts a Global Spartan Leadership programme for international undergraduates. Recipients receive $8,000 upon completion of the programme requirements – attendance of various leadership training and cultural events. International students can also write an essay about their experience at the university in order to win a top prize of $1,000.

    University of Minnesota

    The University of Minnesota offers various grants and scholarships for international students including:

    Global Excellence Scholarship

    All international freshman and transfer students who complete their applications for admission by the deadlines are automatically considered for a Global Excellence Scholarship. International freshman can receive scholarships of $10,000, $15,000 or $25,000 per year for up to four years. Transfer students can receive $10,000 per year for up to three years when entering the University in the fall semester (transfer students entering in spring semester will be considered for scholarships on a funds-available basis). Awards are competitive and based on academic merit.

    #YouAreWelcomeHere Scholarship

    This scholarship recognizes international students who have a vision for enhancing intercultural understanding. The University awards two annual, renewable scholarships covering $15,000 per year.

    Undergraduate Research Scholarship

    New international freshman admitted to the University will also be considered for the Undergraduate Research Scholarship. Recipients receive $1,400 for participation in a faculty sponsored University of Minnesota research project and up to an additional $300 in support of supplies and expenses related to their research project. Undergraduate research at the University spans all academic disciplines and interests. The Undergraduate Research Scholarship allows students to pursue special research projects outside their regular courses.

    University of Nebraska-Lincoln

    The University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers tuition waivers to international students that have outstanding academic performance and contribute to extra-curricular activities.

    New York University

    NYU awards scholarships to international students submitting a first-year application

    University of Oregon

    Every year UO awards more than $2.5 million in financial aid and scholarships to international students. In fact, the college offers several sources of financial aid for international students including:

    Automatic Consideration

    UO Excellence Scholarship ($15,000 per year)

    Awarded to incoming freshmen with a 3.90 GPA or higher on a 4.00 scale and a qualifying test score (1450 SAT or 33 ACT).

    Summit Scholarship ($10,000 per year)

    This is awarded to incoming freshmen with a 3.80 GPA or higher on a 4.00 scale and a qualifying test score (1250 SAT or 26 ACT). The GPA requirement is waived for holders of an official International Baccalaureate diploma.

    Apex Scholarship ($7,500 per year)

    Awarded to incoming freshmen with a 3.60 GPA or higher on a 4.00 scale and a qualifying test score (1220 SAT or 25 ACT). The GPA requirement is waived for holders of an official International Baccalaureate diploma.

    Application-Based

    International Cultural Service Program (ICSP) Tuition Scholarships (partial to full tuition)

    The ICSP scholarship awards tuition-waiver scholarships ranging from partial to full tuition for up to 15 credits per term each year. Scholarships apply to tuition only and are based on financial need, academic merit, and the ability to make presentations to diverse groups of people. The ICSP scholarship has a cultural service component that requires students to give presentations about their home country to children, community organizations, and UO students, faculty, and staff.

    ICSP Nascence Scholarship

    This supplemental scholarship is awarded to a student from China or Hong Kong who is also a recipient of the International Cultural Service Program (ICSP) scholarship. No additional application is required.

    Wesleyan University’s Freeman Asian Scholars Programme

    This programme provides full tuition scholarships for a four-year course for 11 exceptionally able Asian students at undergraduate level. Additionally the university also offers assistance to about 30 international students.

    Government-funded and Private US scholarships

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    The United States Government and private business both offer many scholarship programmes for international students. A selection of these are listed below, though many more scholarship opportunities are available.

    Fulbright Foreign Student Program

    This is one of the most popular government-funded US scholarships for international students.

    Fulbright offers scholarships for graduate students, young professionals and artists to study in the US for one year or more. The program is open to international students who are studying in all fields (except medicine).

    Approximately 4,000 foreign students receive Fulbright scholarships each year.

    Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program

    This is a non-degree scholarship program for international, experienced professionals wishing to undertake 10 months of academic study in the US. Although the funding doesn’t support degree qualifications, students are able to study and develop their knowledge at academic institutions across the US.

    Participants in the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program can enroll in courses in a number of fields including Sustainable Development, Journalism and Communication, Law & Human Rights, Technology Policy and Management, Human Resources, Education, Public Health and more.

    In order to be eligible you’ll need:

    • An undergraduate (first university or Bachelor’s) degree
    • A minimum of five years of full-time, professional experience
    • Limited or no prior experience in the US
    • Demonstrated leadership qualities
    • A record of public service in the community
    • English language ability

    The NextGen Scholarship Fund

    The NextGen Scholarship Fund was created for international students who come to the US with the hopes of obtaining higher education. It’s a scholarship program for students in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia. One annual award (in the amount of $1,000) will be given to a qualified and outstanding high school senior or a current college student at a two-year or four-year college. To qualify for this scholarship, applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and be an international student enrolled in a US school. Applications are judged on merit and financial need.

    The P.E.O. International Peace scholarship

    The P.E.O. International Peace scholarship awards up to $12,500 to international students who want to study at a graduate level in America.

    The Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship

    This programme provides a limited number of scholarships each year for outstanding students from selected developing countries to pursue postgraduate study. The scholarships are 50 per cent grant and 50 per cent loan.

    How to apply for your scholarship

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    Talk to your college of choice or scholarship awarding body

    Most colleges offer scholarship programs specifically for international students attending the institution. Visit the financial aid pages on the website of your school of choice. Alternatively you can call or email the school. By engaging with the institution, you can get a complete picture of what’s required for a particular scholarship application.

    Am I eligible?

    Eligibility for a scholarship depends entirely on the scholarship; there is no general rule of thumb on whether you are eligible for a financial award. For example, some scholarships require that you are from a certain country while others ask that you have a certain grade point average. You will need to do your own research to see if you are eligible for a scholarship. It is advisable to contact your college of choice directly, if you have any questions regarding eligibility.

    How do I apply?

    Similarly to eligibility criteria, there are no universally standardised rules or requirements for scholarship applications. While some just require you to complete an application form, others may require a specially written piece of work, or for you to be pursuing studies in a certain field. If you find a scholarship for which you think that you may be eligible, contact the award administrator for more details on how to apply.

    Are there taxable implications on my Scholarship?

    Yes there might be. If your scholarship only covers tuition there is generally no tax implication. However, if there are elements that cover areas that are not directly related to your tuition then these will generally have tax implications. Some examples of this include housing allowances, food allowances or travel allowances. If your scholarship is taxable, generally you will receive a 1042-S income document to reflect this taxable income earned.

    What should I do with my 1042-S document?

    You will need this document when you are preparing your tax return to outline the taxable income that you earned during the tax year. You can do this on Sprintax in the “Let’s Talk Money” section.

    And remember…

    Scholarship tax Sprintax

    Every international student and scholar in the US has a tax filing requirement.

    Sprintax is the only online self-prep Federal and State tax software for international students in the US.

    Sprintax is also the ‘go-to’ tax preparation software for numerous major universities in the US including Columbia, Arizona State University, Illinois Institute of Technology and Cornell. We’re also the non-resident partner of choice for Turbo Tax.

    Prepare with Sprintax! File with confidence!

    • Compliant US tax return
    • Save time and stress!
    • Avail of relevant international tax treaties
    • Avail of personal allowances, credits & tax deductions
    • 24/7 Vita Qualified Live Chat facility
    • Maximize your State tax refund
    • Over 500k people have used Sprintax to prepare their tax return and get their tax refund

    Prepare your US tax return today!

     

     

    Subscribe to the Sprintax Blog!

    US tax can be confusing. Especially for nonresidents!

    That’s why, if you’re an International Student or J-1 participant in the US, or you work in a University International Student Office, you should subscribe to the Sprintax blog.

    You’ll find tons of useful content for nonresidents. We cover tax, student life, acclimatizing to the US and much more.

    So what are you waiting for? Sign up today and never miss a thing!