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  • Sprintax at NAFSA 2016 Regional Conferences

    Following the national conference earlier in the year, the 11 NAFSA regions held their conferences in late October and early November. These events are excellent opportunities for those involved in international education and exchange to network with experts and business partners and stay current with the latest trends.

    Sprintax were delighted to attend again and meet many of our partners and colleagues. We were represented by Jennifer Gallagher in Alaska, Wisconsin, California and Indiana and Enda Kelleher in Rhode Island, New York, New Mexico, Louisiana and Pennsylvania.

    Enda and Jennifer had statistics from the 57,000 students and scholars who prepared their taxes with us and were glad to offer advice and information to anyone who stopped by their booths.

    Sprintax Competition

    This year, we continued our tradition of giving away prizes at NAFSA. Enda and Jennifer ran a draw for a Bluetooth speaker for all of those who stopped by to chat with them.

    The lucky winner from the conference in New Orleans was Joy Werka from University of West Alabama, while Kelly Hughes from Towson University got the prize at NAFSA Philadelphia. Congratulations Joy and Kelly!

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    Enda from Sprintax team and Joy from University of West Alabama

    We were thrilled to be part of the NAFSA regional conferences and we’d like to thank all participants for the wonderful experience! NAFSA is helping to shape the future of education and we look forward to attending more events.

     

  • 10 Tips to Decorate Your Dorm Room

    dorm room

    Need to spruce up your dorm room? Maybe everything is looking a bit flat! Here are 10 tips to help you decorate your room.

     

     

    1. Plants

    plants

     

     

    Small indoor plants can bring your room to life! If you don’t like maintenance try some hard wearing indoor plants or get a cactus. They are a pretty, healthy way of brightening up your room.

     

     

    2. Removable wallpaper

    wallpaper

     

     

    Get some awesome patterns on your wall with removable wallpaper sheets from Chasing Paper. You can even wallpaper your nightstand drawers with floral papers or patterns which can quickly transform tired or boring furniture.

     

     

    3. Rug

    rug and dog

     

     

    Soft furnishings like rugs are a great way to add some comfort and personality to your room. Your school may have rules about dimensions so check first but a nice rug can really pull a room together! Buy a slipmat for underneath.

     

     

    4. Photo/wall Mural

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    Create a personalized photo or wall mural as a quick way to brighten up the walls!

     

     

    5. A nice headboard

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    Find a nice headboard to make your bed a bit more plush and attractive. You can use a bold headboard to make a statement and offset it with some fresh white linens.

     

     

    6. Picture/Photo Collage

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    One of the best things about university is making friends! A photo collage is a great way to have your friends and family with you right in your dorm room and can be a warm colorful way to brighten up the place!

     

     

    7. Lighting

    lighting

     

     

    Decorate your room with some string lights or some fun lamps. Be careful to always switch them off at night.

     

     

    8. Shelving

    washi tape

    Decorate your shelves with Washi tape on the edging. If you get bored you can just get new tape. Add custom bookends to keep your books in order.

     

     

    9. Mirror, Mirror

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    Get a nice mirror! Buy a full length mirror to create the illusion of space or a small mirror you can decorate with lights. You can always decorate or paint the border if it needs sprucing up!

     

     

    10. Cushions and pillows

    cushions and pillows

     

     

    Find some fun cushions or throw pillows to add some color or to soften up the room.

  • Tax Treaties: What’s The Deal?

    US Flag

    If you’re an international student in the US, a tax treaty could mean excellent news!

    Under these treaties, residents of foreign countries are:

    • Taxed at a reduced rate
    • Exempt from US on income derived from specific sources earned within the US

     

    Is your country in blue? Then it has a tax treaty with the US:

    tax Treaty

    If your country does not have a tax treaty with the US or the treaty doesn’t cover they type of income you earn, then you must pay tax on this income.

     

    Saving Clause

    Most tax treaties have a clause that preserves the right of each country to tax its own residents, so once you become a resident of the US, you will lose most of the tax treaty benefits. However, many treaties still allow you to claim certain benefits even if you become a US citizen or resident.

     

    Non-Resident Aliens

    If you are a non-resident alien, like most international students, a tax treaty will eliminate or reduce taxes on certain income and services, including; pensions, interest, dividends, royalties, and capital gains. For students, apprentices, and trainees, the limit to the benefits of the tax treaties is 4-5 years. For teachers and professors, the limit is around 2-3 years.

     

    Requirements

    You must meet certain requirements to avail of the benefits of a tax treaty:

    • Requirements as laid out in IRS Publication 901 (pdf)
    • You should have Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
    • Complete the correct tax treaty exemption forms

     

    You can view the text of each treaty on the IRS website here.

     

    How Sprintax can help?

    When you do your online tax return with Sprintax, we will automatically check if you can avail of any tax treaty benefits, thus increasing your chances of a higher tax refund!

     

    Find out more here.

  • 2016 Sprintax Customer Survey Results Now Available

    sprintax-customer-survey-2016

    At Sprintax, we believe the best way to improve our service is to listen to our customers. We constantly strive to provide them the highest quality service and their feedback is vital to achieve this.

    For the 2nd year we launched Customer Satisfaction Survey and thousands of our customers took part in it to tell what they really think of Sprintax.

    The results speak for themselves!

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    To thank those who took part in the survey, we decided to run a raffle and give away a $200 Gift Card. The lucky winner is HRUTURAJ Vartak.

    Here’s what he says about filing his Federal and State tax returns with Sprintax:

    ‘I am very pleased to have filed my taxes through Sprintax. I have wasted quite a lot of money by filing through different agencies over past 3 years but Sprintax made things easy for me. I’ll definitely share my experience with friends and colleagues. Thanks for your service!’

    Congrats, HRUTURAJ  and happy spending!

    We are delighted to announce the great results but we appreciate both positive and negative feedback as it helps grow and improve.

    Your voice matters! It guides s through the long process of creating incredible customer journey so do not hesitate to contact us anytime!

  • What documents do I need to file my US Tax Return?

    US non-resident alien tax return

    If you want to file a tax return as a non-resident in the US, you’ll need a few important documents and some vital information. We’ve listed them below so you can prepare for tax time in the US!

     

    What you’ll need:

    • Your Passport
    • All U.S. entry and exit dates for current and previous visits
    • Any tax forms you received (Form W-2, 1042-S and/or 1099, etc.)
    • Visa/Immigration status information, including Form DS-2019 (for J visa holders), Form I-20 (for F visa holders)
    • Your Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
    • If you are using Sprintax for State Tax Return(s) preparation only, you will need a copy of your already prepared Federal Tax return

     

     

    So, what are these documents?

     

    Form 1040NR

    This is the US Non-resident Alien Income Tax Return and you must file this form if you earned US sourced income. It is due by 15 April each year.

     

    W-2 Form

    If you work in the US, you’ll get a W-2 form from your employer. They should give you this by the deadline and it will reflect your income from the previous year.

    The form is divided into state and federal sections and there are fields with employer information and details of your income.

     

    1042-S

    If you receive a scholarship, fellowship or grant, you’ll need a form 1042-S to complete your tax return. You can also use this form for many other income types such as teaching, research, and investment income. You should receive form 1042-S from your university’s payroll department or the party that provided the income.

     

    ITIN

    The Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is assigned in the place of a social security number. If you don’t have an ITIN, Sprintax can help organize this for you.

    If you don’t need to file a tax return and are just filing a form 8843, you won’t need one, however, if you have been supplied with one, you must still include it on the form.

     

    Form 8843

    If you didn’t earn any income in the US, you must still file a form 8843. A form 8843 ‘’Statement for Exempt Individuals with a Medical Condition” is not an income tax return, it’s a statement you file for the US Government if you are a certain non-resident alien (including spouses/dependents of certain non-resident aliens). You can read more about form 8843 here.

     

    Deadlines

    You should file your tax return by the deadline of 15 April (this date may change to accommodate holidays or weather conditions). For example this date is extended to 17th of April for 2016 tax year, first working day after the deadline.

  • Sprintax at NAFSA 2016 Annual Conference & Expo

    This year the team at Sprintax continued our tradition and attended the annual NAFSA (Association of International Educators) Conference.

    This year the annual conference & expo took place in Denver and again confirmed its status as the largest international educational conference in the world, gathering attendees from over 100 countries.
    More than 400 institutions and 10,000 international educational professionals from across the globe joined the conference for the chance to exchange ideas, network, and explore the trends that are shaping the future of education.

    We had an incredible opportunity to meet many of our partners and discuss new strategies on working together in the 2016 tax season.

    We also paved our way to exciting new collaborations with leading US institutions and schools. The whole team are looking forward to working together to help even more international students and scholars with their US tax affairs.

    Sprintax Competition

    We love giving away prizes so we ran an exclusive iPad competition for all of those who stopped by our booth for a chat with Enda and Jennifer.

    The lucky winner was Kathy Gallentine – International Student Advisor at Central Washington University. Congratulations Kathy!

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    Jennifer from Sprintax team and Kathy from Central Washington University

    We’d like to thank all NAFSA participants for the great experience at the NAFSA 2016 Annual Conference and Expo!

    Looking forward to seeing you at the NAFSA Regionals!

  • 8 Tips For Studying Abroad When You Don’t Know Anyone

    studying abroad

    Heading away to study abroad but worried you don’t know anyone in your new country? Just follow these 8 steps and you’ll be  just fine!

     

    Step 1.  Do your research

    Prepare before you go! Use everything at your disposal; Google, friends and family who have visited, etc. Try to understand what is the lifestyle there. One of the biggest challenges is also the most exciting prospect; a new culture!

    This will also help you understand how to greet people and will ease up the transition and make you feel more at home.

     

    Step 2.  Try new things

    Once you arrive, go out and try the local cuisine – the restaurants, bars and don’t forget the nightlife! Join societies or clubs at  your new university or school because this is one of the best ways to meet new people! Get a part-time job! You’ll earn some extra cash and meet new people. And if you’re learning a new language, this is one of the best ways to learn.

    Make sure you attend orientation meetings and gatherings so you can meet like-minded people. Experiencing these things will make you adapt faster to the new atmosphere and will enable you to make new friendships.

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    Step 3. Sights and trips

    Take the time to visit the museums, local stores and famous landmarks. This is a unique opportunity for you to see things that most people can’t!

     

    Step 4.  Be very friendly and talkative

    At first it might be difficult to make new friends but don’t shy away. Join things and approach people. There will be plenty of other students from abroad in the same boat. Don’t be shy and talk to them!

     

    Step 5. Be prepared for differences

    It’s a new place, with new people and possibly a completely different culture, so it’s normal for some things to be different. Expect that people will not think like you do and will not have the same moral values like yours. It’s normal!

    Their lifestyle and nation is different than yours. Be open-minded, so you can experience new things along the way.

     

    Step 6. Study!

    Don’t forget to pay attention to your studies! You are there mainly to study and learn, not on a vacation or a trip. Stay focused and do not overlook your grades.

     

    Step 7. Contact your family and friends

    Don’t forget to keep in touch with friends and family.  Use everything available to you including Skype, WhatsApp and email. They will want to know how well you are doing.

     

    Step 8. Have fun!

    This is the most important thing. Don’t get too homesick and use the time wisely because it will be over before you know it! Until then – have a great time during your stay and make the most out of it!

    And don’t forget to read our guide to working and studying in the US here.

  • 2015 is Best Sprintax Season to Date

    The 2015 US tax season is long over and it is time to take stock of the season and look at the big picture – through our eyes and through the eyes of our customers and partners.

    The Season in Numbers

    We are delighted to announce that the 2015 tax season was our best season to date. We guided twice the number of international students and scholars through the complicated tax filing process compared to last year.

    36,348 non-residents trusted Sprintax with their Federal tax returns and 30,450 filed their state tax returns using our software.

    Being the only non-resident tax prep tool covering both Federal and State tax returns, we helped our customers claim $30, 5000,000 in Federal tax refunds and more than $8,000,000 in State tax refunds.

    Our Goals

    We achieved the goals we set last year; to deliver excellent customer experience by reaching the highest standards and create an outstanding customer journey.

    With our help, thousands of international students and scholars from 193 countries filed their US taxes hassle-free with our step-by-step software and 24/7 Live Tax Help.

    Our team was fully dedicated to improving the Sprintax software and making it user-friendly. We prepared an extensive FAQ section which proved to be incredibly useful to our customers and a new video demo where you can find out how Sprintax works.

    Our Partnerships

    Over 475 US schools have partnered with us to help their students and scholars with their tax affairs.

    We’re excited to say that in the 2015 tax season we not only strengthened the relationships with our partners but also established many new partnerships with hundreds of US schools and institutions from all across the US.

    We truly believe that those partnerships will thrive in the future and are looking forward to many new ones.

    A Big Thank you

    To all members of the Sprintax team for their dedication and hard work. We owe our huge success to all of those who put their hearts into Sprintax.

    The excellent results we achieved in the 2015 season only motivate us to work even harder and implement new innovations to improve our services.

    A new strategy is on the horizon so stay tuned for big Sprintax news in the 2016 tax season.

  • 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!