All posts in Tax Tips

  • Can the college I choose to enroll in effect my US tax bill?

    State tax refunds Sprintax

    Want to work while studying in the US? It’s important to be aware that tax rates differ greatly from State-to-State

    Every year, more and more students select the US as the destination in which they want to continue their education. And it’s easy to see why. The US boasts a world renowned university system and an outstanding program offering in virtually all fields.

    But with so many universities in such a vast country, how can students choose the college and course that is right for them?

    The truth is that there are many different factors that go into deciding where to study and which college to attend. While lifestyle, history and climate are always important elements for students, cost and financing college fees usually come out on top of their list of considerations.

    Expenses and college fees vary from State-to-State and can have a big impact when choosing where to study.

    Even though many US colleges and universities make financial aid and scholarships available, most international students must still rely on their own sources of funds in order to pay for their education – family funds, loans and savings etc.

    It’s no surprise then that so many international students are interested in securing employment in the US during their time in college in order to earn some much needed cash.

    These programs are known as ‘work & study’. If you are a full-time student in the US and want to be a member of a work & study program, you must either have an F-1 or M-1 visa – the two non-immigrant visa categories available for international students.

    Sprintax state tax refunds

    International students & tax

    Every international student is legally obliged to file a tax return for each year they were in the US. If you worked in the US during your time in college you must detail your earnings on your tax return.

    Many students are unaware that the State they choose to work in can affect their monthly tax withholding.

    In the US, taxes withheld on wages by employers include Federal income tax, State income tax, and certain other levies by a few States.

    While Federal tax withholding is required no matter which State you choose, not all States have an income tax on earned income. There are nine States that have no personal income tax:

    1. Alaska
    2. Florida
    3. Nevada
    4. New Hampshire
    5. South Dakota
    6. Tennessee
    7. Texas
    8. Washington
    9. Wyoming

    Note: Tennessee and New Hampshire only tax dividends and interest.

    This means that if you chose to study and work in one of the States mentioned above, you will have one less tax deduction to worry about!

    In other words, you can potentially receive a higher wage every pay period.

    State tax refunds

    California state tax refunds Sprintax

    If you do study and work in a State where there are State tax deductions, it’s important to note that it’s likely you’ll be entitled to a refund of a significant portion of your contributions.

    You can claim your refund when you file your end of year tax return.

    But does the State that you study in have any effect on the amount of money you’ll be refunded?

    The answer to that question is yes!

    At Sprintax we help hundreds of thousands of international students to file their tax returns and claim their State tax refund every year.

    We’ve crunched the numbers and can reveal, as detailed below, that, in 2017, students who studied and worked in California received a larger State tax refund ($1015) than anywhere else in the US!

    Top 10 average State tax refunds

    top 10 state tax refunds Sprintax

    Claiming your State tax refund

    The easiest way to file your US tax return and claim your State tax refund is to choose Sprintax.

    Sprintax is the only online Federal and State self-prep tax software for international students and non-residents in the US. It will help you prepare your US tax return in minutes and 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 non-resident partner of choice for Turbo Tax.

    To file your US tax return the easy way, get started here!

  • Form 8843. What is it? And how do I file it?

    File your US tax return the easy way with Sprintax

    There are three things that every US international student and J-1 visa holder needs to know about American tax.

    1 – Every US international student and J-1 visa holder has a tax filing requirement

    2 – It doesn’t matter if you have earned income. You must still file your documents before the deadline

    3 – The IRS takes this stuff seriously! In other words, if you don’t comply with your tax obligations, you may encounter complications when applying for US visas in the future

    Regardless of whether you have earned income during your time in the US, you will still need to file what’s known as a Form 8843.

    This blog will focus on exactly what you need to do in order to file this form and remain complaint with the IRS.

    Sprintax US tax form 8843

    First things first. What is a Form 8843?

    The first thing you should know about Form 8843 is that it’s not a tax return. Instead, it’s a statement you file if you are a certain type of non-resident alien (including spouses/dependents of certain non-resident aliens).

    Who should file a Form 8843?

    All non-residents aliens who are in the US on F-1, J-1 or J-2 visas are required to file a Form 8843. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t earn any income, you must still file this form.

    How can I fill out this form?

    There are a number of sections in this form. However, not all of them will be relevant to you. It depends on your personal circumstances.

    Part 1

    file Form 8843 with Sprintax

    In part 1 of your Form 8843 you will need to include the following information:

    • Your personal details (as they appear on your passport)
    • Your Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) – if you have one
    • Your visa type: (F-1, J-1, etc)
    • Your current non-immigrant status
    • The number of days you were present in the US in the last 3 years
    • The number of days you were present in the US in the relevant tax year (enter this in the substantial presence test box)

    File your Form 8843 the easy way!

    Part 2

    Form 8843 Sprintax

    In part 2, teachers and trainees are required to include details of what academic institution or programme you were involved in during the previous year.

    Parts 3, 4 & 5

    file US tax with Sprintax

    File US tax forms with Sprintax

    F-1 and J-1 visa holders should, in part 3:

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

    The majority of students in the US on F or J non-immigrant status will not need to fill in parts 4 and 5.

    What is the deadline for filing a Form 8843?

    You must file your Form 8843, along with any tax return that is due, by the 15 April deadline.

    International students and scholars – file your tax return before the April 15th deadline

    Do I have to file any other tax documents?

    If you get a job in the US, you’ll need to fill out a W-4 Form so your employer knows what income should be withheld from your wages as taxes.

    Similarly if you received a grant, scholarship or stipend, some of this may be classified as income and have tax implications. At the end of the tax year, you will need to prove that you’ve paid the correct amount by filing your tax return.

    If you earned income in the US you must file a tax return – Form 1040NR/Form 1040 NR-EZ – as well as Form 8843.

    What’s the easiest way to file my tax documents?

    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.

    Plus, if you have any questions, our Vita Qualified Live Chat team are on hand to help 24/7!

    File your US tax documents the easy way today!

  • Using TurboTax to Claim Your J1 Tax Refund is Illegal

    Testimonial image for Sprintax

    It’s hard to imagine anything worse than the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) sniffing around after your J1 experience of a lifetime.

    But this is exactly what can happen if you file an inaccurate US tax return.

    If you worked in the US on a J1 visa, then chances are you are legally obliged to file your US tax return by the Apr 15 deadline.

    So for example, if you’re on a J1 in 2018, then you should file your tax return by April 15 2019. If you file your US taxes correctly, you won’t run into any trouble later on. This is important if you ever wish to return to the US on another visa or for a holiday.

    If you go the US on a J1 visa, you’ll be considered a non-resident for tax purposes and must file as a non-resident.

    TurboTax logoResidents in the US can prepare and file their US taxes with the country’s biggest online tax preparation service, TurboTax . TurboTax guides US residents on their taxes and guarantees them maximum refunds. TurboTax offers an excellent online service that helps millions of US residents prepare their taxes and claim refunds. It’s super easy to use, however TurboTax is a service for US residents only, so it’s not suitable for you if you’ve been to the US on a J1 visa. Sprintax is TurboTax’s preferred partner for non-residents on a J1 visa.

    However, TurboTax is a service for US residents only.

    And as a J1 student you’ll typically be considered non-resident for tax purposes.

    If you do use TurboTax to file your US taxes, then you’ll end up filing as a resident. As a non-resident J1 visa-holder, this means your tax return will be inaccurate and you could get into trouble later on!

    trouble meme

    As a J1 visa-holder, you should NOT file as a resident.

    TurboTax and any other resident tax preparation service for residents will assume you understand your residency status, so if you file with them, you may unwittingly file as a resident. And if you file inaccurately, the IRS could come knocking and you may be subject to fines and penalties.

    One such J1 participant, finance student Sofia García from Venezuela felt the strong-arm of the IRS when she filed as a resident through TurboTax:

     

    From May to September 2017, Sofia worked as a busser, clearing tables at The Surf Lodge in Montauk New York. A friend pointed her to TurboTax as the perfect solution for filing her taxes. Unfortunately, Sofia went ahead and filed using TurboTax despite being non-resident for tax purposes.

    A few months down the line and back in Venezuela, she got a letter from the IRS asking her to confirm her identity.

    Had Sofia prepared her tax return with non-resident tax partner of TurboTax, Sprintax, her US taxes would have been filed without incident. She also wouldn’t have to wait to claim her tax refund. For example the average state tax refund for New York State is currently 464.18.

    Sofia came to us for help so we proceeded with an amendment of her US tax return, which could now take the IRS 6 months or longer to process, meaning she’ll have to wait a lot longer for any long due refunds.

    She won’t be making that mistake again!

     

    So if I file an inaccurate tax return, will I get into trouble?

    Claiming a refund you are not entitled to is considered tax evasion, which is a crime.

    If you’re caught you may have to pay penalties and interest. You may also have trouble re-entering the US or applying for a green card.

    It doesn’t matter if you do it yourself or another company does it for you, if a fraudulent tax return is filed on your behalf, it is you that will be held responsible.

    And the worst part is you may not even be aware any laws were broken.

    ‘’Not knowing’’ isn’t considered a valid excuse by the IRS.

    So one of the most important things is to ensure you file using the correct tax status and if you’re using a tax preparer, use a reputable one like Sprintax.

     

    You could be claiming reliefs, exemptions, and credits you’re not entitled to!

    If you file as a resident, then you may end up claiming certain reliefs, exemptions or credits you’re not entitled to. This could result in a bigger refund. However, as a non-resident you won’t be entitled to many of these and must repay them to the IRS if they demand it.

    This could leave you with a hefty tax bill.

    The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) is a good example of this. We’ve come across cases where some J1 students incorrectly claim this credit as a ‘’$1000 bonus’’.

    However, if someone says you can claim this as a non-resident J1 participant, this is false.

    The AOTC is only available under strict conditions.

    A J1 visa holder can’t avail of AOTC unless in their 6th year for students or 3rd year for all other categories in the US and considered a resident for tax purposes. You must also be studying the US.

    If you claim it incorrectly, you’ll end up owing money to the IRS and it could affect future visa applications.

     

    If I file an inaccurate tax return, what happens if there’s an audit?

    The IRS can audit your taxes any time within a 3 year time limit after you file your tax return. Most people find the prospect of an audit to be stressful.

    So the more help you get, the better.

    If you get selected for an audit and you run into issues. Sprintax.com can help you file an amendment of your US tax return.

     

    How do I avoid issues with the IRS?

    The easiest way to file your non-resident taxes and stay on the right side of the IRS is to file with Sprintax.

    As an authorised partner of TurboTax, Sprintax J1 tax preparation is specifically designed for non-residents filing US taxes. Sprintax is a self-prep service, meaning you can create an account here and prepare your federal and state tax return by answering a few simple questions online.

    Here is how it works:

    1. You create a Sprintax account here
    2. Answer some simple questions
    3. Upload any required docs, such as your W2 form
    4. We prepare your fully compliant federal/state tax return(s)
    5. You pay an online fee of $35.95 for Federal Return or $25.95 for a State Return
    6. We give you instructions on where to send your tax return
    7. You print and send (file it) with the IRS as per our instructions

    It’s also essential here that you answer each question honestly!

     

    What’s the benefit of filing my tax return?

    100% compliance is probably the most important benefit of filing an accurate tax return.

    And if you’re due a refund it’s a bonus!

    Due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017, it’s now more important than ever to file your US tax return.

    As of 1 January 2018 (and up to 2025) the personal exemption was reduced from $4,050 to $0 which means that the overall taxable income has increased for all non-residents.

    So if you work in the US from 2018, you must file a tax return, no matter how much you earn. And if you worked there in previous years, you should file to find out how much you could claim!

    The removal of the personal exemption also means that for most non-residents, federal tax refunds will be reduced.

    It’s important to note that these amendments don’t affect 2017 (and previous years). So if you worked in the US before 2018, you could be due a federal tax refund.

    The average US refund is currently $800.

    The changes do not impact your state refund, no matter what year you’re filing for.

    To claim your state tax refund you must file your federal tax return first, before you file your state.

    Bottom line?

    You’re legally required to file a tax return and there’s a chance you’ll be due a tax refund.

     

    What now?

    Well if you worked in the US in 2017 or previous years, then you should file your tax return as soon as possible. You may have missed the deadline but if you’re due a refund, you can still claim this money.

    If you work in the US in 2018, then the deadline for filing is April 15 2019.

    The easiest way to file is by using Sprintax.

    Our tax preparation service for non-residents will help you prepare your federal and state tax returns in minutes and guide you through the filing process.

    With Sprintax you get:

    • A 100% compliant US tax return
    • Check for residency status
    • Any applicable tax treaties to lower any tax liability or increase your refund
    • Avail of personal allowances, credits & tax deductions
    • 24 hour live chat help
    • Claim any tax refunds due

    Over 500,000 non-residents who worked in the US have already used Sprintax.

    Get peace of mind and create your account here now to start preparing your US tax return.

  • Phew! Tax season is finally over! But what should I do now?

    Here are the tax records you need to keep and how long you should keep them for

    When tax season ends it can feel like a big weight has been lifted off your shoulders – an opportunity to exhale and relax (until it all starts again next year that is!) But before you expel all tax topics completely from your mind, there is one final task you must complete.

    Carefully store all of your tax records!

    It’s very important that you organize and store all of your tax records and documentation – including a copy of your tax return.

    Here’s why:

    (1) Audits

    If you’re ever selected by the IRS for an audit you will need to have access to your tax returns and the documents you used to complete them. If the IRS does audit you, they’ll generally look back at your returns over the previous three years so you’ll want to have copies of the returns you filed for those years close at hand. You’ll also need your W2s, 1042-S’s, 1099s, receipts, or any paperwork that will support your tax deductions or credits that you may have claimed on those returns.

    sprintax

    (2) Amendments

    After you file your tax return, you may discover that you need to amend it due to an error or a tax break that you should have claimed. In such cases you will need a copy of the return you filed along with all documents (such as your W-2, 1042-S, 1099) and supporting information (like receipt and statements) you used to prepare the return.

    (3) Residency

    Good tax record keeping will also be useful if you decide to apply for permanent residency (a green card). During the application process you will need to provide evidence of continuous compliance with the US tax law by enclosing the tax return(s) you’ve filed.

    (4) Future returns

    Tax returns you have filed in previous years can help you in preparing future tax returns. For example, you may need to refer to previous figures like refund amounts, deductions, or tax due etc.

    sprintax washington

    How long should I keep tax records?

    According to the statute of limitations outlined by the IRS, the basic rule is that you should keep all of your relevant tax documents for at least 3 years after the date in which you filed. In other words, if you filed a return in 2017 you should keep all tax documents relating to it safe until 2020.

    In some cases, you may need to hang onto your records for longer than three years. For instance, you should plan on keeping tax forms for retirement accounts such as IRAs for seven years after the account is completely wiped out.

    Additionally, if you buy or sell property, you should keep property records until the statute of limitations expires for the year in which you dispose of the property.

    Our advice? Keep all your US tax records at least until 3 years after you have left the US!

    How to keep tax records?

    The law doesn’t require any special record-keeping system for all taxpayers. You can keep your records in any manner that works best for you. If you plan on keeping your records for a long time you should consider scanning your documents and keeping a backup of the files.

    sprintax time square

    Filing your return

    All international students and scholars in the US are required by law to file a tax return. Sprintax can help you to do exactly that. Our easy-to-use system removes all of the stress from the tax filing process. Plus we’ll even help you to retrieve your maximum legal tax refund!

    Not bad!

    Get started now!

  • What to do if you miss the tax deadline

    US TAX Deadline

    Step one: Don’t panic!

    Missed the April 17th deadline? Don’t panic! Nearly 30% of taxpayers are unable to organize their documents before the deadline. But you can still fix this! Here are a few important things you should consider if you missed the tax deadline.

    (1) If you are due a refund or your tax return shows no tax liability

    Tax refund

    If you’re entitled to a refund or your tax return shows no tax liability, you may not be fined for filing late. If you’re due a refund, you should file as soon as possible to get it. You may be entitled to a refund if you had too much tax withheld from your wages or you qualify for certain tax credits.

    Sprintax will help you determine if you are due a refund.

    It’s important to note that there is a time restriction on claiming a federal tax refund. So, if you don’t file within three years from the due date of your tax return (17th of April, 2018 for 2017 tax year), you may not receive your refund.

    In addition, there are some tax refund policy changes for late filing taxpayers that the IRS is implementing and these may affect how quickly you will receive your refund.

    (2) If you owe tax

    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

    If you have underpaid tax, keep in mind that both late filing and late payment penalties may be charged on top of your tax liability. The failure-to-file penalty is the bigger portion of your penalty, and after 60 days of delay its minimum amount will be $205. So if you have not filed form 4868 – Extension to file – you may need to submit your tax return to the IRS as soon as possible in order to avoid a further increase of your fine.

    Your failure-to-pay penalty will depend on the amount of tax you owe. The percentage of the penalty increases over time, so even if you are not ready with your documents, the more tax you pay on time (before the deadline) the less interest and penalty charges you will accrue.

    If you are unable to pay your tax on time, you can choose to enter into installment agreement with the IRS. There are certain conditions you will have to meet and Sprintax tax experts can help you if you choose to request an installment agreement from the IRS.

    Summary

    If you missed the deadline, the best thing you can do is to prepare your tax documents and file your tax return as soon as possible!

    Sprintax can help you to prepare your tax return and determine if you’re entitled to a refund.

     

  • Moving to the US to study? Here’s 10 things to expect

    From your daunting first day to excelling in the classroom – top tips to make the most of college life

    Are you planning a move to the US for study? You’re not alone.

    In fact, the US attracts 1,000,000 international students to its colleges and universities every year. And it’s very easy to see why.

    American universities are amongst the best in the world and offer truly high-class education opportunities to their students. Away from the campus, the US boasts a large mix of cultures which makes it a really interesting place to study and live.

    But moving to a new country is always a big deal for any international student. And it can be hard to know what to expect.

    With this in mind, here’s 10 things to expect when you arrive in the US to study.

    1 – You might freak out at first!

    Let’s face it. There’s a lot to do at first when you move to a new country.

    You’ve got to move into your accommodation and unpack. Next you have to familiarize yourself with the local area. And then you’ve got to get set up with supplies, college necessities, a new phone, a bank account ……..

    And then it hits you. ‘I’m an international student in America. And I’m a long way from home.’

    But don’t freak out! This is when the exciting stuff starts to happen. Go out and meet new people.

    It’s likely there’ll be lots of international students that are going through the same things you are. Talk to them. Pretty soon you’ll be feeling right at home in your new surroundings!

    2 – You can hit the ground running

    ‘Orientation Week’ or ‘Welcome Week’ can be a really useful time to help you get used to your new surroundings. During this week you’ll have a great opportunity to explore your new campus and find your bearings. You’ll also be properly introduced to your course, tutors, and peers.

    Make sure you use this time to sign up for lots of on-campus clubs and societies as these are a good way to meet people.

    3 – There are top-notch student support facilitates available on campus

    Studying in the US is no doubt a rewarding experience, but navigating your way through day-to-day issues can sometimes be tough. The aim of an international student office is to assist students, just like you, to adapt to their new environment.

    That’s why they offer a wide range of student services such as:

    • English-language practice courses
    • Orientations, and trainings
    • Financial aid
    • Career advice
    • On-campus psychiatry and counselling

    They can also help to answer any questions you may have regarding your visa status, housing, employment possibilities, health concerns and more.

    4 – You’ll find cutting-edge technology

    American universities pride themselves on being at the forefront of technology and research techniques.

    If you’re chosen discipline doesn’t directly involve science or engineering, don’t worry. You’ll still have tonnes of opportunity to become skilled in using the latest technology to conduct research, as well as obtain and process information.

    5 – Life in college is relaxed…. until the grading begins!

    Life on campus is usually pretty relaxed and flexible. In fact, it’s normal for US students to work classes into their own schedules.

    Most students are not obliged to show up at every single class, or even to stay for an entire lecture. But, just because you can avoid and skip classes, doesn’t mean you should!

    Remember, the importance of your grades and Grade Point Average (GPA – an average score based on the grades and results of every class you’ve taken during your studies) can’t be overstated.

    The key is to find the right balance between your studies and enjoying campus life.

    6 – You’ll acclimatize to the culture sooner than you think!

    If you like sports, you’re going to feel right at home in the US. Between all of the professional sports like basketball, American football, ice hockey, baseball and soccer, there is something on pretty much every night of the week!

    And Americans take their college sports pretty seriously too. In fact, some of the biggest stadiums in the world were built for US college teams.

    Rooting for your college team is a great way to feel part of the community. Not only will this help you to have conversations with native students, it will also provide you with an authentic experience of American culture.

    Away from the sports field, you’ll find no shortage of options to keep you entertained. America is at the cutting edge of the music, film and literary worlds. So it won’t take you too long to find something you like.

    If you like going out on the town, remember that the legal drinking age in the US is 21. And you’ll need a proper ID to get into most bars and clubs.

    7 – Opening a bank account may take some time

    You’ll find a US bank account to be very useful, especially if you plan to work part-time, pay bills or keep savings. Setting up a bank account can take some time, as there a number of steps to complete. So it’s a good idea to start this process soon after you arrive in the US.

    Here’s further information on how to set-up a US bank account and some more tips for international students in America.

    8 – You shouldn’t work too hard!

    You may be intending to search for employment in your spare time and earn some extra cash. But be careful, as not all types of employment are eligible under the conditions of an F-1 (student) visa.

    For instance, F-1 students who want to work off campus can only do so in roles that are related to their studies. Most of the other off campus roles are not authorized under F-1 and you will need permission by a DSO (Designated School Official) in special circumstances to do this work.

    F-1 students are entitled, however, to find employment on campus.

    But it’s important to note that while school is in regular session, a student can’t work for more than 20 hours per week. During extended holidays, breaks and summer sessions, you can work full time (up to 40 hours per week).  If you are confused whether a job is considered on-campus employment, ask the employer before you accept the role.

    9 – You’re going to have to file a tax return

    You may find this a bit strange if you are normally resident in a country where you don’t have a tax filing obligation.

    Yes, every international student is required to file a tax return (federal and state, if required) for each year present in the US, and pay tax if they earn income. In fact, it’s one of the terms of the student visa.

    And even if you don’t earn money during your time in the US, you will still need to file with the IRS by the April 17 deadline.

    Many international students find the prospect of filing a tax return to be quite daunting and this is completely understandable. Fortunately help is on hand!

    Sprintax can file your fully compliant Federal, State and FICA tax return. We can also help you to retrieve your maximum legal tax refund. And, if you’re confused about your US tax obligations, Sprintax can answer any questions you have. Get in contact with us today!

    We’ll take care of the complex tax requirements so all you have to do is enjoy your time studying in America!

    10 – You’ll have a blast

    You’re studying in the United States after all!

    Each day you will have opportunities, not only to broaden your knowledge in top academic institutions, but also to collect countless life experiences that will stay with you forever.

    Most universities offer a variety of student clubs and organizations to meet every interest. You’ll also have the chance to immerse yourself in American culture, meet new people and make new friends.

    What could be more exciting? Enjoy!

  • Do I need an ITIN?

    As an international student in the US, it is important that you understand the tax requirements of your visa.  Here we explain everything you need to know about ITIN and how we can assist you.

    What is an ITIN?

    An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If you expect to receive taxable Scholarship, Fellowship or Grant Income and you do not qualify for a Social Security Number (SSN) you must apply for an ITIN. ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status because both resident and nonresident aliens may have a US filing or reporting requirement under the Internal Revenue Code.

    Why do I need an ITIN?

    There are a number of circumstances why someone may require an ITIN.  Individuals falling under the following categories that do not have, have never had, or are ineligible for, a US Social Security Number may require an ITIN:

    • A Nonresident alien expecting to receive taxable Scholarship, Fellowship or Grant Income and who is not eligible for an SSN
    • A Nonresident alien required to obtain an ITIN to claim a tax treaty benefit;
    • A Nonresident alien filing a US tax return and who is not eligible for an SSN;
    • A Nonresident alien filing a US tax return only to claim a refund;
    • A US resident alien (based on days present in the United States) filing a US tax return and not eligible for an SSN

    What documents do I need?

    The IRS has streamlined the number of documents it will accept as proof of identity to obtain an ITIN. There are now 13 acceptable documents. An original, or a certified copy, of an unexpired passport is the only document that is accepted for both identity and foreign status. If you do not have a passport, you must provide a combination of current documents that contain expiration dates.

    The IRS will accept documents issued within 12 months of the application if no expiration date is normally available. The documents must also show your name and photograph if they support your identity, and your permanent domicile (place of birth, permanent foreign address), to support your claim of foreign status. The IRS will accept certified copies of a combination (two or more) of the following documents, in lieu of a passport:

    • National identification card (must show photo, name, current address, date of birth, and expiration date)
    • US driver’s license
    • Civil birth certificate
    • Foreign driver’s license
    • US state identification card
    • Foreign voter’s registration card
    • US military identification card
    • Foreign military identification card Visa
    • US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) photo identification
    • Medical records (dependents – under 14 years old – only)
    • School records (dependents and/or students – under 25 years old – only)

    It’s important to note that, if you are sending your ITIN application with a tax return, all documents will need to be certified by a Designated School Official (DSO) or by a certifying acceptance agent.

    Sprintax will help you to select the proper set of documents for your application.

    When can I expect to receive my ITIN?

    It can take 6 to 8 weeks and sometimes longer to obtain an ITIN. And it’s important to be aware that it can often take more than one application before you successfully receive an ITIN. The IRS is generally efficient in informing applicants of any issues with the process. Once your application is complete you will receive a letter from the IRS assigning your tax identification number.

    How Sprintax can help!

    Sprintax will guide you through the process of applying for your ITIN.

    There are two options for applying for an ITIN with Sprintax.

    If you have received income in the US without an ITIN or SSN, the Sprintax NR service will help you to obtain an ITIN and to file a federal tax return.

    Meanwhile, the Sprintax ITIN service is for students who need an ITIN before the end of the tax year so that they can receive their scholarship.

    To get started, you can register at: https://itin.sprintax.com/

  • Can I claim tax exemptions for my family members?

    Everything you need to know about tax exemptions and deductions for families

    If you’re studying or working in America with your family as a non-resident alien, and if you meet certain criteria, you may be able to save money on your tax bill that you normally couldn’t if you were living as a single person.

    You can do this by claiming what are known as tax ‘exemptions’. Exemptions are similar to tax deductions and allow you to lower your taxable income. Each exemption is worth $4,050 (for tax year 2017). In other words, if you’re a student, scholar, teacher or researcher, you may be allowed to deduct $4,050 for each person you claim as a dependent.

    When you are preparing your income tax return there are two different types of exemptions that you may be allowed to claim:

    • Personal exemptions for yourself and your spouse, if applicable
    • Exemptions for dependents (usually family members)

    The general IRS rule states that a non-resident 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 (in which case their personal exemption was already used).

    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, or US Nationals, may claim additional exemptions for a spouse and dependents if:

    o the spouse had no gross income;
    o the spouse was not the dependent of another US taxpayer; and
    o the dependents otherwise qualify as dependents under the normal rules.

    • Residents of the Republic of Korea may claim additional exemptions for a spouse and children if:

    o they meet the same 3 conditions shown above for residents of Canada or Mexico, and US Nationals;
    o the spouse and all children included in the claim have lived with the taxpayer for at least 6 months during the tax year;
    o the additional deductions for the spouse and children are distributed based on the ratio of the alien’s US income (from a US trade or business) and worldwide income (from all sources). Sprintax will estimate this ratio for you.

    • Residents of India who are students and business apprentices may claim exemptions for a spouse and children under US-India tax treaty agreement if:

    o the spouse had no income and can’t be claimed by another taxpayer; and
    o the children meet ALL dependency tests, including the citizenship/residency test.
    That is, a non-resident alien Indian Student can’t claim a dependency exemption for his child unless the child is a US citizen or a resident.

     

    The additional deductions for the spouse and children in all cases are limited to the extent of the alien’s taxable income.

    To determine if your child is a qualifying child for tax exemption, you’ll need to answer the following questions.

    Are they related to you? The child can be your son, daughter, stepchild, eligible foster child, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, stepbrother, stepsister, adopted child or an offspring of any of them.
    Are they a citizen or resident? The person must be a US citizen, a US national, a US resident, or a resident of Canada or Mexico.
    Note: children and spouse of a citizen of India or Korea must be either US national, Green Card holder or must meet Substantial Presence Test in order to qualify.
    Do they meet the age requirement? Your child must be under the age of 19 or, if they are a full-time student, under age 24. There is no age limit if your child is permanently and totally disabled.
    Do they live with you? Your child must live with you for more than half the year.
    Do you financially support them? Your child may have a job, but that job can’t provide more than half of their support.
    Are you the only person claiming them as a dependent? You can’t claim someone who takes a personal exemption for themselves or claims the same dependent on another tax form.
    Are they filing a joint return? You cannot claim someone who is married and files a joint tax return.
    For example, if your son is married and he files a joint return with his spouse, you will not be able to claim him as a dependent on your tax return.

    If you’re unsure of whether you can claim a loved one as a dependent, Sprintax can help you to ascertain if you have an eligible dependent.

    And no matter whether you’re a student, scholar, teacher or researcher, Sprintax can help you to:
    – Prepare your non-resident US tax return
    – Select every deduction you are entitled to
    – Identify all applicable tax treaty benefits you are able to claim, so you can get your maximum US tax refund!

    Apply today!

     

     

  • Where’s My Tax Refund?

    If you are due money back on your federal or state taxes, you ’ll want to know when you can expect that refund check or direct deposit to arrive. You can now get information about your tax refund(s) online. Read below to understand how it works.

    • Checking your Federal tax refund online

     The IRS has an online tool called “Where’s My Refund?” that allows you to check the status of your refund. When you go to the IRS website to get your tax return, the system will ask you for variety of information. Have a copy of your federal tax return on hand so you can enter the information easily. The system will ask 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

    Please have in mind before looking up your refund at Where’s my Refund that The IRS has advised you to wait 4 to 6 weeks after you mail your return.

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

    • The first is the IRS Refund Hotline which can be reached at 800-829-1954. This number, available 24/7, is specifically for calls regarding tax refunds.
    • The IRS TeleTax system at 800-829-4477 provides general tax information as well as your current refund status. It is also available 24/7
    • Checking your State tax refund online

    You can check the status of your state tax refund using the online refund status tools on each state’s website. Click on the links mentioned below to go directly to your state’s refund status tool.

    Alabama (AL)

    The Alabama Department of Revenue has announced it will take 8-12 weeks 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.

    Alaska (AK)

    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 don’t need to file a return in that state.

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

    Arizona (AZ)

    The Arizona Department of Revenue has announced 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 completed processing.

    Click here to check the status of your Arizona state tax refund.

    For more information, contact the Arizona Department of Revenue.

    Arkansas (AR)

    The Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration has announced it can take approximately 6 weeks to receive a refund from the date a return is accepted due to enhanced security measures.

    Follow this link to check the status of your Arkansas state tax refund, and then click Where’s My Refund?

    For more information, contact the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (scroll down to the Individual Income Tax section).

    California (CA)

    The State of California Franchise Tax Board has announced 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. Extra processing time may be necessary.

    Follow this link to check the status of your Arkansas state tax refund, and then click Check refund.

    For more information, contact the California Franchise Tax Board.

    Colorado (CO)

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

    For more information about refund processing click here or contact the Colorado Department of Revenue.

    Connecticut (CT)

    The Connecticut Department of Revenue Services has announced 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 has announced it can take approximately 6 weeks to receive a refund from the date a return is accepted.

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

    For more information, contact the Delaware Division of Revenue.

    District of Columbia (DC)

    The D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue has announced 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 blue Where’s My Refund? button.

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

    Florida (FL)

    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 don’t need to file a return in that state.

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

    Georgia (GA)

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

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

    For more information, contact the Georgia Department of Revenue.

    Hawaii (HI)

    The Hawaii Department of Taxation has announced it can take 9-10 weeks to process a return and issue a refund.

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

    For more information, contact the Hawaii Department of Taxation.

    Idaho (ID)

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

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

    For more information, contact the Idaho State Tax Commission.

    Illinois (IL)

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

    For more information or to contact the Illinois Department of Revenuer click here.

    Indiana (IN)

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

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

    For more information, contact the Indiana Department of Revenue.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Iowa (IA)

    The Iowa Income Tax Department of Revenue and Finance has announced it can take approximately 3 weeks to process a return and issue a refund.

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

    For more information, contact the Iowa Department of Revenue.

    Kansas (KS)

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

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

    For more information, contact the Kansas Division of Taxation for Individuals.

    Kentucky (KY)

    The Kentucky Revenue Cabinet has announced it can take 8-12 weeks to process a return and issue a 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)

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

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

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

    Maine (ME)

    The Maine Revenue Services has announced that Maine tax refunds take up to 14 days to be processed.

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

    For more information, contact the Maine Revenue Services Department.

    Maryland (MD)

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

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

    For more information, contact the Comptroller of Maryland.

    Massachusetts (MA)

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

    For more information, contact the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.

    Michigan (MI)

    The Michigan Department of the Treasury has announced 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 button.

    For more information, contact the Michigan Department of Treasury.

    Minnesota (MN)

    The Minnesota Individual Income Tax has announced it can take approximately 6 weeks to process a return and issue a refund.

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

    For more information, contact the Minnesota Department of Revenue.

    Mississippi (MS)

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

    For more information, contact the Mississippi Department of Revenue.

    Missouri (MO)

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

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

    For more information, contact the Missouri Department of Revenue.

    Montana (MT)

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

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

    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.

    For more information, contact the Nebraska Department of Revenue.

    Nevada (NV)

     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 don’t need to file a return in that state.

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

    New Hampshire (NH)

     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 don’t need to file a return in that state.

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

    New Jersey (NJ)

    The New Jersey State Department has announced 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.

    For more information, contact the New Jersey Division of Taxation.

    New Mexico (NM)

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

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

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

    New York (NY)

    The New York State Processing Center has announced it can take 8-12 weeks after the return is mailed to issue a refund.

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

    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 and click on the Where’s My Refund? button.

    For more information, contact the Hawaii Department of Taxation.

    North Dakota (ND)

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

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

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

    Ohio (OH)

    The Ohio Department of Taxation has announced it can take a minimum of 30 days to process a return and issue a refund.

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

    For more information, contact the Ohio Department of Taxation.

    Oklahoma (OK)

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

    For more information, contact the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

    Oregon (OR)

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

    For more information, contact the Oregon Department of Revenue – Personal income tax.

    Pennsylvania (PA)

    The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue has announced it can take 3 to 4 weeks for the refund to be mailed or direct deposited.

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

    For more information, contact the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.

    Rhode Island (RI)

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

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

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

    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.

    South Dakota (SD)

     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 don’t need to file a return in that state.

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

    Texas (TX)

     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 don’t need to file a return in that state.

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

    Tennessee (TN)

     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 don’t need to file a return in that state.

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

    Utah (UT)

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

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

    For more information, contact the Utah State Tax Commission.

    Vermont (VT)

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

    Follow this link to check the status of your Vermont tax refund (click on Individuals and then click on the Check the status of my return button).

    For more information, contact Vermont Department of Taxes. 

    Virginia (VA)

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

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

    For more information, contact the Virginia Department of Taxation.

    Washington (WA)

     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 don’t need to file a return in that state.

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

    West Virginia (WV)

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

    Wisconsin (WI)

    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 Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

    Wyoming (WY)

    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 don’t need to file a return in that state.

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