All posts in Tax Tips

  • 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.

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    (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.

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    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.

     

  • What happens if I miss the April 18th, 2017 deadline?

    Don’t panic! This is IRS’ advice for you. Nearly 30% of the taxpayers are unable to organize their documents before the deadline. You still have the chance to solve your situation; however there are a few important things you need to consider if you expect to miss the deadline.

    If you are due back a refund or your tax return shows no tax liability

    If you are due back 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. Even if you are not required to do so, you may still get a refund. This could apply if you had taxes withheld from your wages or you qualify for certain tax credits.

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

    Note that there is time limitation for you to file and receive your federal tax refund, so if you don’t file within three years from the due date of your tax return (18th of April, 2017 for 2016 tax year), you may not receive your refund.

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

    If you owe any money in tax

    If you owe any money in 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 further increase of your fine.

    Your failure-to-pay penalty depends 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 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 have the choice to enter into installment agreement with the IRS. There are certain conditions you should meet and Sprintax tax experts will be able to help you if you choose to request installment agreement from the IRS.

    In conclusion, 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!

    Do not delay your tax return further! Sprintax can help you to prepare  it, and estimate if you owe tax to the IRS.

     

  • Sprintax Tax Workshop: Non-resident taxes explained (video playlist)

    Preparing your non-resident tax returns can seem like a daunting task! Sprintax has helped many international students and scholars through the process and is always striving to make their experience as stress-free as possible.

    Check out our Tax Workshop playlist – we explain the most important things you need to know about US taxes and using Sprintax:

    The tax deadline is April 18th, so don’t delay and create an account!

    If you still have questions, Sprintax offers 24 hour support to students via our Live Chat facility here.

    Have a question? Ask our virtual assistant Stacy here.

     

  • I am an international student, why don’t I get a full refund of taxes paid?

    Many international students on F-1, J-1, M-1 and Q engage in practical training and earn income through one of the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) approved programs or participate in on-campus and off-campus employment during or post-study.

    Do I need to pay tax?

    It is sometimes thought that foreign students who receive any type of income and funds from their OPT or from on-campus or off-campus activity, are not liable to US taxes however this is untrue. For many international students, the US tax system may seem complex and as a result they are not aware of their filing and taxation obligations.

    According to US tax law and regulations (Publication 519), “non-resident aliens usually are subject to US income tax only on US source income”, respectively, foreign students under F1, M1, J1 and Q visas are liable to pay both federal and state income taxes on their US sourced income, which may include wages, tips, scholarship and fellowship grants, dividends, and so on.

    Non-resident aliens file Form 1040NR-EZ or 1040-NR “US Non-Resident Alien Income Tax Return” to assess and file federal income and taxes. Most non-resident aliens do not qualify for the standard deduction.

    Tax Time post-it and Red Alarm Clock. 3D Rendering

    Do I need to file a tax return?

    If your gross earned income from sources within the US does not exceed the personal exemption allowance ($4,100 in 2016), a federal income tax return is not due and any federal tax withheld will be refunded in full.

    Scholarships and Fellowship Grants are also taxable income when paid to non-resident aliens. IRS Notice 87-31 exempts scholarships and fellowships from tax in the US when paid to US citizens and residents, yet the US scholarship and fellowship grants paid directly to a foreign student are generally taxable and subject to reporting.

     

    Can I deduct expenses?

    The general rule is that you cannot deduct personal or living expenses, unless specifically allowed by the US tax code. Some foreign students are eligible for a direct write-off of that part of the scholarship or grant that was used to cover qualified educational expenses. The deduction applies to all non-resident aliens who are candidates for a degree or at least half-time students.

    The qualified educational expenses also include all out-of-pocket expenses paid for tuition, academic fees, books, supplies and equipment required by a college or university.

     

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    What is a tax treaty?

    Another way for international students to decrease federal income tax is to avail of a tax treaty which will allow them to fully or partially exempt their US sourced income from federal and/or some state income taxes.

    The US tax treaty network covers more than 65 countries and almost all treaties have specific provisions that apply to students, trainees and apprentices.

    In conclusion, foreign students are liable to pay US income taxes on the income they earn in US, including wages, tips, scholarship and fellowship grants, dividends, and must use non-resident tax return forms 1040NR-EZ or 1040-NR to calculate the amount of federal income tax they must pay.

     

    Am I due a tax refund?

    If the amount of tax deducted from your payments during the tax year 2016 is more than the tax shown on your 1040NR-EZ or 1040-NR, then you will be due a refund, otherwise you will be required to pay your US tax liabilities.

    It is important to note that each individual state has its own tax system and tax regulations imposing different residency and filing requirements under which foreign students may have to a file state tax return and pay state income tax even when no federal return is due.

     Claiming-a-tax-refund-–-explained-step-by-step

    Preparing your tax return online

    Sprintax.com offers you non-resident tax form preparation online through a simple step-by-step process. The software analyzes personal, income and tax information and produces non­-resident tax forms such as 1040NR, 1040NR-EZ, more than 10 state tax returns, including CA, NY, MI, IL, PA, MA, NC, NJ, VA, GA and many others, including the 8843 form and W-7 ITIN application where applicable.

    Through the user-friendly, step-by-step application, the software collects data that considers your allowed expenses, tax treaty benefits, deductions and exemptions helping you to prepare a compliant tax return and reduce your income tax liability as much as is legally possible.

    Sprintax offers 24 hour support to students via our Live Chat facility to answer any questions you may have here.

    Have a question? Ask our virtual assistant Stacy here.