All posts tagged Federal tax return

  • Where’s My Tax Refund?

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

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

    Phew! The tricky part is over.

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

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

    Here’s what you need to know…

    Your Federal tax refund 

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

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

    The system will ask you for the following:

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

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

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

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

    US tax refund

    Your State tax refund

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

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

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

    Alabama (AL)

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

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

    For more information, contact the Alabama Department of Revenue.

    Arizona (AZ)

    Arizona tax prep made easy

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

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

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

    Arkansas (AR)

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

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

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

    California (CA)

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

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

    For more information, contact the California Franchise Tax Board.

    Colorado (CO)

    Colarado State tax prep

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

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

    Connecticut (CT)

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

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

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

    Delaware (DE)

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

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

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

    District of Columbia (DC)

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

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

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

    Georgia (GA)

    Georgia tax refunds made easy

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

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

    For more information, contact the Georgia Department of Revenue.

    Hawaii (HI)

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

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

    For more information, contact the Hawaii Department of Taxation.

    Idaho (ID)

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

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

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

    Illinois (IL)

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

    For more information contact the Illinois Department of Revenue here.

    Indiana (IN)

    Indiana state tax refunds

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

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

    Iowa (IA)

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

    Check the status of your Iowa tax refund here.

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

    Kansas (KS)

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

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

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

    Kentucky (KY)

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

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

    For more information, contact the Kentucky Department of Revenue.

    Louisiana (LA)

    Louisiana State tax refunds

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

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

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

    Maine (ME)

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

    Check the status of your Maine tax refund here .

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

    Maryland (MD)

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

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

    Need more info? Simply contact the Comptroller of Maryland.

    Massachusetts (MA)

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

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

    Michigan (MI)

    Michigan state tax refunds

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

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

    For more information, contact the Michigan Department of Treasury.

    Minnesota (MN)

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

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

    Mississippi (MS)

    Check the status of your Mississippi tax refund here.

    Or contact the Mississippi Department of Revenue for more information.

    Missouri (MO)

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

    Check the status of your Missouri tax refund here.

    For more information, contact the Missouri Department of Revenue.

    Montana (MT)

    Montana State tax refunds

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

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

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

    Nebraska (NE)

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

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

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

    New Jersey (NJ)

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

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

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

    New Mexico (NM)

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

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

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

    New York (NY)

    Easy New York State Tax Return

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

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

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

    North Carolina (NC)

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

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

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

    North Dakota (ND)

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

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

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

    Ohio (OH)

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

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

    Oklahoma (OK)

    Easy Oklahoma tax return

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

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

    Oregon (OR)

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

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

    Pennsylvania (PA)

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

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

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

    Rhode Island (RI)

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

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

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

    South Carolina (SC)

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

    For more information, contact South Carolina Department of Revenue.

    Utah (UT)

    Easy Utah tax returns

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

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

    For more information, contact the Utah State Tax Commission.

    Vermont (VT)

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

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

    For more information, contact Vermont Department of Taxes directly. 

    Virginia (VA)

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

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

    For more information, contact the Virginia Department of Taxation.

    West Virginia (WV)

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

    Wisconsin (WI)

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

    Haven’t filed your tax return yet?

    Easy US tax prep

    Better late than never!

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

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

    So what are you waiting for?

    File your tax return and claim your cash today!

    Get started here.

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    US tax can be confusing. Especially for nonresidents!

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

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

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





  • When can I expect my tax refund?

    Sprintax US tax

    How long does it take the IRS to process an international student tax return?

     

    Have you ever wondered what happens to your tax return after you mail it to the IRS? Or how long it takes for the tax office to process your return?

    You’re not alone.

    Many international students file their tax returns as quickly as they can in order to receive their tax refund as soon as possible.

    Yet once you mail your return, it can often seem like there is a long wait before you receive your refund.

    So why is this?

    In this blog you’ll find details on exactly what happens when you mail your tax return to the IRS.

    Still haven’t filed your tax return? Just complete the registration form here to get started.

    What happens after I mail my return to the IRS?

    When you finalize your return and mail it to the tax office it will usually take several days to arrive at its destination.

    Keep in mind that it’s not unusual for something to go wrong with mail processing. For example, if you used insufficient postage your return can get sent back to you which will cause delays in receiving your refund.

    If you are mailing your tax return from outside the US, it will take even longer before it reaches the tax office. Tip: It’s always a good idea to mail your return using a certified mail service or an approved delivery service that will provide you with a tracking number of the letter and proof of your mailing date.

    US tax refund sprintax

    Once your return reaches the IRS it will have to pass through three stages before you receive the refund:

    1. Return Received/ Accepted – This status updates you that your return was successfully received by the IRS and is in line to be reviewed and processed. Usually it will take the IRS from 4 to 6 weeks to process a paper filed return. At this stage of the refund process, the IRS checks your return for math errors, verifies that your filing status matches your exemptions, checks how you’ve calculated your itemized deductions, and if you are legally entitled to any claimed dependents and credits.
    2. Refund Approved – This status means that your return was processed successfully and the refund amount shown on your tax return was approved by the IRS. At this stage your refund will be set for release either by electronic transfer or printed on a check and mailed to you via United States Postal Service, depending how you chose to receive your refund when filing your taxes.
    3. Refund Sent – This status indicates that your refund has been sent to you. It’s important to note that if you’ve requested to receive your refund deposited to your account, it could take approximately five days after they’ve sent it before it reaches you. This is because banks vary in how and when they credit funds. It could take several weeks before you receive a mailed refund check. In most cases, an approximate date to expect your refund to arrive will be indicated.

    Claim your refund with Sprintax here!

    How can I check the status on my refund?

    The IRS recommends using its online ‘Where’s My Refund’ tool (or the mobile app IRS2Go). The tool is updated once daily, usually overnight, so you don’t need to check it more often.

    You can use ‘Where’s My Refund’ to start checking on the status of your return within four weeks after you’ve mailed your paper return. The tool has a tracker that displays progress through the three stages of processing:

    • Return Received
    • Refund Approved
    • Refund Sent

    You will get personalized refund information based on the processing stage of your tax return – it follows your tax return from receipt to completion. The tool will provide an actual refund date as soon as the IRS processes your tax return and approves your refund.

    US tax refund Sprintax

    What information will I need to check my refund status?

    When checking the status of your refund you’ll need to have the following elements:

    • Your SSN/ITIN as shown on your Federal tax return. If you recently applied for an ITIN, you will need to wait for your ITIN notice in order to check your refund status online
    • Your filing status (as indicated at the top of your 1040NR/EZ, Filing status section)
    • The exact dollar amount of the refund as shown on your federal return

    Still haven’t filed? Prepare your return with Sprintax today!

    Note: If you’re requesting a refund of tax withheld on a Form 1042-S by filing a Form 1040NR, the IRS will need additional time to process the return. You should allow up to six months from the original due date of the 1040NR return, or the date you actually filed the 1040NR, (whichever is later) to receive any refund due.

    Is there another way to check the status of my refund?

    Yes. You can also call the IRS TeleTax System at (800) 829-4477 or the IRS Refund Hotline at (800) 829-1954.

    The IRS typically accepts calls Monday through Friday from 7am to 7pm (local time).

    Tip: If you decide to call the IRS, be prepared to be on hold for a while. In fact, the IRS says wait times average 15 minutes during filing season (January to April), with Mondays and Tuesdays being the busiest days. After filing season (May to December), waits can be even longer, averaging 27 minutes.

    Claim your refund with Sprintax here!

    What about the status of my State refund?

    Each State tax office follows a similar processing procedure. You can check the status of your State tax refund using the online refund status tools on each State’s website.

    More detail on how you can check the status of your State refund can be found here.

    Sprintax US tax refund

    I’ve left the US and am having difficulties receiving my refund, what can I do?

    If you have left the US, for example after completing your college course or J-1 program, you may encounter some obstacles when trying to get your hands on your tax refund.

    The main reason for this is that cashing an American cheque outside the US can often be tricky.

    Sprintax can handle the cheque cashing process for you and transfer your money to your bank account anywhere in the world.

    What’s more, should the IRS request additional information before processing your tax return, Sprintax can handle all of the additional communication with the IRS on your behalf.

    Claim your US tax refund the easy way! Get started with Sprintax here.

     

    Subscribe to the Sprintax Blog!

    US tax can be confusing. Especially for nonresidents!

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

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

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





  • 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.

     

    Subscribe to the Sprintax Blog!

    US tax can be confusing. Especially for nonresidents!

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

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

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





  • GOP Tax Reform and its effects on the taxation of foreign students and other non-resident aliens

    We examine how the bill effects the tax obligations of US non-residents

    In November 2017, President Donald Trump introduced a GOP tax reform bill that will have wide ranging consequences for all US tax payers.

    There has been much confusion surrounding the new bill and tax payers have been keen to work out what the changes will mean for their pockets.

    Below we take a look at how the bill will affect the future tax obligations of US non-residents. Most of the changes have taken effect from January, 2018 and will change methods of withholding and the way non-residents will be taxed throughout 2018.

    It’s important to note that these amendments do not affect the 2017 tax return filing season.

    Changes to the current tax law:

    1) Personal exemption will be waived in full

    Permanent amendment

    Effective date: 31 December 2017

    This change means that the personal exemption available for all non-residents to decrease taxable income is reduced from $4,050 in 2017 to $0 in 2018 for all individuals (residents and non-residents).

    In other words, overall taxable income has increased for all non-residents

    2) Standard deductions increase from $6,350 to $12,000

    Permanent amendment

    Effective date: 31 December 2017

    This change will only effect students and trainees from India who are covered by an income tax treaty between the US and India. From the 2018 tax year onwards, they will be able to claim higher standard deductions on their non-resident form.

    All other non-residents are not entitled to avail of standard deductions.

    3) Tuition waivers for tuition and books under Section 529(c) for university students (education next to secondary) will be taxable in full

    Permanent amendment

    Effective date: 31 December 2017

    In previous tax years, tuition waivers under 529(c) were considered non-taxable and non-reportable. They were treated in a similar fashion as scholarships under Section 117.

    However, this will no longer be the case. The Tuition waiver is now taxable as of the 2018 tax year. Scholarships under section 117 will remain non-taxable and non-reportable.

    4) SALT (State and Local Taxes) will be retained for the tax years 2018 to 2025 (inclusive), but they are capped at $10,000 ($5,000 for married people who file separately)

    Temporary amendment for tax years 2018 to 2025 (inclusive)

    Effective date: 31 December 2016

    Most non-residents (including students and other exchange visitors) can only use SALT as an itemized deduction on their Schedule A, 1040NR form or line 11, 1040NR-EZ form. The State and Local Taxes (SALT) deduction decreases taxable income by the amount paid to state and local tax government during the tax year.

    This change sets a cap on SALT deductions to $10,000 which may not affect the deduction most of the students and scholars are eligible for. However, some non-residents paying larger state and local taxes may be unable to use all of them as a deduction.

    5) State taxes paid for previous tax years during the current tax year are no longer allowed

    Permanent amendment

    Effective date: 31 December 2016

    Under the former terms of SALT, individuals could claim state taxes for previous years that they were paying for in the current tax year. In other words, if a student paid their 2015 and 2016 state taxes during the 2017 tax year, they could claim that this added to SALT.

    However, this will no longer be allowed from the 2018 tax year.

    6) Miscellaneous itemized deductions are not allowed

    Temporary amendment for tax years 2018 to 2025 (inclusive)

    Effective date: 31 December 2017

    Expenses under section – Job Expenses and Certain Miscellaneous Deductions, at Schedule A include:

    • Unreimbursed employee expenses (2106 form)
    • Tax preparation fees
    • Other expenses (investment expenses, deposit box and etc)

    Most students are not allowed to use itemized deductions (except for tax preparation fees and SALT). Additionally, some teachers, researchers and other cultural exchange visitors are eligible in some cases to use business expenses and expenses for professional equipment.

    But from 2018 onwards, all of these expenses – tax preparation and business expenses – are not allowed for all resident and non-resident individuals.

    7) Moving expenses are not allowed, except if a taxpayer is an employee of the US Armed Forces

    Temporary amendment for tax years 2018 to 2025 (inclusive)

    Effective date: 31 December 2017

    Moving expenses (which are not covered by the employer) for starting a new job in the US, used to be allowed as a deduction. Usually, this deduction could not be granted to a student, however many teachers and researchers were entitled to avail of it.

    But from the 2018 tax year, this deduction is suspended.

    8) Expenses for personal casualty loss and theft are not allowed, except if they are under disaster area rules

    Temporary amendment for tax years 2018 to 2025 (inclusive)

    Effective date: 31 December 2017

    While expenses for personal casualty loss and theft are very rare among students and exchange visitors, this cohort had been entitled to them. This will no longer be the case from the 2018 tax year onwards.

    9) Change of the treatment of effectively connected income for non-residents: “effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business within the United States (within the meaning of section 864(c), determined by substituting ‘qualified trade or business (within the meaning of section 199A)’ for ‘non-resident alien individual”

    Permanent amendment

    Effective date: 31 December 2017

    From the 2018 tax year onwards, ‘qualified trade or business’ will not include ‘trade or business of performing services as a non-resident employee’.

    This change is likely to have a noticeable effect on most non-residents income in regards to the option to treat FDAP (Fixed, Determinable, Annual or Periodic) income as affectively connected. This change will mainly affect Procedure 88-24, however it may also effect the tax rates for employment income.

    The IRS will be supplying further details on this change in the near future.

    10) Withholding on employee income by the employer

    Permanent amendment

    Effective date: 31 December 2017

    While the certificate of allowance (currently W-4) will remain the same for 2018, the calculation of the amount to be withheld was changed from 1 January 2018.

    The changes surrounds ‘Notice 1036’. The main change detailed (so far) is that standard deductions allowable will be the only eligible deduction considered before the monthly (periodical) tax withholding is calculated.

    As non-resident aliens do not have the right to avail of standard deductions, they will now be taxed on their whole income.

    The changes must be implemented by employers before 15 February 2018.

    11) Tax rates are changed into 4 brackets

    Permanent amendment

    Effective date: 31 December 2017

    New tax brackets for a single individual:

    Not over $9,525                        –                              10% of taxable income.

    Over $9,525 but not over $38,700         –           $952.50, plus 12% of the excess over $9,525.

    Over $38,700 but not over $82,500            –      $4,453.50, plus 22% of the excess over $38,700.

    Over $82,500 but not over $157,500      –         $14,089.50, plus 24% of the excess over $82,500.

    Over $157,500 but not over $200,000    –         $32,089.50, plus 32% of the excess over $157,500.

    Tax tables for resident and non-residents currently in use will be waived.

    Procedure 88-24

    As a result of the changes in points 3, 4, 7 and 8, it is not yet clear whether Procedure 88-24 (for the treatment of scholarship as wages on W-2 form) will be waived or simply be non-beneficial anymore (except for India students and trainees who can use standard deductions under their tax treaty agreement).

    Procedure 88-24 is an alternative procedure for the calculation of withholding amounts on scholarships that enable the use of personal allowances (and itemized or standard deductions) as a tax deduction, leading to a decrease in the taxable scholarship. As all of these items will no longer be available, the Procedure 88-24 will not be applicable next year.

    It might also be waived by the change of the treatment of the term “trade and business” in relation to non-residents. This treatment may cause the scholarship to be ineligible and treated as effectively connected income (wages) in future.

    Confused about your tax obligations?

    Sprintax can prepare your Federal and State tax returns for you. And we guarantee to maximize your tax refund too. Last year, 9 out of 10 Sprintax users with a Federal filing requirement were due a tax refund. What’s more, the average Federal refund was over $1,000.

    So what are you waiting for? Get started today!

    Subscribe to the Sprintax Blog!

    US tax can be confusing. Especially for nonresidents!

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

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

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





  • 5 ways to maintain a valid F-1 visa status

    Can I leave and return to the US on an F-1 visa?

    Am I entitled to work during the semester?

    How long can I stay in the country after my program is finished?

    All your F-1 visa questions answered!

     

    Dreaming of American college life?

    Getting your hands on an all-important F-1 visa is a big step towards turning that dream into a reality. But getting an F-1 visa is one thing, maintaining it is another.

    As a student, there are a number of important rules and regulations that you must follow in order to maintain your F-1 visa status. If you don’t do so, you will not be allowed to re-enter the US if you leave, and you won’t be eligible for practical training (OPT or CPT) or on-campus employment.

    So, with this in mind, here are our top 5 tips for maintaining a valid F-1 visa status

     

    (1) Arriving in the US

    Once you receive your F-1 status, you’ll without a doubt be eager to hit the ground running with your studies.

    But don’t be too eager!

    One of the requirements of the F-1 visa is that you don’t arrive in the US more than 30 days before the first day of classes.

    You’ll also need to link in with your institution’s international office within 30 days of your arrival. Be sure to provide them with your local address in order to keep your SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) record up-to-date. And if you change your local address at any time while in the US, you will need to notify them of this.

    Once you have completed your program, you will have 60 days to leave the US.

    But what if you want to stay extend your American college dream?! To stay in the US you will need to pursue one of the following options:

    • Re-enrol in a higher program
    • Transfer to another school to receive a new Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant Student Status)
    • Apply to change your visa status

     

    (2) Attendance and grades

    All F-1 visa holders are required to be enrolled full time, go to class and maintain passing grades.

    Students who are having difficulty in classes, should notify their international advisor. And if it’s not possible to complete your program by the date stated on your Form I-20, your international advisor can help you request an extension.

    Full-time enrolment can differ depending on your student status. For example, undergraduate programs require students to enrol in at least 12 credit hours each semester during the academic year.

    Meanwhile, each graduate program defines their own unique combination of credit hours and research time to be considered ‘full-time enrolment’. To uphold your F-1 visa status, it’s best to confirm the enrolment requirements with your college.

     

    (3) Working

    It’s common for students to seek full or part-time employment while they study in the US. But be careful, not all types of employment are eligible under the conditions of an F-1 visa.

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

    It’s important to note that, if you choose to work without the proper authorization, your visa can be revoked and you may have to leave the US.

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

    However, 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.

    Optional Practical Training (OPT)

    F-1 students are permitted to work off-campus in Optional Practical Training (OPT) status both during and after completion of their degree. You can apply for OPT after being enrolled for at least 9 months, but you can’t begin employment until you receive your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and you have been enrolled at the college for at least a year.

    To qualify as OPT:

    • The employment must be directly related to your major
    • You must apply for OPT before completion of all work towards a degree
    • OPT is permitted for up to 12 months (full-time) in total
    • You can complete 12 months of OPT for each successive level of degree achieved – for instance 12 months of OPT after receiving your undergraduate degree, and a further 12 months after receiving your graduate degree.

    OPT before completing a degree:

    • You must be enrolled in school full-time
    • You can only work 20 hours per week while school is in session
    • But you may work full-time during summer and other breaks (as long as you will return to school after the break)
    • You may work full-time after completion of all coursework, if a thesis or dissertation is still required and student is making normal progress towards the degree

    OPT after completing a degree:

    • After completion of your degree, OPT work must be full time (40 hours/week)
    • All OPT must be completed within 14 months after completion of your degree
    • Applications for post-completion OPT must be submitted before the completion of your degree

    Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

    Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is another off-campus employment option for F-1 students where practical training is an integral part of their curriculum or academic program. CPT employment is defined as ‘alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school’.

    To be eligible for CPT employment:

    • You must have been enrolled in school full-time for one year on valid F-1 status (except for graduate students where the program requires immediate CPT)
    • The CPT employment must be an integral part of your degree program or requirement for a course for which you receive academic credit
    • You must have received an eligible job offer before you submit your CPT authorization request
    • Your job offer must be in your major or field of study

    Note: All OPT and CPT employment requires prior authorization from your school’s International Student Office. And if you work for 12 months or more of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) you will not be eligible for OPT.

     

    (4) Leaving and re-entering the US

    Thinking of heading home for a holiday during a break in semester?

    As long as your absence from the US is for no less than 5 months, you will have no problem leaving and re-entering the US on an F-1 visa.

    However, you will need to have some important documents in order to ensure your re-entry to the US is successful. These include:

    • a valid Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant Student Status) with a current DSO signature (valid for one year) from the school that you attend in the US
    • a valid F-1 student visa stamp
    • a valid passport or travel document

    To maintain your F-1 visa status you will need a passport that is valid for at least six months into the future. Your country’s consulate or embassy can help you extend your passport if needed.

    Note: If you have completed your program you will not be able to re-enter the US as an F-

    1 student unless you have been admitted to a new program of study and have a new Form I-20, or you are returning to an authorized OPT job.

     

    (5) Don’t forget your taxes!

    To maintain a valid F-1 visa, you are required by law to file a tax return if you were in the US during the previous calendar year. Filing a tax return is probably the last thing you’ll want to do when you’re enjoying an exciting time in the US. Fortunately help is on hand!

    Sprintax can prepare your Federal and State tax returns for you. And we guarantee to maximize your tax refund too! Last year 9 out of 10 Sprintax users with a Federal filing requirement were due a tax refund. What’s more, the average Federal refund was over $1,000.

    So what are you waiting for? Get started today!

     

    Subscribe to the Sprintax Blog!

    US tax can be confusing. Especially for nonresidents!

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

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

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





  • 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.

     

    Subscribe to the Sprintax Blog!

    US tax can be confusing. Especially for nonresidents!

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

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

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





  • 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.

     

    Subscribe to the Sprintax Blog!

    US tax can be confusing. Especially for nonresidents!

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

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

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





  • 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.

     

    property-tax-deduction-america-stay-9wVeRF-clipart

     

    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.

     

    Subscribe to the Sprintax Blog!

    US tax can be confusing. Especially for nonresidents!

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

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

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





  • 2016 Tax Season A Fantastic Success!

    With the 2017 tax filing season open, it’s time to take a look back at the 2016 season and what we achieved.

    Successful season for Sprintax

    The 2016 tax season saw a huge increase in the number of students and scholars using Sprintax to prepare their Federal and State tax returns.

    With a similar increase in contracted colleges and universities for 2017, we are expecting this to be another record year.

    In 2016 the average Federal refund was over $900, and while everyone’s circumstances are different, the vast majority of those who prepared a Federal return received a refund – so it does pay to file your taxes!

    Communication with clients and partners

    At Sprintax we strive to provide our clients the highest quality service and their feedback is vital to achieve this. In 2016, we launched our Customer Satisfaction Survey for the 2nd year and were delighted with the positive results.

    In 2016, the Sprintax team attended the NAFSA conference in Denver, as well as the regional NAFSA conferences, where we had the pleasure of meeting many of our colleagues and partners.

    Our goals for the future

    We’re committed to making tax preparation as stress-free as possible. Our team are on hand to answer any questions you may have when preparing your returns. Simply ask a question here.

    The filing deadline is Tuesday April 18, but the sooner you file the sooner you get your refund, so don’t delay!

    Click here to sign up!

  • The 2016 Tax Year is Live!

    We’re excited to announce that the 2017 tax filing season is open and Sprintax is up and running!

    International students and scholars, and non-resident professionals – you can now use Sprintax to prepare your non-resident tax returns for the 2016 tax year. Sprintax can help you prepare your Federal, State, and FICA tax returns to ensure you stay fully compliant.

    Official start of 2017 filing season

    The 2017 filing season starts on January 23 2017. Sprintax gives you the opportunity to prepare your tax return before that date and have your 2016 tax return ready to mail on or after January 23, at the start of the 2017 Filing season.

    April 18 Filing Deadline 

    The filing deadline to submit 2016 tax returns is Tuesday, April 18, 2017, rather than the traditional April 15 date. In 2017, April 15 falls on a Saturday, and this would usually move the filing deadline to the following Monday — April 17.

    However, Emancipation Day — a legal holiday in the District of Columbia — will be observed on that Monday, which pushes the nation’s filing deadline to Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

    What does the April 18 deadline mean to me?

    Non-residents can apply for their tax refunds even after the April 18 deadline, but your return has to be filed no more than 3 years after the original deadline in order for the IRS to issue you a refund.

    You should not worry about penalties and fines if you have no tax liability as the IRS may not penalize you if you do not file a return on time.

    The deadline for filing your Form 8843 is the same as the deadline for filing your tax return (April 18).

    If you owe additional tax for the year, you must file your tax return and pay those taxes by April 18 to avoid late filing and payment interest and penalties.

    How Sprintax works

    To get started, simply create an account here. Sprintax will give you a step-by-step guide to the whole process – all you need to do is answer a few simple questions.

    Once you’re done, Sprintax will generate your tax return/s and you can simply send it to the tax office – it’s as easy as that!

    Once complete, we’ll store your details for any future tax returns. You can also prepare tax returns for previous years using the same account.

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

    Don’t miss out on your tax refund and stay compliant by using Sprintax!

    Have a question? Ask our virtual assistant Stacy here.