All posts tagged tax tips

  • Where’s My Tax Refund?

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

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

    Phew! The tricky part is over.

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

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

    Here’s what you need to know…

    Your Federal tax refund 

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

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

    The system will ask you for the following:

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

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

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

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

    US tax refund

    Your State tax refund

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

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

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

    Alabama (AL)

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

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

    For more information, contact the Alabama Department of Revenue.

    Arizona (AZ)

    Arizona tax prep made easy

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

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

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

    Arkansas (AR)

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

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

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

    California (CA)

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

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

    For more information, contact the California Franchise Tax Board.

    Colorado (CO)

    Colarado State tax prep

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

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

    Connecticut (CT)

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

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

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

    Delaware (DE)

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

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

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

    District of Columbia (DC)

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

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

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

    Georgia (GA)

    Georgia tax refunds made easy

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

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

    For more information, contact the Georgia Department of Revenue.

    Hawaii (HI)

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

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

    For more information, contact the Hawaii Department of Taxation.

    Idaho (ID)

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

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

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

    Illinois (IL)

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

    For more information contact the Illinois Department of Revenue here.

    Indiana (IN)

    Indiana state tax refunds

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

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

    Iowa (IA)

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

    Check the status of your Iowa tax refund here.

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

    Kansas (KS)

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

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

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

    Kentucky (KY)

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

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

    For more information, contact the Kentucky Department of Revenue.

    Louisiana (LA)

    Louisiana State tax refunds

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

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

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

    Maine (ME)

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

    Check the status of your Maine tax refund here .

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

    Maryland (MD)

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

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

    Need more info? Simply contact the Comptroller of Maryland.

    Massachusetts (MA)

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

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

    Michigan (MI)

    Michigan state tax refunds

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

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

    For more information, contact the Michigan Department of Treasury.

    Minnesota (MN)

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

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

    Mississippi (MS)

    Check the status of your Mississippi tax refund here.

    Or contact the Mississippi Department of Revenue for more information.

    Missouri (MO)

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

    Check the status of your Missouri tax refund here.

    For more information, contact the Missouri Department of Revenue.

    Montana (MT)

    Montana State tax refunds

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

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

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

    Nebraska (NE)

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

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

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

    New Jersey (NJ)

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

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

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

    New Mexico (NM)

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

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

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

    New York (NY)

    Easy New York State Tax Return

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

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

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

    North Carolina (NC)

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

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

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

    North Dakota (ND)

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

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

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

    Ohio (OH)

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

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

    Oklahoma (OK)

    Easy Oklahoma tax return

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

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

    Oregon (OR)

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

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

    Pennsylvania (PA)

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

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

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

    Rhode Island (RI)

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

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

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

    South Carolina (SC)

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

    For more information, contact South Carolina Department of Revenue.

    Utah (UT)

    Easy Utah tax returns

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

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

    For more information, contact the Utah State Tax Commission.

    Vermont (VT)

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

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

    For more information, contact Vermont Department of Taxes directly. 

    Virginia (VA)

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

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

    For more information, contact the Virginia Department of Taxation.

    West Virginia (WV)

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

    Wisconsin (WI)

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

    Haven’t filed your tax return yet?

    Easy US tax prep

    Better late than never!

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

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

    So what are you waiting for?

    File your tax return and claim your cash today!

    Get started here.

    Subscribe to the Sprintax Blog!

    US tax can be confusing. Especially for nonresidents!

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

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

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





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

    State tax refunds Sprintax

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sprintax state tax refunds

    International students & tax

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    State tax refunds

    California state tax refunds Sprintax

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

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

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

    The answer to that question is yes!

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

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

    Top 10 average State tax refunds

    top 10 state tax refunds Sprintax

    Claiming your State tax refund

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

    Sprintax is the only online Federal and State self-prep tax software for international students and non-residents in the US. It will help you prepare your US tax return in minutes and enable you to receive your maximum legal tax refund!

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

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

    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!





  • 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!





  • Form 8843 Explained

    Form 8843 US tax

    As a non-resident alien, even if you don’t need to file a US income tax return, you still must file a Form 8843. So what’s it all about?

    What is a Form 8843?

    8843

    (extract of form)

    A Form 8843 ‘’Statement for Exempt Individuals with a Medical Condition” is not an income tax return, it is a statement you file for the US Government if you are a certain non-resident alien (including spouses/dependents of certain non-resident aliens).

     

    Who must file a Form 8843?

    Non-residents aliens in the US under F-1, J-1, or J-2 non-immigrant status are required to file a Form 8843, even if you had no income in the previous tax year.

     

    You must file a Form 8843 if:

    • You were present in the US in the previous tax year
    • You are a non-resident alien
    • And you are in the US under F-1, F-2 or J-2 status.

     

    Even if you don’t need to file an income tax return, you should file the Form 8843 if the above criteria apply.

     

    How do I fill it in?

    Here is the Form.

    Part 1:

    • Fill in your details accurately including your name as it appears on your passport.

     

    • If you have a social security number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number you should include it. You generally don’t need an SSN or ITIN to file a Form 8843 but if you have been assigned one, you must include it on Form 8843. The exception to this is for those who can be claimed as dependents on a US tax return. These dependents must have either an SSN or ITIN.

     

    • Enter the type of visa you’re on in the US (F-1, J-1, etc.).

     

    • Enter your current non-immigrant status, unless this has changed since you entered the US. In this case you should also enter the date your change of status was approved.

     

    • Enter the number of days you were present in the US in the last 3 calendar years.

     

    • In the box on the substantial presence test, enter the number of days that you were in the US in the tax year.

     

    Part 2

    For teachers and trainees, answer the questions according to your personal circumstances and include the details of what academic institution or programme you were involved in the previous year.

     

    Part 3

    If you are an F-1, J-1 (and dependents), you should fill in this section.

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

     

    Part IV and V

    These parts don’t apply to those in the US on F or J non-immigrant status so you don’t need to fill these in.

  • Tax Rules for International Students in the US

    tax tips for students

    The tax you pay in the US is determined by your status as a resident for tax purposes.

    What is a Non-Resident Alien?

    Typically, a non-resident alien is someone who is legally present in the US but doesn’t have a green card. Non-resident aliens (NRAs) must pay income tax on income earned from a US source. If you are a non-resident alien, you must keep records of all sources of income so the IRS can see proof of what should be taxed and what should be exempt.

     

    Students in F-1 and J-1 status are typically considered NRAs for the first 5 years in student status, including the tax year (January 1 – December 31). In the 6th year, you become a resident for tax purposes.

    Scholars in J-1 status are considered NRAs for the first 2 years so scholars who arrived in 2015 or later are non-residents for the 2016 tax year.

    Other non-immigrant statuses: Dependent on the substantial presence test

     

    FORM 8843

    Required of all Fs and Js—even without any income

    All non-immigrants in F or J status that are deemed “non-residents for tax purposes” must mail a form 8843  if they were in the U.S. for any part of the tax year, January 1 to December 31.

    If you didn’t have any income, you can mail this form alone. If you did have income, the 8843 form is to be included with other forms in your non-resident tax return.

     

    What is a tax return and what’s the deadline?

    Your tax return reports your income and taxes withheld, if any, during the tax year (January 1 – December 31). If you’ve overpaid taxes, you’ll get a refund and if there’s a shortfall, you’ll owe money. If you work in the U.S. or have other U.S. sourced income, you may have taxes withheld.

    April 18, 2016 is the deadline for your 2015 tax return.

    Every year, you have to file an income tax return with the federal tax authorities. Each state has its own tax regulations so you also may need to file a state tax return.

    Sprintax can help you prepare both your federal and state tax returns.

    Sources of income include:

    • On-campus and off-campus employment
    • Scholarship/fellowship grants/stipends
    • Graduate or teaching assistantships
    • Salary for a teaching or research appointment

    Tax Treaties

    You may be also eligible for a tax treaty that may limit your taxable income. Sprintax can check for this when you fill in your details.

     

    Documents you’ll need:

    tax documents

    • Passport
    • Visa/Immigration info-including Form DS-2019 or Form I-20
    • Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (if any)
    • U.S. entry and exit dates for all visits
    • Tax-related forms

     

    Tax forms

    You may receive one or more of the following—or none— depending on your circumstances!

     

    W-2:

    W-2 form reports your wages from each employer.

    1042-S:

    1)  Reports scholarships, fellowships, grants, awards and any other payment made to you by a U.S. source that was NOT compensation for services, i.e. for which you did NOT work. If your scholarship or fellowship provided tuition exemption or reduction, but no stipend, you will not receive a 1042-S form since you didn’t receive a payment that is considered income.

    2) Also reports earned income that is exempt from tax because of a tax treaty between your country of residence and the U.S.

    1099:

    Bank interest, stocks, funds

     

    Preparing your tax return

    You can use Sprintax to prepare your non-resident tax return.

    Sprintax will also:

    • Determine your tax residency status
    • Identify what forms you need to file
    • Apply any tax treaty benefits
    • Complete and generate the forms you need, along with mailing instructions
    • 24/7 Live Chat help

     

    Sprintax can also:

    • Prepare state tax returns (for a fee)
    • Generate form 843 to request a refund of Social Security / FIC payments if withheld in error (for a fee).

     

    Create a Sprintax Account

    1. To get started, click here to create an account
  • Your Free Guide to Studying in the US

    Check out how Sprintax works

    Considering embarking on an academic course in the US?

    Being an international student in the US can be a hugely rewarding experience. If you’re wondering how to go about it or just looking for tips, then you should download our free PDF guide straight to your PC or smartphone.

    Topics include:

    • How to get a scholarship
    • Getting your visa
    • Where to go
    • Accommodation in the US
    • Eating on a Budget
    • US Tax Tips
    • Getting a Job
    • Student Life
    • And much more!

    Simply fill in the form below to get your free guide!

  • Your Tax Questions Answered

    Tax questions answered

    Here are the answers to some of the most common questions we get asked about U.S. taxes.

     

    1. Do I need to file a tax return?

    If you are a non-resident in the U.S. you must file a tax return to stay compliant with your visa’s tax obligations.

    If you are any of the following, you must file a return:

    • Non-resident alien individual not engaged in a trade or business in the U.S. and has U.S. income on which the tax liability was not satisfied by the withholding of tax at the source.
    • Even if you had no income, you must still file Form 8843

    As well as federal tax, there are also state taxes and local taxes. The basis on which you must file a state tax return will depend on the tax rules of the state in which you lived and/or worked. Sprintax can prepare your federal tax return and if required, will also prepare your state tax return.

     

    2. Can I avail of a tax treaty?

    You may be able to claim a tax refund under international ‘tax treaties’. Tax treaties are agreements between the U.S. and other countries allowing you to claim back whole or part of tax paid while working in the U.S.

    Sprintax will check if you’re eligible for a tax treaty when preparing your U.S. tax return. You can check for tax treaties here.

     

    3. What’s a W-2 form?

    You’ll need a W2 form to file your tax return if you worked on or off-campus. Your employer will give you a W-2 by the deadline and it will detail your income from the previous year. This form is divided into state and federal sections and there are fields with employer information and details of income.

     

    4. What is a 1042-S form?

    If you received a scholarship, fellowship, grant, or any other source of U.S. income subject to tax, you’ll need Form 1042-S in order to complete your tax return. This form can also be used for other income types such as teaching, research, and investment income. You should receive Form 1042-S from your university’s payroll department or whatever party provided the income.

     

    5. What is a Form 8843?

    Form 8843 it is not an income tax return. It is a statement for exempt individuals and individuals with a medical condition for the U.S. Government. You will need to file Form 8843 if you are a non-resident alien in the U.S. under F-1, F-2, J-1, or J-2 non-immigrant status and you are exempt for a certain period from substantial presence test. This applies whether you received U.S. income or not.

    Non-resident aliens who are not required to file an income tax return (Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ), but  are required to file Form 8843, do not need to get a Social Security number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). But if an SSN has been assigned, the number must be included on Form 8843.

     

    6. What is Form 1098-T?

    Form 1098-T (Tuition Statement) is for U.S. nationals and residents in order to figure out their educational credits which are not available to non-residents. Sprintax is specifically for non-residents, so you do not need this form in order to complete your income and tax details in our system.

     

    7. What is the April 15 (18 in 2016) deadline for?

    The April 15 (18 for 2016 tax season) deadline is the date by which all tax returns must be filed for the previous year. If you owe money to the tax office and don’t file your 2015 tax return by April 18, 2016 the U.S. tax authorities will impose late filing penalties and interest on the amount you owe.

     

    8. What happens if I miss the April 15 (18 in 2016) deadline?

    You should not worry about penalties and fines if you have no tax liability, the IRS will not penalize you if you do not file a return although you must still file Form 8843. If you owe anything to the tax office, however, you may incur late filing fees and/or penalties.

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

     

    9. Can I file electronically?

    No, you must print and mail your forms to the IRS as Sprintax will not mail your forms to the IRS on your behalf. Follow the detailed instructions provided enclosed with your tax forms.

     

    10. I don’t have an SSN or ITIN

    If you don’t have a Social Security Number (SSN) you will need to get a temporary number instead. This is called an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Sprintax can organise this for you.

    An ITIN must be provided on tax returns, statements, and other tax related documents.

     

    11. What documents/information might I need to prepare my tax return?

    • Passport
    • U.S. entry and exit dates for current and all previous visits
    • All tax forms you’ve received (including Forms W-2, 1042-S and/or 1099, etc.)
    • Visa/immigration status information, including Form DS-2019 (for J visa holders) or Form I-20 (for F visa holders) Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
    • If you are using Sprintax to prepare your state tax return(s) you will need a copy of your already prepared federal tax return

     

    12. What are the benefits of using Sprintax?

    • IRS compliance
    • Step by step guidance
    • ITIN applications
    • User-friendly system
    • 24/7 Live Help

     

    13. I’m not a student, can I use Sprintax?

    If you’re a temporary visitor to the U.S. on a H1B, H2B, L or B-1 working visa, Sprintax can prepare your U.S. income tax return. However, you must be classified as non-resident for the entire tax year. If you’re unsure, Sprintax can review your status.

     

    14. Who can use Sprintax?

    Sprintax was created for international students, scholars, teachers and researchers in the U.S. on F, J, M and Q visas.

     

    15. Where do I start?

    To get started with your U.S. tax return, click here to create an account.

    If we haven’t answered all your questions, then please ask our tax guru, Stacy!

     

  • Filing Your U.S. Tax Return: 5 Things You Should Know

    filing your taxes

    As an international student in the U.S., you are obliged to file a federal and state tax return for each year you are present in the U.S. Even if you have earned no U.S. sourced income, you still need to file a form 8843. All non-resident aliens in the U.S. under F-1, F-2, J-1, or J-2 and other non-immigrant exchange program status must file form 8843.

    Generally in the U.S., you will be taxed on:

    • Income earned on or off campus
    • Stipend, fellowship, grant
    • Any other income from US sources

    Here are 5 things you should know before filing your U.S. tax return:

    1. Deadlines

    Don’t miss the tax filing deadline as you may get penalized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)! This date usually lands on April 15 each year unless it happens to be on a weekend or holiday. This year, the deadline is Monday, April 18.

    2. Get your documents in order

    It’s very important that you have the correct documents required to prepare and file your tax return.

    These include:

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

    • W2 Form:
    You’ll need a W2 form to file your tax return if you worked on or off-campus. Your employer will provide you with a W-2 by the deadline and it will reflect your income from the previous year. The form is divided into state and federal sections and there are fields with employer information and details of your income.

    • 1042-S
    Typically, if you received a scholarship, fellowship, grant, or any other source of U.S. income subject to tax, you’ll need a form 1042-S to complete your tax return although this form may be used for many other income types as teaching, research, and investment income. You should receive form 1042-S from your university’s payroll department or the party that provided the income.

    3. ITIN

    You’ll need your ITIN for your federal tax return if you do not have and are not eligible for a social security number. If you don’t have one, Sprintax can help organize this for you. You don’t need one if you are just filing a form 8843, but if you have been supplied with one, you must include it on the form.

    4. Residency status

    The first thing you need to know when filing a tax return in the U.S. is if you are a resident or non-resident alien for tax purposes. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you are considered a non-resident alien unless you meet one of two tests. You are a typically deemed a resident for tax purposes if you meet either the green card test or substantial presence test. Sprintax can determine your status for you when preparing your tax return.

    5. Tax treaties

    If you’re an international student in the U.S., you may be able to benefit from a tax treaty with your home country. Generally, under these tax treaties, residents of foreign countries are taxed at a reduced rate or sometimes even exempt. The IRS has a list of tax treaty countries here. Sprintax can check if you’re eligible for a tax treaty when preparing your tax return.

    Sprintax was created specifically for international students, scholars, teachers and researchers in the U.S. on F, J, M and Q visas, to make tax prep easy.

    Watch our video demo to see how it works:

    To begin filing your U.S. non-resident tax return, get started by creating an account here. 

  • US Taxes for International Students

    Regardless of the fact that you probably don’t classify as a US citizen, you’re required by US taxation law to file a tax return.

    Filing a tax return

    You should complete and submit your tax documents to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) by the 15th of April for any income earned in the previous year.

    Even if you haven’t earned any income and therefore don’t owe any money to IRS, not filing your taxes could still influence your future plans. Not complying with the law may affect your future visa applications.

     

    Tax refund

    If you received any income during the tax year, you could be entitled to get some of the taxes you paid back. If you don’t file your tax return, you lose the opportunity to apply for your tax refund and get some extra money. Not to mention the penalties the IRS could impose on you.

     

    Tax Treaties

    You may be eligible to take advantage of ‘tax treaties’ signed between the US and your home country, so make sure you check this.

    Sprintax has all credits and tax treaties for non-resident international students built-in which makes Sprintax a super easy option for tax filing for non-residents.

     

    How to file your taxes

    Unlike US residents, non-residents for tax purposes can’t file tax returns electronically. By “electronically” we mean you can’t submit your documents to IRS electronically.

     

    Sprintax has the answer

    You can use our online tax preparation tool to help you with the complicated tax documents and process, then print and simply post them to IRS.

     

    Get started at Sprintax.com