All posts in Sprintax

  • Form W-8BEN and W-8BEN-E – what are they and what is the difference between them?

    W9BEN form

    The W-8 forms are notoriously tricky for nonresidents to complete.

    However, it’s important to have a good understanding of these documents – especially if you intend to earn income while in the US.

    So, with that in mind, we have gathered everything you need to know about form  W-8BEN into this handy guide.

    So what is the purpose of a W-8BEN? Let’s take a look…

    Continue reading “Form W-8BEN and W-8BEN-E – what are they and what is the difference between them?” »

  • What are my tax obligations as a nonresident self-employed worker in the US?

    self-employed and freelancers tax obligations

    (Last updated: 13 June 2022)

    It’s tricky being self-employed – after all, you need to keep a close eye on your income and all of your deductible expenses!

    It’s even more tricky being self-employed in a country where you are unfamiliar with the local tax rules.

    What’s more, when you are considered a nonresident for tax, special rules apply to you when compared with a resident.

    In this blog we will cover the key information that nonresident self-employed individuals in the US need to know about their tax filing obligations. Continue reading “What are my tax obligations as a nonresident self-employed worker in the US?” »

  • How to get the forms you will need to file your taxes as a nonresident

    forms you need to file nonresident tax return

    Tax season can be a difficult time for nonresidents in the US. After all, you are filing taxes in an unfamiliar country!

    However, it’s not all bad – Sprintax is here to help!

    And while filing your taxes may seem like a big job, you can make the job easier by breaking it down into smaller tasks.

    Step one is to gather all of the income forms and documents you will need in order to file your return. Continue reading “How to get the forms you will need to file your taxes as a nonresident” »

  • Top 8 tax myths international students in US believe in – DEBUNKED!

    tax myths international students believe in

    George Orwell once said: “Myths that are believed in tend to become true”.

    Well, there might be a grain of truth in what he said but not when it comes to taxes and the U.S. taxation laws.

    As an international student you are not supposed to know the US tax procedures concerning tax return filing by heart but at least you should be aware of the Top 8 tax myths that most international students tend to believe in.

    So do not walk around believing in “old wives’ tax tales and check the most common tax myths DEBUNKED here!

     

    Continue reading “Top 8 tax myths international students in US believe in – DEBUNKED!” »

  • How are royalties paid to nonresidents taxed in the US

    US royalty payments income tax for nonresident aliens

    Many nonresidents who come to the US are unsure about various different aspects of taxation.

    One of the areas that can prove troublesome is the taxation of royalties.

    Many nonresidents are unsure how their royalty income will be taxed, and this can lead to a stressful situation come tax season.

    Bearing that in mind, we have put together this article that outlines all you need to know about royalties and tax in the US.

    Continue reading “How are royalties paid to nonresidents taxed in the US” »

  • Breaking: Sprintax is Now LIVE For Nonresident Federal E-Filing!

    Sprintax Federal efiling live

    It has never been easier to file your nonresident US federal tax return.

    We are thrilled to announce that Sprintax – the best online solution for nonresident federal and state tax returns – is now live for Federal E-Filing.

    This means that, by completing the easy Sprintax questionnaire, you can file your 2021 federal return directly with the IRS online.

    What is E-Filing?

    Sprintax is now approved by the IRS to submit Federal tax returns electronically (E-Filing).

    In short, this means you no longer need to download, print and mail a physical copy of your tax return to the US tax office. Instead, you can now file your federal tax return without ever having to leave the comfort of your own home.

    By E-Filing your tax return, you can ensure that your taxes are processed by the IRS faster than if you filed a paper tax return.

     

    File 1040NR Online

     

    How does E-Filing with Sprintax work?

    When you complete the Sprintax questionnaire and proceed through the order breakdown and payment stage, you will be ready to submit your 2021 US tax return.

    If you wish to E-File your taxes, you must firstly confirm that you have not previously E-Filed your 2021 tax return before.

    You can then click the ‘Proceed with E-File’ button to move to the next step.

     

    E-File Authentication

    To E-File your tax return you must first electronically sign your tax return using the information requested on the screen.

    Before you can sign your return, we must verify your identity. To do so, we will ask you to provide information from your previous federal tax return.

    If you filed a federal tax return last year, you can either provide your prior year adjusted gross income or your self-selected 5-digit pin.

    You can find your adjusted gross income on line 11 of your 2020 1040NR. Please ensure the information you provide here is correct.

    If you did not file a tax return for tax year 2020, please enter ‘0’ as your prior year adjusted gross income.

    If you filed an amended tax return for tax year 2020, please enter the adjusted gross income listed on the return you filed originally.

     

    Electronically signing your tax return

    You will be required to select any 5-digit number (other than 00000) to electronically sign your tax return. Ensure you keep a record of this pin in a safe place.

    You will need to acknowledge that this pin is your signature and that and that you are now authorizing transmission of your return.

     

    Final steps

    Next, you must read the disclaimer and consent statements and confirm your agreement and that you have reviewed the information that you have entered and examined your tax return.

    You will also need to confirm that the social security numbers of each person on the return are correct.

    You must then sign the above consent disclosure by entering your date of birth.

    Finally, simply click ‘E-File My Return’ to electronically send your tax return to the IRS.

     

    Can I E-File my state taxes with Sprintax?

    No. You can only E-File your federal tax return with Sprintax.

    However, if you are required to file a state tax return, Sprintax will help you to prepare the documents you need.

    When you complete our questionnaire, our software will provide you with your completed state tax return.

    To file your tax return, simply download, print and sign your documents and mail them to the tax office.

    Can I E-File for tax years prior to 2021?

    At present, E-Filing is only available for the 2021 tax year.

    However, Sprintax can help you to prepare the tax documents you need for prior tax years.

    Can everyone E-File their federal taxes?

    No.

    You will not be able to file online if:

    1. Any names or SSN do not coincide with the information provided at the About You step of the Sprintax questionnaire
    2. Any of your payment documents do not have an EIN
    3. Any of your 1042-S forms do not have a unique code identifier
    4. You have capital gains income
    5. You have form 1099-NEC
    6. You have form 1099-INT
    7. You have form 1099-MISC with box 4 higher than box 0
    8. You have included your final payslip
    9. You have self-employment income
    10. If you are not eligible to E-File your taxes, don’t worry. You can still download your completed forms from Sprintax and mail them to the IRS

    Note: If your W2 forms do not have a control number you must enter any 5 digit number instead.

    If you are not eligible to E-File your taxes, don’t worry. You can still download your completed forms from Sprintax and mail them to the IRS.

     

    Do I have to E-File my tax return?

    No. If you would prefer not to file your taxes online, you can file by mail instead. Simply download your tax return, print it, sign it, and mail it to the IRS.

     

    What else is new with Sprintax?

    We have launched a new website!

    We have made significant improvements to our site – enhancing our user experience and making it even easier to file your taxes with Sprintax.

    When is the tax filing deadline?

    It is important to file your tax return before the 18 April 2022 (the 2021 tax deadline was extended from 15 April to 17 May due to COVID-19).

    If you owe the IRS money and you don’t file your tax return by the deadline, you may incur late filing fines and penalties from the IRS. You may also jeopardize your future US visa applications.

    What’s more, 70% of Sprintax users receive a tax refund. By not filing, you risk missing out on your tax refund.

    The average federal refund is $1,126. Do you really want to leave that kind of money in the US? Of course not!

     

    E-File your 1040NR US tax return with Sprintax

    File 1040NR Online

     

    Who must file tax documents in the US?

    Every nonresident in the US has a tax filing requirement.

    If you earned income in the US, you will be required to file a federal tax return. You may also have a state tax filing requirement.

    Nonresident aliens who are in the US on a J or F visa must file a Form 8843 “Statement of Exempt Individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition” even if they received no income in the US.

    No matter what nonresident tax document you need to file, Sprintax can help you.

    Get started with your US nonresident tax return here.

    Why choose Sprintax?

    Sprintax will cater to all of your nonresident tax filing requirements.

    • We help more than 215,000 nonresidents (from over 200 nationalities) with their taxes every year
    • We are now live for Federal Tax Return E-Filing
    • Automatic generation of completed tax documents including federal, state and FICA tax returns, form 8843, tax return amendments and more
    • Your maximum US tax refund guaranteed – our average federal refund is $1,126
    • 24/7 Live Chat tax support

     

    How to get started

    To file your US federal tax return online with Sprintax, simply create your account or login here.

    Next, we will ask you a couple of easy questions about your time in the US and the income you earned.

    Our software will then automatically apply any treaty benefits or tax relief you are entitled to – minimizing your tax bill!

    You will then have the opportunity to either E-File or download your completed documents.

    It’s that easy!

     

    E-File your tax return with Sprintax

    Start here

     

  • New year, New Look – Re-Introducing Sprintax!

    Launching the Sprintax rebranded website

    Making the complex simple for nonresidents and their employers in the US

    Team Sprintax are delighted to unveil our new look. We’re excited to share our brand updates with you and a little background on why we made them.

    Sprintax first launched in 2014 as a nonresident tax advisory for US universities. Today we work with over 500 organizations across the US delivering tax education and tax filing services to international students and scholars – and their employers. Given our expanded product, team and ambition, we felt the time was right to update our branding too.

    At the heart of our rebranding is the goal to seamlessly transition all of our nonresident services under one roof, bringing together our products and technologies under one name, Sprintax.

    Sprintax for individuals

    Here at Sprintax, we understand the unique challenge of moving to a new country as an international student, intern, au pair or graduate. In fact, most of our team have worked or studied abroad at one stage or another! Navigating a new country, school or workplace can be difficult, not least when it comes to taxes. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to make the complex simple, so you can focus on the important things like finding a great apartment or the nearest coffee place.

    Our software is designed to support US nonresidents on every step of their journey, from preparing their pre-employment payroll forms (Sprintax Forms), to filing their first US tax return (Sprintax Returns).

    Sprintax has rebranded. Introducing Sprintax Returns and Sprintax Forms

    Sprintax for business

    At Sprintax, we don’t just support students and interns. We are passionate about our schools and during the tax season you’ll mostly likely find us on the road, delivering on-campus tax clinics or sitting in on a NAFSA panel session. You can learn more about our partner program here.

    If you are an employer or institution with international employees, we can help ensure you tax them correctly and that your organization remains tax complaint with the IRS.

    If your payroll department are dealing with international employees, then they’ll be all too familiar with the world of international tax treaties. Ever changing, it can prove a time-consuming and daunting task to determine the eligibility status of each international employee.

    Enter Sprintax Calculus, our multi-jurisdiction, tax compliance software, built to simplify payroll processing for nonresident employees and international vendors. The software will automatically determine the tax withholdings for your nonresident population, generate aggregated reports and integrate with your payroll platform for a smooth transition of data. Nifty huh?!

    TLDR; so what’s new with Sprintax?

    For our current users, you’ll notice some big changes on the website! It’s now much easier to navigate between our services. We’re also working on our new and improved help site and resource centre which will go live over the coming weeks.

    As part of our rebrand, we have introduced a new naming convention for each of our services. Here’s a quick recap!

    Personal services

    Sprintax Returns (Formerly, Sprintax Tax Prep)

    Sprintax Returns is the new name for our nonresident federal tax e-filing and state tax return preparation solution. Start here to determine tax residency status and to prepare and file US nonresident federal and state tax returns.

    Sprintax Forms (Formerly, SprintaxTDS Personal)

    As a nonresident student, scholar or employee in the US, you may be eligible for specific tax treaties. When you start working and earning an income in the US, Sprintax Forms will help ensure that you pay the right amount of tax on your salary – assisting with pre-employment paperwork including form W-4, W-8BEN and more.

    Business services

    Sprintax Returns Partners (Formerly Sprintax Tax Prep Partners)

    We partner with schools and institutions across the US to deliver nonresident tax education and tax return filing services to their international population. To find out more about partnering with us on Sprintax Returns, schedule a call.

    Sprintax Calculus (Formerly, SprintaxTDS)

    The documenting and reporting on payments made to nonresident employees has become a significant challenge for many US-based organisations. Sprintax Calculus (Formerly SprintaxTDS) helps payroll offices to manage the tax profiles of their nonresident employees on a single, user-friendly dashboard. Find out more here.

    Note: If you are a Sprintax Calculus partner, your student users will be asked to login and create their profile under the individual dashboard, Sprintax Forms.

    Sprintax has rebranded. Introducing Sprintax Calculus

    A word from our Vice President

    “Sprintax is going from strength-to-strength. The product we launched in 2014 is very different to who we are today, so it was time for a refresh. However, while the look and feel are more modern, it’s still the same goal that drive us – the ambition to make the complex simple. We hope you and your clients like what we’ve done – as always we’re keen on your feedback!”

    Enda Kelleher
    Sprintax Vice President

    More to come…

    Our new website is the first of many exciting developments at Sprintax. Over the next few months, you’ll notice more improvements to our software which we hope will further enhance your user experience, making Sprintax an intuitive and helpful tool to use, no matter what your use case!

    We want to hear from you!

    It would not have been possible for Sprintax to have grown over the last few years without the incredible support of our clients and partners. We are incredibly grateful for this support and, with that in mind, we would love to know what you think of our new site and any recommendations you may have for our next phase of development.

    Be sure to email your feedback to hello@sprintax.com or tag us on social!

  • Everything a nonresident needs to know about the Californian ‘Golden State’ Stimulus Checks

    Everything a nonresident needs to know about the Californian ‘Golden State’ Stimulus Checks

    California has joined fellow states and cities such as Florida, New Orleans, Maine, and Maryland (among others) in providing a financial boost to qualifying residents.

    Up to 800,000 Californian residents who meet the requirements will receive as much as $1,100 as part of the Golden State Stimulus Check scheme.

    A first round of payments were also delivered earlier in 2021 in order to provide relief to taxpayers who have been affected by the pandemic.

    While these checks are designated exclusively for California residents, many nonresidents in the state have received the payments in error.

    In this guide, we will take a closer look at the Golden State Stimulus Checks and outline the important steps a nonresident should take if they receive this pandemic payment.

    What are the Golden State checks?

    The checks were introduced as part of an initiative to help low and middle-income people in California, particularly those most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The ‘Golden Gate Stimulus II’ follows on from the ‘Golden Gate Stimulus I’, which began to roll out in January 2021.

    Over 800,000 people can expect to receive this payment by 17 December, most in the form of paper checks.

    These payments range from $600-$1,100, and so far 3.5 million checks and 3.8 million direct deposits have been sent to qualifying individuals.

    Who is entitled to receive this money?

    There are a number of factors that enable you to qualify for the second Golden Gate Stimulus.

    The second check has broader coverage than the first, some who did not qualify for the first can qualify for the second.

    To qualify for this payment, you must have:

    • Filed your 2020 taxes by October 15, 2021
    • Had a California Adjusted Gross Income (CA AGI) of $1 to $75,000 for the tax year of 2020. For this information refer to:
      • Line 17 on Form 540
      • Line 16 on Form 540 2EZ
    • Had wages of between $0 and $75,000 for the tax year of 2020
    • Been a California resident for more than half of the tax year of 2020
    • Been a California resident on the date payment is issued
    • Not been claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer

    *A dependent is a qualifying child or qualifying relative. Go to FTB Publication 1540 for more information about a qualifying child and qualifying relative.

    There are a number of scenarios that will affect how much you will receive in this payment. These include:

    Scenario 1

    You qualified for Golden State Stimulus 1 (GSS1)

    Claimed a credit for 1 or more dependents

    Stimulus amount Golden State Stimulus 2 (GSSII) = $500

    Scenario 2

    You did not qualify for GSS I

    Did not claim a credit for 1 or more dependents

    Stimulus amount GSSII = $600

    Scenario 3

    You did not qualify for GSS I

    Claimed a credit for 1 or more dependents

    Stimulus amount GSSII = $1,100

    Scenario 4

    You qualified for GSS I

    Did not claim a credit for 1 or more dependents

    Stimulus amount GSSII = You do not qualify for GSS II

    If you feel that you received it by accident, you should know what to do.

    man filing an amended return

    I’m a nonresident and I received the Golden State Stimulus Payment. What should I do?

    If you received the Golden State Stimulus payment, but you think you received it in error, it is important that you take your time to review the eligibility qualifications that we have outlined to ensure that it is in error.

    If you do, however, find that the payment shouldn’t have been made to you, there are a number of things you can do, depending on your situation:

    Direct deposits made to you:

    In this situation, you should contact the bank you are with and advise that you are rejecting the payment.

    Paper checks you have received but you have not cashed:

    1. Make sure the ‘stub’ is still attached to the check – this should be attached to your check, and it details the amount paid
    2. Write a letter of explanation which should include your name and identification number (this will be your SSN or ITIN) and outline that you believe you received the check in error
    3. Mail the check and your explanation letter to:
      ATTN: Golden State Stimulus Fund,
      Franchise Tax Board,
      PO Box 3070,
      Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-3070.

    Paper version checks that have not yet been cashed:

    1. Send a check or money order that is payable to the California Franchise Tax Board.
    2. Be sure to state “Erroneous GSS payment” on the check/money order
    3. Write a letter of explanation which should include your name and identification number (this will be your SSN or ITIN) and outline that you believe you received the check in error
    4. Mail your personal check/money order and your explanation letter to:
      ATTN: Golden State Stimulus Fund
      Franchise Tax Board
      PO Box 3070
      Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-3070

    The ultimate US tax guide for J-1 participants

    How to file an amended tax return

    It is a common occurrence that nonresidents accidentally file as residents when they are completing their tax return.

    It’s always a good idea to double-check whether you filed correctly on your previous return.

    After all, filing incorrectly can lead to complications why applying for a US Visa or Green Card in the future.

    The Substantial Presence Test, which determines your tax residency, is easy to do and you can do it for free using Sprintax Returns.

    If you discover that you did in fact make an error on your tax return, you will need to amend it as soon as possible and file form 1040X.

    It’s easy to amend your tax return online using Sprintax Returns.

    Who can help me with my US taxes?

    Sprintax Returns!

    US tax can be especially confusing for nonresidents who are used to dealing with taxes in their home country.

    That’s why our team is happy to help any time.

    We can assist you in preparing both Federal and State tax returns and help you claim your maximum legal US tax refund!

    You’ll be asked a few straight-forward questions and based on the information you provide, you will then be able to download your fully completed and compliant 1040NR (nonresident tax return).

    As well as this, our Live Chat team can assist in any of your tax-related queries 24/7!

  • How to prepare W-2 forms for your nonresident employees

    Preparing tax forms for your nonresident employees can be a time-consuming and complicated process.

    After all, when preparing tax documents there are different rules to follow for nonresidents than there are for residents.

    Coupled with this, each nonresident is taxed differently – depending on their personal circumstances and their country of residence.

    At the end of each tax year, nonresidents will need a number of different forms when they sit down to file their tax documents. The forms they need depend on the income they earned.

    The W-2 is one of the most common forms that nonresidents require during tax season.

    And in this guide we will discuss how to prepare W-2 forms if you employ nonresidents at your organisation.

    What is a W-2 form?

    The main purpose of a W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) form is to report wage and salary information along with other taxes withheld from the paycheck of the employee.

    After receiving their W-2 form, the employee will also know if they can expect a tax refund or if they will have to make an additional tax payment.

    When are W-2 forms due?

    You should provide a filled out W-2 form to your employee by 31 January

    You must send the employee the W-2 form on or before 31 January to ensure that the employee has more than enough time to file income taxes before the tax deadline of 15 April.

    Therefore, you will need to provide the employee and the IRS copies of the worker’s W-2.

    You can give the employee their W-2 in person, or alternatively send them it via email or mail.

    How to prepare a W-2 form

    There are several things you will need to know before you begin to prepare a W-2 form for your employee.

    It’s important that you gather this information in time, however.

    You will need to have information for both the employee and the employer on hand.

    What information is needed for W-2 form?

    To create W-2s for your employees, you will need to include your Employer Identification Number as well as the employee’s name, address, Social Security Number and details of their wages.

    Other information necessary to correctly fill out a W-2 form includes: 

    • The name of your business, the address, EIN (Employer Identification Number) and state ID number
    • Total figures for wages, tips and other compensation
    • Total figures for taxes

    See below an image of a W-2 form for more information on what you will be asked for.

    Can I fill out a W-2 form online?

    Yes. You can use Sprintax Calculus to create W-2 forms for your nonresident employees.

    Sprintax Calculus has been developed specifically with the goal of helping organizations to manage the tax withholding of their nonresident employees.

    In fact, with Sprintax Calculus, your Payroll Department can easily manage the tax profiles of your nonresident employees all-in-one place, through a user-friendly dashboard. 

    Our software will enable your team to report the correct amount of tax from US payments to nonresident students and scholars as well as workers who are being paid scholarships, wages and stipends.

    Sprintax Calculus can help you efficiently prepare W-2 forms for all of your employees, generating them in a matter of seconds and keeping them in a secure online location.

    Great! But how does Sprintax Calculus work?

    Login anywhere, anytime to manage your nonresident employees.

    We will help you with the following common problems, and more:

    • Not sure who is a nonresident for tax? Sprintax Calculus carries out residency tests for your employee 
    • Having trouble preparing important tax forms? Our software automatically generates key forms including – 1042-S, W-4, W-8BEN and more
    • Not sure if the employee can claim a tax treaty? Sprintax Calculus applies all relevant tax treaty benefits and reliefs to each employee

    Why Sprintax Calculus?

    • Safe and automated tax solution based on the cloud
    • Residency and tax treaty eligibility determination.
    • Calculation of tax withholding rates
    • Generation of key tax forms in a matter of seconds
    • Simple to use admin & dashboards. Advanced Reporting tools

    Interested in learning more about Sprintax Calculus? Set up a free, no-obligation demonstration today.

  • Taxes on eSports income – everything nonresidents need to know

    Do eSport players have to pay taxes?

    eSports are a form of competition where video gamers from around the world connect and compete for money.

    Despite being around since the 1970s, eSports only began to truly take off in the late 2000s. In fact, it is estimated that nearly 500 million people tuned into Esports in 2020, whether as enthusiasts or occasional viewers.

    From amateur level gamers to tournaments with millions of dollars in prize money on offer, eSports has blown up in a big way over the past decade.

    But tournament play isn’t the only way to earn an income from eSports.

    The outbreak of COVID-19 has empowered gamers to find opportunities to earn an income from live-streaming and even ‘influencer’ marketing!

    Many US universities are jumping on the eSports bandwagon too!

    In fact, more than 60 education institutions in the US have introduced an eSports program and the NCAA are reportedly considering a role in the sport.

    However, the IRS does not consider tax evasion to be a game.

    So if you are in the US as a nonresident and have eSports gaming earnings, it’s important to keep in mind that you are obliged to declare this income for tax.

    Determining how to include your eSports income on your tax return can be tricky.

    With that in mind, we’ve put together this guide on everything you need to know about your eSports tax requirements.

    Are nonresidents entitled to earn income from Esports in the US?

    The answer to this question largely depends on your visa and immigration status.

    While many nonresidents will be entitled to earn an income from eSports, it is important to be aware that you will need to obtain the proper immigration status before you earn an income.

    How much tax will I have to pay on my eSports income and will I have to file a tax return?

    As eSports becomes increasingly popular and a greater number of individuals earn income, it is easy to imagine that the IRS will put a larger emphasis on the taxation of this industry.

    With this in mind, it is wise to correctly determine your tax liability early so that you can avoid a tax bill (and potential fines) from the IRS later on.

    Exactly how much you will pay in tax will depend on the type of income you earned. There are two options to consider: if you are paid to participate and play a number of hours daily, then your income will be treated as personal services and it may be taxed at a graduated rate.

    However, if you win a one-off prize, the amount is taxable at 30% nonresident rate, unless it is covered by a tax treaty between your home country and the US. More on that here.

    However, things may get confusing if you earn income from a tournament held in one state but play it remotely from the state in which you live.

    To examine this in more detail, let’s take a look at a case study.

    Case Study – Abdul

    Abdul is a 23-year old Esports gamer, originally from Pakistan, but living in California on an F-1 visa. Abdul does not meet the Substantial Presence Test and is therefore deemed a nonresident for tax purposes.

    In March 2021, he took part in an online tournament from his bedroom in California. He ended up finishing the tournament in first place and pocketing the prize money.

    However, the tournament was held in New York.

    Abdul may have to pay taxes on his Californian tax return as well as a New York tax return.

    Abdul will be entitled to pay what is known as ‘jock tax’.

    This is used by a state tax authority in order to charge eSport players that aren’t residents for income earned there.

    How to include eSports income on your tax return

    Firstly, it depends on how you received the money.

    If you entered a competition and won the money by yourself, you will technically have won a prize or award, which still needs to be taxed.

    In general, nonresidents who receive this are taxed at a rate of 30%. You should complete a W-8BEN in order to confirm your foreign status and treaty eligibility with the payer of the award from this tournament.

    If you are a nonresident in the US, and you are employed by a gaming company and received the money as salary, you will be required to file a form 1040-NR in order to pay tax on esports winnings.

    On top of this, if you are hired by a company to play games professionally, which many gamers are, income will need to be added to your W-2 form by your employer.

    The W-2 form should be issued by the company that hires you. Dependent personal service income (wages, salaries) are taxed at a graduated rate to NRA, unless these are not covered by a tax treaty agreement.

    Depending on where the tournament took place, you may also be required to file a state(s) tax return.

    Where to include it on your tax return will also depend on how much money you made from it.

    If you only earned a small amount of money, you can claim it as additional income on your tax return.

    What happens if I don’t file my tax return

    It’s hugely important that you comply with US tax regulations.

    After all, with the growth of the eSports industry, the IRS is stepping up its approach to the taxation of Esports income.

    The message from the IRS? File your taxes!

    You will need to file before the US tax deadline (April 15).

    By not filing or declaring all of your income, you may receive penalties and fines from the IRS.

    In general, you will be hit with the late-filing penalty of 5% for each month left unfiled.

    If, after 60 days have passed and you still haven’t filed, the minimum penalty is $435 or 100% of the unpaid tax, whichever is less.

    There is also a chance that any future US visa and Green Card applications may be affected as a consequence.

    The good news is that you can easily prepare your US tax documents online with Sprintax!

    Who can help me with my US tax return?

    Sprintax Returns can help you take care of your tax responsibilities!

    If you are a nonresident in the US, our software will ensure that your income is properly declared, meaning you won’t end up paying any more income than you need to.

    In fact, we are the only online Federal and State self-prep tax software currently available for nonresidents in the US!

    If you are confused about any aspect of your tax obligations, we also offer 24/7 Live Chat.

    If you have any questions about your tax situation, feel free to reach out to our team at any time.

  • Should nonresidents in the US report Cryptocurrency on their tax return?

    Reporting cryptocurrency on nonresident tax return

    Although Bitcoin was invented in January 2009, from a taxation point of view, cryptocurrency is still a relatively new phenomenon.

    Since its inception, investors in cryptocurrency have been unsure of their tax and reporting requirements. And many important questions on the topic have gone unanswered for years.

    Is cryptocurrency considered taxable in the US? If so, how much tax is deducted from gains? What type of tax should be deducted and how should this be reported to the IRS?

    The situation is even trickier for nonresidents in the US. While every nonresident is required to file tax documents to account for their time in the US, it can be hard to declare your cryptocurrency profits for taxation when you are unfamiliar with IRS tax law.

    The overall market value of digital currencies has increased roughly 75% in 2021. In fact, the value of the cryptocurrency market passed $2 trillion for the first time in April 2021. Bitcoin is the most popular digital currency – representing approximately 50% of this $2 trillion.

    With this in mind, it is easy to see why so many investors are attracted to these virtual, volatile currencies.

    In years past, it had been somewhat easy to avoid declaring your crypto-gains for tax. However, times are changing.

    If you are in the US as a nonresident – for example as an international student on an F-1 visa – and you are earning income from cryptocurrency, in this guide, you will find out everything you need to know about your tax reporting requirements.

    Do I need to report Cryptocurrency on my US tax return?

    Yes. If you have made a profit from cryptocurrency (which you traded from a US exchange or broker) while you were living in the US, you will have to declare this income.

    In short, cryptocurrency is treated as property by the IRS.

    That means any profit you make on it will be subject to Capital Gains Tax at 30% and must be included on your 1040-NR tax return.

    If you dispose of your investment for a loss, you will not need to pay tax. However, as a nonresident, you will not be able to use your losses against any tax liabilities in future years.

    While the lines may seem slightly blurred in regards to cryptocurrency and tax filing now, this will unlikely be the case in future years.

    Crispian Robinson, Strategic Partnerships at Koinly, says that cryptocurrency is high on the agenda of tax authorities globally:

    “It’s clear that Tax Authorities around the world are increasingly applying pressure on the Crypto Industry in order to drive tax compliance, ranging from partnering with exchanges to gain user trading data to developing new legislation bills.

    For example, President Biden’s latest $1 trillion infrastructure bill has specifically singled out tighter tax regulation over the Crypto industry as a key source of funding, expecting to raise $28 billion over 10 years as a direct result.”

    It appears inevitable that tighter regulation and tax compliance is coming and will be key in helping to further legitimize the cryptocurrency industry in the eyes of regulators.

    Crypto investor? We’ve teamed up with Koinly to calculate the tax you might owe on your cryptocurrency capital gains and income.

    How much tax will I pay?

    Firstly, all of the following cryptocurrency transactions are considered taxable:

    • Sale of cryptocurrency, mined personally, to a third party.
    • Sale of cryptocurrency, purchased from someone else to a third party.
    • Using mined cryptocurrency in order to buy goods or services.

    Nonresidents will pay tax at 30% on their income from cryptocurrency. And unlike residents, nonresidents are not entitled to use losses from previous years to offset their tax liability.

    As we mentioned above, the IRS considers cryptocurrency to be property. That means they are taxed in a similar fashion to gains made from stocks, shares and bricks and mortar property.

    In other words, if you sell some stock for a profit of $1,000, this is considered a “taxable event” and you must declare this money for Capital Gains Tax.

    But things aren’t always that straightforward when it comes to cryptocurrency. For example, if you use your Bitcoin to purchase Ethereum, does the IRS consider this to be a taxable event?

    What about if you pay for dinner or buy basketball tickets with Litecoin?

    The answer is yes!

    Every time you purchase something with cryptocurrency, the IRS will treat this as an instance where the asset was liquidated. And if you have made a profit, you must declare that for tax.

    However, if you have made a profit from cryptocurrency, it’s important to know that even if your home country has a tax treaty with the US, the gain is not covered by the treaty and will still be taxed accordingly.

     

    How do I determine the correct amount of cryptocurrency income to declare for tax?

    Many investors struggle to work out exactly how much they made or lost from their cryptocurrency investment.

    If you trade stocks or shares through a brokerage, the brokers should issue a Form 1042-S which documents your transactions, you may need to request this though.

    However, this form is often not generated to account for cryptocurrency transactions.

    Meanwhile, some exchanges have begun to issue a 1099-K form to account for cryptocurrency transactions. This is typically done where there are at least 200 transactions worth an aggregate of $20,000 or more. However, this form only reports the total value of transactions and does not detail how much the investor put in at the outset.

    As a result, many investors over-report their gains and pay more tax than they need to. With this in mind, it is advisable to properly document each cryptocurrency investment that you make and keep these records in a safe place.

    It’s important to remember that the purchase of digital currency is not a taxable event. Instead an investor must determine their tax liability when they sell their cryptocurrency for a profit.

    Some cryptocurrency exchanges will provide you with an excel summary of all your trades. This document will enable you to determine the amount you originally invested as well as the profit that you have made, so be sure to keep them safe.

    Alternatively, if the sale involves the disposal of assets from a variety of sources, the investor will need to know the fair market value of the asset on the day of sale.

    David Kremmer, bitcoin expert and CEO of CoinLedger, outlines that transactions may be difficult to report if assets are sent from wallet-to-wallet. He says:

    “Due to the transferable nature of cryptocurrencies, it’s easy for investors to send their assets from wallet-to-wallet or from one exchange platform to another.

    This creates difficulties when reconciling transactions for tax reporting.

    To help calculate your total profit, you should keep records of your cost basis (the original purchase price) for each cryptocurrency when you first acquired it. Having these records will dramatically help you when tax time comes around.”

     

    Sprintax Returns can help you file your tax return no matter where you are in the world!

    File your 1040NR online

     

    What happens if I don’t report my Cryptocurrency income?

    The IRS is taking the taxation of virtual currency seriously and has recently stepped up its efforts to crack-down on cryptocurrency tax-dodgers. The agency is liaising with crypto exchanges for information regarding non-compliant taxpayers.

    In fact, over the last two years, the IRS announced it was sending letters to more than 10,000 people who potentially failed to report cryptocurrency income. The letters state that individuals have 30 days to respond to the IRS. The result of non-compliance? Usually a tax audit for the investor.

    The message from the IRS is clear: file your taxes.

    This US tax deadline falls on 15 April each year (18 April in 2022), so you should know before then whether or not you need to file.

    If you do not file and declare all of your income, you leave yourself open to penalties and fines from the IRS. The late filing penalty is generally 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month or part month that it is late.

    However, if you still haven’t filed more than 60 days after the due date or extended due date, the minimum penalty is $435 or 100% of the unpaid tax, whichever is less.

    As a nonresident, failure to comply with your US tax obligations can also jeopardize your future US visa and Green Card applications.

    H1B taxes

    I earned a profit from bitcoin in previous years. Can I retrospectively declare this income to the IRS?

    2019 was the first year that the IRS included a reference to cryptocurrency on their tax documents.

    Citizens and resident aliens were asked on Form Schedule 1: “At any time during 2019, did you receive, sell, send, exchange or otherwise acquire any financial interest in any virtual currency?

    Schedule 1 is used to report income that is otherwise not listed on Form 1040. This typically includes capital gains, alimony, or gambling winnings.

    However, Schedule 1 which nonresidents received did not reference cryptocurrency. Instead, nonresidents were expected to report their gains on Schedule NEC along with their Form 1040NR.

    In 2020, the IRS recognized that the process needed to be simplified as millions of dollars of cryptocurrency slipped through the net. With this in mind, the IRS moved the virtual currency question to the main 1040 tax return form.

    If you have earned income from cryptocurrency which has not previously been reported, it is advisable to declare this income to the IRS.

    Despite the IRS only beginning to update their tax documents in 2019 in relation to cryptocurrency, the US tax authority had issued notices as far back as 2014 and many of the rules outlined at that time are still in force today.

    In summary, if you were paid for personal services with cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, it’s advisable to report it on your tax return, the same as ordinary income.

    Case Studies

    Case study 1 – Mike buys 3 Bitcoin

    Mike, who is on an F-1 visa in the US, purchases 3 Bitcoin for $9,000 and later sells it for $11,000, meaning he made a profit of $2,000.

    In this case, Mike’s profit of $2,000 will be taxed at 30%. This means that he will have a federal tax bill of $600 on his cryptocurrency income.

     

    Case study 2 – Sachin purchases multiple Bitcoin at different times

    Sachin is in the US on an F-1 visa. He purchased five Bitcoin in 2010 for $5,000 ($1,000 each), and three Bitcoin in 2018 for $12,000 ($4,000 each). He then sells six Bitcoin three years later for $20,000 in 2021.

    How should Sachin calculate his tax liability?

    The IRS says that if you can identify the Bitcoins that have been sold, their cost basis can be used. For example, Sachin sold three Bitcoin of $1,000 ($3,000 in total) from his wallet created in 2010 and three Bitcoin of $4,000 ($12,000 in total) from his wallet from 2018.

    In this case, the cost basis is $15,000 and the profit is $5,000 ($20,000 sales price minus the aforementioned $15,000 cost basis).

    So, the tax due in this case will be $1,500 ($5,000 at a tax rate of 30%).

    If it is difficult for Sachin to distinguish which Bitcoin are sold, the IRS advises that he should use a ‘first in, first out’ (FIFO) method to calculate his liability.

    Therefore, the first five Bitcoin would be based on the oldest cost basis of $1,000 ($5,000), followed by one Bitcoin of $4,000 – the newer purchase.

    As a result, the basis would be $9,000 and the profits under FIFO method would be $11,000 with tax bill of $3,300.

    How should nonresidents declare their cryptocurrency gains to the IRS?

    Simply put, it depends on how you use cryptocurrency.

    If you invest in cryptocurrency and you earn a profit from it, it will be taxed as Capital Gains Tax, and you will need to report it as a capital gain on the table at the bottom of the Schedule NEC page and transfer the same total as capital gains on the relevant line on your 1040NR form.

    If you were paid in bitcoin for work done as a self-employed person, this will count as personal services income – and you will need to report it on 1099-NEC.

    It is important to know that you may not need to pay tax on any profit until you purchase something or sell your investment. When you do this, you will need to pay Capital Gains Tax.

     

    Does the source of income matter?

    Yes.

    If you earned income from cryptocurrency from a US source you will need to pay tax on the amount of profit gained.

    If you earned your cryptocurrency profit from a different country, you will not have a US tax liability but may have tax requirements in the country where the digital currency was bought and sold.

     

    How can Sprintax help me?

    In short, Sprintax can help you organize your tax responsibilities ahead of the US tax deadline.

    If you are earning income from cryptocurrency, or from other types of investments, we will ensure that your income is properly declared to the IRS and that you don’t pay any more income than you need to.

    Sprintax is the only online Federal and State self-prep tax software that is available for nonresidents in the US.

    To get started, simply create your Sprintax account here.

     

    What’s more, we also offer 24/7 Live Chat tax support. So if you have any questions about your personal tax situation, you can contact our team at any time.

  • How the rule changes for NCAA compensation affect the taxation of nonresident student athletes in the US

    NCAA rules affecting taxation of nonresidents

    Thursday 1 July 2021 will forever be remembered for the dawn of a new era in US college sports.

    Students who participate in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competitions are now – for the very first time – entitled to make money from a wide variety of business ventures, without losing their eligibility to compete.

    Perhaps the most interesting developments surround what is known as ‘NIL’ rights (name, image and likeness).

    A combination of state laws and NCAA NIL policy changes has now removed restrictions preventing athletes from selling their NIL rights.

    While these changes do not mean that college football players can suddenly begin to receive big salaries, they do open the door for athletes to claim a bigger piece of the billions of dollars generated by US college sports each year.

    However, making money from NIL will not necessarily be straightforward for every student athlete.

    There are thousands of nonresident athletes on scholarships at universities around the US.

    For many of these international students, it will be advisable to steer clear of NIL income – at least for now – lest they violate the terms of their visa.

    In this guide, we will take a closer look at the NCAA rule changes and examine how they affect nonresident athletes in the US.
    Continue reading “How the rule changes for NCAA compensation affect the taxation of nonresident student athletes in the US” »

  • How to File Prior-Year Tax Returns as a Nonresident Alien

    File previous year tax return

    People do not file their taxes for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you forgot or were unaware that you had to file. Perhaps you had a hefty tax bill that you could not cover.

    Whatever the reason, if you did not file your tax return by the deadline, you should do it as soon as possible. Otherwise, you risk being hit by fines, and you can jeopardize your future visa applications.

    As a nonresident, you probably know that you have the obligation to file a tax return if you were in the US for just one day, and even if you did not earn any income in order to stay compliant with your visa tax commitment.

    This guide will outline everything you need to know as a nonresident if you did not file your prior-year tax return(s). So, keep reading!

    Continue reading “How to File Prior-Year Tax Returns as a Nonresident Alien” »

  • Here’s the ultimate guide to nonresident taxes in the US

    NRA tax guide

    Whether you are dreaming of a trip to the US, or you are about to embark on one, the prospect of jetting off to The Land of Opportunity is bound to be exciting.

    While you get to grips with the culture in the US, one area that often confuses nonresidents is tax.

    That’s why Sprintax is here!

    We specialize in making tax as straightforward as possible to newcomers in the US.

    So, without further ado, here’s our ultimate guide to nonresident tax in the US. Continue reading “Here’s the ultimate guide to nonresident taxes in the US” »

  • Introducing your one stop shop for determining tax treaty entitlements!

    Sprintax Calculus (TDS) new tax treaty engine

    Sprintax Calculus (formerly Sprintax TDS) launch new Tax Treaty Engine

    Every year, the proper documentation and withholding of tax from nonresidents becomes a bigger issue for organizations around in the US.

    Exactly how a nonresident should be taxed depends on a number of unique circumstances including where they’re from, the type of income they are earning and the amount of time they have spent in the US.

    Staying on top of these requirements has become a significant challenge for payroll office staff in a plethora of different industries.

    The correct determination and application of tax treaty benefits to employee paychecks is particularly challenging.

    After all, the US has signed tax treaty agreements with 66 different countries. Continue reading “Introducing your one stop shop for determining tax treaty entitlements!” »