PSA: It’s tax season! 5 things every international student can do to be prepared

Tax tips to prepare international student for tax season

It’s never too early to start thinking about tax season. This is especially true when you consider that the April 15 tax filing deadline is only a matter of weeks away! (due to the Covid pandemic, the tax filing deadline has been extended to 17 May in 2021)

There’s no doubt that, whether you have filed a tax return before, or this is your first year with a filing requirement, tax season can be a real headache.

In this blog we’ll look at 5 things every international student can do to ensure their tax season runs as smoothly as possible.

1. Don’t delay filing your tax return 

Let’s face it, leaving important stuff until the last minute is never a good idea!

So why leave filing your tax return until April 15 (due to the Covid pandemic, the tax filing deadline has been extended to 17 May in 2021)?

There is no reason why you can’t start prepping for tax season now. And, by doing so, you can ensure that you file on time and receive any tax refund you’re due sooner!

Sprintax non-resident tax returns

2. Determine the right forms to file

It doesn’t matter how much (or how little) you have earned, every nonresident international student in the US has a tax filing obligation.

For example, if you didn’t earn any income during the tax year you must file a Form 8843 with the IRS.

And if you have earned US sourced income during the year, you will also have to file a Federal tax return in addition to your 8843 form.

Depending on your personal circumstances and a number of other factors, you may also have to file State tax return forms.

Tip: Sprintax is the only online Federal and State self-prep tax software for nonresidents in the US.  We will help you to figure out whether or not you have to file a State tax return.

3. Work out your residency status

This is an important one.

It’s impossible to file a compliant tax return without first determining your tax residency status.

The most common tax residency statuses are ‘resident’ and ‘nonresident alien’. Most international students who are studying in the US on F, J, M or Q visas are considered nonresident aliens for tax purposes.

Tip: Not sure if you’re a resident or nonresident? When you create a Sprintax Returns account, our system will automatically detect your tax residency status!

Preparing for tax season Sprintax

4. Get organized

The first thing you should do to ready yourself for tax season is to organize everything you’ll need to prepare your tax return.

In order to complete your tax return in full you will need to have the below documents to hand:

  • Your passport
  • Your Visa/Immigration Status information, including Form DS-2019 (for J visa holders) or Form I-20 (for F visa holders)
  • All income forms: W2 forms, 1042-S and/or 1099
  • Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). If you do not have an ITIN, Sprintax Returns can help you get one!
  • A copy of last year’s return (if you filed one with the US tax authorities)

Tip: Make a note of any missing documents and then start to track them down. For example, if you haven’t received your payment documents, make sure to contact your employer to request them.

5. Get help with your tax return!

 With so much complicated paperwork and so many confusing questions, filing a US tax return is not exactly the easiest of tasks.

Fortunately, help is on hand!

When you create a Sprintax account, our system will assist you in preparing fully compliant Federal and State tax returns and also enable you to use any tax deduction and benefits that will allow you to claim your maximum legal tax refund.

Sprintax will guide you through the tax filing process, firstly determining your tax residency status and then identifying which forms you need to complete based on your own personal circumstances.

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

Benefits of using Sprintax

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

With Sprintax you can:

  • Save time and stress!
  • Determine your residency status
  • Prepare a fully compliant US tax return
  • E-file your 1040-NR (feature live since 31 Mar 2021)
  • Maximize your State tax refund
  • Avail of our 24/7 Vita Qualified Live Chat facility

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!

Hey I'm Stacy! I'm dealing with US taxes and can't wait to help you prepare your tax return! I've been working with taxes for like forever, so you can totally trust my expertise. Sprintax can make things much easier for you. Check out my blog posts and feel free to ask me any questions.

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