Did you leave the US due to Covid-19? You could be due a tax refund!

due a tax refund

Covid-19 called a halt to countless peoples plans in 2020!

Many nonresidents had to leave their adventures in foreign lands and travel home.

If you were one of the people who had to leave the US due to the pandemic…we feel your pain!

However, you should know that you still have tax filing obligations in the US!

Lucky for you, you could be due a big tax refund!

Stay tuned and let us explain!

Do I need to file a tax return after leaving the US?

If you left the US in 2020, you must file a tax return for the 2020 tax year even if you don’t live there now.

If you lived in the US and did not earn any income it is important to note that you still have a tax filing requirement. In order to stay fully compliant you must file a form 8843.

Is my residency status important when filing  my US tax return?

It is important to determine your residency status in the US for tax purposes to ensure you file the correct tax return.

You may be a:

  • Resident for tax purposes
  • Nonresident for tax purposes
  • Dual status alien – nonresident for part of the year and a resident for the remainder

Nonresident aliens must file a tax return for income earned in the US or connected to a U.S. business or trade.

Your income will be defined as ‘US sourced’ if:

  • the property that produces the income is located in the US
  • the services for which the income is paid were performed in the US
  • the income is a dividend equivalent

What is the deadline for filing my 2020 US tax return?

Once you receive your W-2 and 1099 forms for the 2020 tax year, you must file your tax return before the 2021 deadline!

The good news is that once you receive these forms, you can easily file your tax return with Sprintax!

The deadline for filing your 2020 federal tax return has been extended to 17 May 2021! Read more.

When filing your state tax return you should double check the deadline as some states may vary!

tax clock

What are W-2 and 1099 forms?

The W-2 form details your wage and salary information along with other taxes withheld from your paycheck.

You should have received your W-2 form by 31 January 2020. If you haven’t, be sure to contact your employer.
If you earned income in the US other than employee salary, it is likely you will receive a Form 1099. You must pay tax on this income.

There are a number of different 1099’s that report the different types of income you receive throughout the year.

The main difference between these two forms is that you will receive a W-2 form if you are an employee.

What happens if I file my tax return past the deadline?

You should do your best to file your tax return before the deadline on 17 May 2021 to avoid facing penalties and fines!

The penalty for filing late is normally 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month or part month that a tax return is late. That penalty starts accruing the day after the tax filing due date and will not exceed 25% of your unpaid taxes.

If you file your tax return more than 60 days after the due date or extended due date, the minimum penalty is strong $135 or 100% of the unpaid tax, whichever is less.

If you do not pay your taxes by the tax deadline, you will normally face a failure-to-pay penalty of 0.5% of your unpaid taxes.

That penalty applies for each month or part of a month after the due date and starts accruing the day after the tax-filing due date.

If both the 5% failure-to-file penalty and the 0.5% failure-to-pay penalties apply in any month, the maximum penalty that you’ll pay for both is 5%.

What happens if I don’t file my tax return?

Whether you are an international student or J-1 participant, by not filing your tax return, you can seriously jeopardize your chances of securing a US visa or Green Card in the future.

Many nonresidents may worry that they won’t be able to afford their tax payments, but this should not stop you from filing your tax return!

If you feel concerned that you may not be able to make your tax paystrong, you should pay as much as you can when you file your tax return and try to file before the deadline.

If you cannot make your tax payments, you can contact the IRS and request a payment plan or installment agreement which will allow you to pay your tax bill in set amounts every month.

How do I file my 2020 tax return and get my maximum tax refund?

You can file your US tax return with Sprintax Returns.

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

We enable you to file your US tax return from anywhere in the world stress-free!

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 you’re entitled to and maximize your legal tax refund.

The average federal refund in the US is $1,126!

If you’re due a refund, you should file as soon as possible to get it. You may be entitled to a refund if you had too much tax withheld from your wages or if you qualify for certain tax credits.

I have more questions about my tax filing obligations?

If you have more questions about your US tax filing obligations, Sprintax can help you!

You can find lots of useful information on our FAQ page.

If you can’t find the answer to your question here, all you have to do is create an account with Sprintax and you can contact our live chat team today!

With Sprintax you can:

  • Save time and stress!
  • Determine your residency status
  • Prepare a fully compliant US tax return
  • E-file your Federal tax return
  • Maximize your State tax refund
  • Avail of our 24/7 Vita Qualified Live Chat facility

Complete your nonresident tax return today!


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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