International Student Tax Information
While employers do withhold money from your paycheck throughout the year and send it to the IRS, it may not equal the exact amount owed at the end of the year. If too much was withheld, you may be eligible for a refund. Or, perhaps not enough was withheld, and you will owe more.
Understanding the U.S. tax system and filing a tax return is an overwhelming and confusing experience for any student. That's why, to make things easier for you, Northeastern State University has partnered with Sprintax - an online tool specifically designed for international students and scholars which helps you prepare your Federal tax return (no cost) and State tax return (with cost).
Why Should You File A Tax Return?
- Avoid penalties If you miss the deadline, you may face late filing penalties. Filing prior to this date prevents penalties, so the earlier you file, the better.
- The most important reason to file a return is that it is a legal requirement of the United States. Failing to file may impact the status of your current visa and make future U.S. visa applications difficult.
- You may be owed a tax refund most international students filing a tax return are due a tax refund for overpaid taxes. It's worth checking if you are due a refund.
Documents and Information You May Need
- Passport or other valid photo ID
- U.S. Entry and Exit Dates for current and all past visits to the U.S.
- All tax forms, including Forms W-2, 1042-S and/or 1098-T if you received them
- 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 do not have an ITIN, Sprintax still can help you
- If you are using Sprintax for State Tax Return(s) preparation, only you will need a copy of your already prepared Federal Tax return. Please keep in mind that NSU only provide FREE Federal Tax return, you will be responsible for the filing cost for State Tax return.
Resident or Nonresident for Tax Purposes
In legal terms, non-citizens of the U.S are called "aliens." There are 3 types of aliens for tax purposes: (1) nonresident; (2) dual-status; and (3) resident. These categories are for tax purposes only and are not related to your immigration status. You may be in F-1 nonimmigrant status and considered a resident for tax purposes.
So how do you know if you are a nonresident for tax purpose?
International students on F, J, M, or Q visas are considered "exempt individuals," which means you are excused from the Substantial Presence Test for the first 5 years you are in the US if you are an international student or the first 2 year if you are a scholar. After this period you will be subject to the Substantial Presence Test, which is used to determine if someone was in the U.S. long enough to be considered a resident for tax purpose.
Where Can I Get More Information?
For more information on tax treaties, see Publication 901
For more information on filing taxes as an alien, see Publication 519
For more information on how taxes are withheld on nonresident aliens, see Publication 515
For more information on taxation as a foreign student in the U.S., consult this portion of the IRS website