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Federal and State Tax Returns
If you were physically in the U.S. in F or J status anytime between January 1 - December 31, 2022, you're obligated to file the form Form 8843, with the U.S. tax agency, IRS (Internal Revenue Service), even if you had no income. If you earned any U.S. income in 2022, you will then likely trigger additional filing requirements such as Federal and State, depending on how much income was earned.
Although the staff at VIS are not qualified or allowed to provide individual tax advice, we hope to give you basic information as a helpful starting point. Please note that this information is not tax advice but rather it is meant to help you in completing your tax filing obligations as an international student or scholar. For further tax guidance, we recommend you consult with a professional tax service (free or fee-based).
Who Needs to File?
If you were present in the U.S. even for 1 day during 2022, then you have tax filing obligations.
When to file
The federal deadline is April 18 if you earned US income in 2022. Confirm the deadline for the state(s) you will need to file taxes in. The earliest we recommend you file your taxes is mid-February. If you are unable to file your forms by the deadline, you must submit an application for Automatic Extension of Time to File Your Tax Return to the IRS.
If you were present in the US in 2022 but did not earn any US income, the deadline to file the Form 8843, is June 15.
Consequences of Not Filing
Penalties for not complying with the filing requirement can include but are not limited to:
- Denials of future requests for a Change of Status (especially to Permanent Resident)
- Denials of visa renewals at American Consulates/Embassies
- Fines and interest will accrue on unreported income and could result in more money being owed to the IRS in the future
- If filed more than 3 years late, a refund will not be remitted by the IRS to the taxpayer
If you don't file your tax forms with the IRS by the tax deadline, or need to correct a mistake, you may be able to submit an amended tax return or mail the necessary tax documents even after the deadline date. Consult with a tax professional for assistance if you need to adjust a previously filed tax return.
- How to File
How to File
We have teamed up with Sprintax to provide you with easy-to-use tax preparation software designed for non-resident students, scholars, alumni and their dependents in the United States. Visit our "How To File" tab for step-by-step instructions.Step 1: Gather the documents you may need to use Sprintax
Your personal situation determines the documents you may or may not receive.
Step 2: Log in from the portal below to create a Sprintax account
- Visa/Immigration status information, including form I-20 (F status) or form DS-2019 (J status)
- U.S. entry and exit dates for current and past visits to the U.S. In addition to passport stamps, you can review or print your U.S. travel history here.
- Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. This is required if you have U.S. income to report, but NOT required if you had no income and the 8843 is the only form you have to file.
- W-2. This form reports your wage earnings if you worked. If you had more than one employer, you should get a W-2 from each employer. It is issued by the end of January for the previous year. Make sure all employers from last year have an up-to-date address for you. If you worked in the U.S. and have not received a Form W-2, contact your employer for a copy.
- 1042-S. This form is issued to report: (1) stipend, scholarship, fellowship income and travel
grants. Tuition exemption or reduction is NOT taxable income or (2) income covered
by a tax treaty.
- If you received a scholarship or grant that is less than the cost of tuition and fees, you will not receive a 1042-S. If you are working on campus and believe you should have received a 1042-S due to a tax treaty, check with your Human Resources (HR) office.
- Only Nonresident Aliens receive this form. If your tax status changes to a Resident Alien because of having spent more than 5 years in the U.S. you will not get a 1042-S. If you're not sure of your tax status, log in to Sprintax to check.
- 1099. This form reports miscellaneous income. May be interest on bank accounts, stocks, bonds, dividends, earning through freelance employment
Sprintax is an easy-to-use tax preparation tool that will to guide you through the process. The system will help you fulfill your tax obligations by first asking you a series of questions to determine your residency status for tax purposes, and if you are a non-resident for tax purposes, filling in all necessary forms for you. It will also inform you of any tax benefits that may apply to you.
Click here to open your new Sprintax account by creating a UserID and password - or, if you created an account with Sprintax in the past, you may use that UserID and password again.
After you enter all required information into Sprintax, it will generate a cost for the service. At this point, you will type in an access code that VIS has provided you in email. Refer to an email sent by VIS in early March for your code. This access code will waive the fee by Sprintax for preparing your federal income tax return. If you have questions about this access code, please contact the VIS office for guidance.
Sprintax will save your information so you can log in and out without starting over. Additionally, if you use Sprintax in subsequent years, your information will carry over.Step 3: Follow Sprintax instructions
If You Did Not Have U.S. Income: Sprintax will generate a completed Form 8843 for you and each of your dependents (if you have any).
If You Had U.S. Income: Sprintax will generate your "tax return documents," form 1040NR. If you have any dependents, Sprintax will generate a completed Form 8843 for each of your dependents.Step 4: If applicable, complete your state tax return
After you finish your federal return, Sprintax will inform you if you need to complete a state tax return because of your income. If so, they will give you the option to use Sprintax for an individual fee. It is your choice whether to use Sprintax for state taxes or to do the state tax return on your own.
Remember that each state has its own income tax regulations and forms. New York State residency rules are different than those of the Internal Revenue Service. You may be a nonresident alien for federal tax purposes but be a resident for state tax purposes.Step 5: Submit your completed federal forms to IRS by the deadline
IRS will begin accepting tax returns on January 23, 2023.
Remember to read the filing instructions that Sprintax provides, and mail your return by the deadline (April 18, 2023). Sprintax has added an e-filing option. If you are eligible to e-file your application, Sprintax will provide the option to e-file instead of mail your return. You can learn more about the e-filing process on the Sprintax blog. If you have any questions, the Sprintax team offers 24/7 live chat support.
If you have dependents, each one must mail their Form 8843 in a separate envelope.
Need Sprintax Support?
If you need help while using Sprintax, contact them:
- 24/7 Live Chat Help
- Refer to their FAQs
- email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Be Aware of Scams
Be Aware of Tax Scams and Fraud
Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams. Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, or email to set up individuals, businesses, payroll and tax professionals.
The IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Recognize the telltale signs of a scam. See also: How to know it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door.
It is important to educate yourself on the common scenarios and take steps to protect yourself. Review our Tips to Avoid Scams and Fraud to protect yourself.
- Helpful Resources
Please note, the websites outside of SBU that we link to in this section are provided to assist you. SBU doesn't have any relationship with these companies. Inclusion on this list does not mean that we are recommending or endorsing these companies.
Additional IRS Resources
- Electronic Toolkit for Nonresident Aliens (IRS Publication for training volunteers)
- Publication 519: U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens
- IRS: Foreign Students & Scholars
- Eligibility for Social Security Number
- Filing Your Resident Tax Return
- Electronic Toolkit for Nonresident Aliens (IRS)
- IRS Form 8843. If you choose to complete this form without using Sprintax, note that the ISSS cannot answer any questions about it and that the IRS mailing address is on page 3.
- Tax Treaties
The United States has over 50 tax treaties with different countries. The treaties vary in terms of the benefits they offer to students, the types of income covered, the total amount of the exemption, and the number of years you could claim the benefit. If you file your tax forms with a suitable tax software, the software will automatically factor in any benefit offered through a tax treaty with your country.
For more information on tax treaties, including a list of the countries that the United States has tax treaties with, see IRS Publication 901, US Tax Treaties. Note that tax treaties vary in their implications for state taxes.