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The International Student Blog

An International Guide for Filing US Taxes – presented by Sprintax

Posted on April 1st, 2016 by Rachel Rollins

Tax time

It’s that time of year again, taxes! Let’s face it, filing taxes is stressful, especially if this is your first time filling one in the US. If you are like most international students, you’re probably wondering why you need to file and exactly where to begin.

That’s why we’ve partnered with Sprintax, to guide you through the process and make it as easy as possible! Be sure to watch our recorded Google+ Hangout with Sprintax below. During the Hangout, Sprintax Vice President, Enda Kelleher will teach you about both Federal and State tax, non-resident spouses, tax myths, tax scams, and tax refunds.

Filing Taxes 101:

There are many benefits to filing your taxes. Filing your tax return explains to the US government how much you spent on expenses, such as on your health or school. Making sure the US government understands your income and expenses will balance the books, so you receive your fair share in return. Not every international student will receive a tax return, but for those that do, you will receive it in 6 to 8 weeks after you file your taxes. You will also need to file taxes if you want to apply for a Green Card in the future.

It’s important to remember that all International students, and their spouses, must file a tax return. It’s the law. Whether you worked in the US, received a taxable stipend (such as a scholarship), or had no earnings, the bottom line is everyone has to file something.    

Remember, taxes are due April 18th, so let’s get to the details!  

What to File:

If you had no income and had not received and scholarship stipend you will need to file a 8843. It is a simple declaration to the IRS that you are a international student and you are studying in the US.

If you had any income from US sources in wages, salaries, or scholarships you need to acquire the right forms. Most tax forms are provided to you through your school’s student portal of given to you by your employer. These forms show the IRS all the income you have earned for the year.  

Tax forms you should receive:

  • W2: Wages, salary, compensation (employment earnings)
  • 1042-S: Tax treaty benefits, foreign scholarships or stipend
  • 1099 Series: Investment income, rental income, royalties

In addition to these forms you will need file either a 1040NR-EZ or a 1040NR. Most international students will file a 1040NR-EZ if you received a salary or scholarship stipend. It requires either your SSN or ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number).

If you are still worried about taxes and would like further assistance, Sprintax has helped international students from 180 different countries. Last year alone, Sprintax helped their international student population collect $17 million back in tax returns!

For even more help, be sure to visit our International Student Tax FAQ’s section.

Written by Rachel Rollins

Marketing Coordinator Rachel joined EIC in 2016 after graduating from the University of North Florida. Her engagements at her campus, and community have only influenced her to continuously learn and understand her surroundings and beyond.

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