April 18th is approaching fast, don’t forget to file your tax return! If you are an international student studying in the United States you must file your tax return on or before April 18th!
Every international student and their dependents (including spouses and children) are required to file their taxes if they were living in the US during the previous calendar year. If you began your studies in the US this year then you do not need to file a tax return.
Why should you file your taxes? Not filing can impact if you want to come back to the US.
It will also fulfill your visa obligation and you may even receive money back from the federal government!
How can you file your taxes?
Filing your taxes can seem stressful and difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. If you have a complicated tax situation, a great way to file your taxes for a small fee is by using a tax preparation service. Our partner Sprintax is a tax preparation service designed just for international students, scholars, teachers and researchers who are residing in the US. Sprintax walks you through step-by-step to file your tax return without all the stress. Your time is valuable and by using a tax preparation service you’ll be able to focus your time on what is important to you.
If you are looking to file your tax return on your own you can do so for free!
Most international students are considered non-residents aliens for tax purposes. All international students will need to file Form 8843. If you have received income within the last year then you will need to file Form 8843 and probably Form 1040NR-EZ.
Once you have the correct form here are some useful steps to walk you through the tax return process:
Determine your residence status.
- Most international students are considered nonresident aliens for tax purposes.
Did you have any income from US sources in the previous calendar year?
- If you had a source of US income last year it probably came from scholarships, wages through employment and/or bank interest.
Figure out which forms you need to fill out and what information you’ll need.
- It is easy to get confused on which form or forms are the right ones for you. If you are unsure about which form you need to fill out then check out our ‘International Student Tax FAQs’ section to help you decide.
Double check your documents to make sure they are correct.
- It never hurts to look over your math to see that everything is correct on the forms you have previously filled out.
Be sure to mail your forms to the proper addresses.
- Non US residents are not allowed to file electronically. You must mail your hard copy documents to the correct address. You can find a list of addresses and deadlines here at our ‘Student Tax Return’ section.
Always keep a copy of all of your documents!
- It is recommended that you keep a copy of your tax documents.
Congratulations! If you followed these steps then you should have a better grasp on how to file your tax return. Are you still a bit unsure if your taxes have been completed properly? Our partner Sprintax has assisted students from over 180 different countries in filing their tax returns.