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2020 Tax Help for International Students

Posted on March 6th, 2020 by Luke Clausen

Tax season is here! Under US law, any international student or dependent of an international student is required to file a tax return every year, even if you’ve earned no income. The IRS deadline for submitting tax returns is April 15th. All international students must fill out and submit IRS Tax Form 8843, but if you have received income in the past year, you’ll have to fill out Form 1040NR-EZ as well. These forms may be difficult to navigate and understand, but companies like Sprintax offer services through their experts that make the process simple and painless. 

What is a Tax Return?

A tax return is an annual form that you must file with some kind of taxing authority, such as the IRS. The form reports income, expenses, and any other relevant financial information. On these forms, taxpayers determine their tax liability, schedule tax payments, and request refunds for taxes which may have been overpaid. As an international student, if you file a tax return, you’ll fulfill your Visa requirements, and you may end up qualifying for a refund.

Form 1040NR

In the US,  F and J students are considered nonresident aliens during their first five years. If you’re a nonresident alien and have earned any kind of income or engaged in a trade or business in the past year, you’ll have to file Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ. If you claim dependents or can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return, you may not file Form 1040NR-EZ, but will have to file Form 1040NR. Form 1040NR-EZ is two pages, and asks for personal identification information, along with basic information about filing status and income. Form 1040NR will ask you to include specific information about dependents and income connected to a US trade or business. These forms may not be e-filed, but must be completed and signed, then mailed directly to the address on the form.

Form 8843

In addition to this income tax return, in the US, all nonresident aliens under F-1, F-2, J-1, or J-2 nonimmigrant status must file Form 8843. Form 8843 isn’t really an income tax return; it is more of an informational statement required by the IRS. Form 8843 can be tricky to navigate, but there are a number of resources available to make the process easier. We’ve created a free resource that makes the process incredibly simple. Our Form 8843 Tax Wizard automatically fills out the form for you if you enter just a few simple details about yourself, your institution, and your Visa. In addition to this, Sprintax offers services that automatically fill out these forms, guaranteeing a maximum tax refund for federal and state taxes.

As an international student, you’ll have to file Form 8843 and any other necessary forms each year that you spend in the US. While the process may seem confusing, there are a number of resources available to make it easier and to help you understand your tax duty while studying in the United States. Don’t wait until the last minute. Start doing your tax forms now!

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