Filing Your Non-Resident Tax Forms using Sprintax (F and J)

If you were physically in the U.S. in F or J status anytime between January 1 - December 31, 2017 you're obligated to send one form, Form 8843, to the U.S. tax agency IRS (Internal Revenue Service), even if you had no income.

Filing Non-Resident Tax Return
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Before You 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 U.S. We (and all other university staff) are not qualified or allowed to provide individual tax advice.

Before you begin, get some background information on U.S. Income Tax Basics.

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Tax Workshops 

The VP of Sprintax will be on-campus to provide a general overview of the U.S. tax-filing process, show how to use Sprintax for your federal nonresident tax return, with time for Q & A at the end. All information sessions are in Davis Auditorium, Room 412 Schapiro (CEPSR). 

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After you login to Sprintax, it will ask you a series of questions about the the time you have spent in the United States and in which immigration status,  looking back over a period of years. Sprintax will then determine your tax status. If it determines that you are a "nonresident alien" (NRA) for federal tax purposes, you can continue to use it.

If it determines you are a resident for federal tax purposes, you won't be able to continue using it, but we have prepared a list of resources for filing a resident tax return.

After you continue to respond to a series of guided questions, Sprintax will complete and generate the forms you need to print, sign, and mail to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service).

If you had no U.S. Income: Just one requirement, Form 8843

The 8843 is an informational statement IRS requires to show you were in the U.S. and are a NonResident Alien (NRA). Sprintax will generate mailing instructions and a filled-in 8843 or you to print, sign and date, and mail to the IRS.

If you had U.S. Income: Federal Tax Return Documents

Sprintax will generate your tax return documents, a 1040NR-EZ or the 1040NR dependent upon your personal situation, as well as the 8843. A tax return is a reconciliation between tax that has been withheld and tax that is owed--sometimes you get a refund and other times you may owe the government money to make up for the shortfall.

If you had U.S. Income: April 17, 2018

If you had no U.S. Income (Form 8843 only): June 15, 2018

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Using Sprintax

We've created a video tutorial (as part of our Sprintax Tax Workshop) that explains what you can expect in Sprintax (below).

Using Sprintax
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How to File Your Non-Resident Tax Forms (F and J)

Steps to File Your Non-Resident Tax Forms (F and J)
Step 1.

Gather the documents you'll need for Sprintax

*You may receive or not receive this document depending on your personal situation.

Step 2.

Create a Sprintax account

Access Sprintax through the Columbia University Portal using your UNI and password. Open your new Sprintax account by creating a UserID and password.

Sprintax will save your information so you login and out.

Step 3.

Follow their instructions

If You Had No U.S. Income: Sprintax will generate a completed Form 8843 for you and each of your dependents (if you have any).

With U.S. Income: Sprintax will generate your "tax return documents", including either a 1040NR-EZ or a longer form 1040NR, depending on your circumstances. If you have any dependents, Sprintax will generate a completed Form 8843 for each of your dependents.

Step 4.

(With U.S. income only) If required, complete your state tax return

After you finish your federal return, Sprintax will inform you if you need to complete a state tax return. If so, they will give you the option to use Sprintax for an individual fee. However, it is your choice to use them 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 considered a resident for state tax purposes. 

If you use Sprintax for your state tax return, there will be separate mailing instructions.

Step 5.

Mail your completed federal forms to IRS

Remember to read the mailing instructions that Sprintax provides. 

If you have dependents, each one must mail their 8843 in a separate envelope.

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Need Sprintax Support?

If you need help while using Sprintax, contact them:

Looking for More Help?

If you situation is complex and you need more guidance, here are some professionals you may want to hire:

Alan Koslin, Non-Resident Alien Tax Specialist
H & R Block
360 West 31st Street, NY, NY
(between 8th and 9th Avenues)
(212) 268-5751

Gary R. Engler, CPA
11845 W. Olympic Blvd.
Suite 900
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Main Number (310) 440-5557

Gary Engler’s office will process both federal and state tax returns, or just state returns if you provide a complete federal tax return.  Fees for services are listed on his website.

GW Carter, Ltd.
4445 West 77th Street, #250
Edina, MN, 55435
Phone: (952)224-2888

Electronic Toolkit for Nonresident Aliens (IRS Publication for training volunteers)

Do You Need A Notary Public?

If you need a notary public to certify your documents for a W-7 application for an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer ID), you can use your smart phone to look for a "notary near me" or google notaries public in your zip code.  Some places near the Morningside campus with a notary are Janoff's. Ctibank, Claremont Chemist, and the UPS Store.