Federal and State Tax Deadlines Extended until July 15.
If you were physically in the U.S. in F or J status anytime between January 1 - December 31, 2019 you will be required to send at least one form, the 8843, to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), even if you had no income if you are determined to be a nonresident for tax purposes. Although US. income tax law is complex, we provide resources to simplify the process to help you comply with your federal and state tax obligations.
Federal Tax Form 8843 and Nonresident Tax Return
Form 8843 is required by the IRS of all Fs and Js (including their F-2 and J-2 dependents) who are "nonresident aliens" for federal tax purposes--even if you had no U.S. income in 2019. If you had U.S. income in 2019, the 8843 is included with a nonresident tax return. Unfortunately, the only way to submit the 8843 on its own or with a tax return is by regular mail.
What to Do
1. Review U.S. Income Tax Basics for Fs and Js.
2. Go to our Filing Your Nonresident Forms with Sprintax webpage. Under Step 2 log in with your UNI and password to access Sprintax and create an account.
- Sprintax is an easy-to-use tax preparation software designed for international students, scholars, alumni and their dependents in the United States.
- Do not use TurboTax or other products like it because they are only for residents for tax purposes and most international students are nonresidents.
- Sprintax is free for all your federal tax forms when you log in from our web page, whether the IRS 8843 is the only form you need or to generate a complete multi-page tax return if you had U.S. income. Sprintax also offers the option of processing state tax return(s), if needed, for an individual user fee of $29.95.
3. If Sprintax informs you that you were a resident alien for federal tax purposes in 2019, check our page on resources for resident tax return filers.
State Tax Returns
State income tax is separate from federal income tax. Sprintax can also generate state tax returns for most of the states in addition to New York State. Learn about state taxes at one of the workshops. NY state defines tax status differently than the federal IRS. It is possible to be a nonresident for federal tax purposes and at the same time be considered a resident for NY State. If you have a state tax liability, in NY or any other state, Sprintax can complete your tax return(s) for an individual user fee of $29.95. You may want to do the NY state tax return on your own without a fee through "freefile".
COVID-19 CARES Act $1200 Stimulus Payments
“Nonresident alien” tax filers are not eligible for the $1200 payment. Individuals who qualified as resident aliens for federal tax purposes and filed a resident tax return in 2018 or 2019 were eligible if they continue to be a qualifying resident alien in 2020.
(https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center FAQ 1 &13)
Some international students and scholars, however, may have erroneously filed a resident tax return, through TurboTax or similar software for residents, because they had not lived in the U.S. long enough to pass the Substantial Presence Test. If you were a nonresident for federal tax purposes, you should have filed a nonresident return. If you filed a resident return in error in 2018 or 2019, you need to amend your tax return. If you received a stimulus check in error, this is how to return it.
Here are some resources from Sprintax, nonresident tax preparation system:
- Your guide to navigating the COVID-19 CARES Act Stimulus Payments. Also has a 20-minute webinar embedded on the page.
- How to Amend Your Tax Return if you made an error. Sprintax can do this for a fee, and are offering a $20 discount with the code AMEND19N20. Or you can do this on your own for free by following IRS instructions for IRS Amended Return Form 1040-X, in which you compare the amounts in the original form you filed with the new correct form.
Recording of Sprintax Webinar June 23, 2020
- Overview of US tax for international students and scholars
- Using Sprintax to prepare your tax returns
- The stimulus payment eligibility and returning the economic impact payment if ineligible (nonresidents for are not eligible
- Using Sprintax to file amended tax return(s) if an error was made
Link to Tax Webinar Recording