Tax Information & Instructions
All international students and scholars are required to report U.S. income and physical presence each year to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Spring 2017 is the time to report this information for tax year 2016 (January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016).
DEADLINE TO FILE: TUESDAY, APRIL 18TH, 2017
- All forms must be post-marked by midnight (11:59pm / 23:59h) to avoid additional penalties.
- Do not use commonly advertised tax prep products such as TurboTax, H&R Block, Tax Act, or any others – unless you are a “Resident for Tax Purposes.” (see below)
- Using those will cause errors, delays and possibly additional tax penalties since they were not designed for Non-Resident (NR) tax forms.
- Instead, use the free code that ISSS provides for Sprintax. (see below)
Avoid Tax Fraud & Scams
- US Tax season is also “scam season.” Unfortunately, International students, are targeted since they are at risk of not recognizing tax scams.
- Please, watch this short (1:30m) video from the IRS.
What if I graduated in 2016 and departed the US already?
You should still file proper 2016 tax documents if you were a non-resident for tax purposes, even if you have departed the US. This will help you avoid problems with future visa applications.
Why should I file a US tax form if I’m not American?
- If the IRS owes you money (a tax refund), you must file a tax return to get the refund. Refunds are not provided automatically.
- If you owe the IRS money, you must file a tax return to find out how much.
- Missing the April 18th deadline you may incur IRS late fees.
- Following US tax law is a requirement of your visa. Failure to pay the proper tax amount on U.S. income will lead to tax penalties. In addition, iIf you apply for a future visa status or Permanent Residency in the US, you'll be asked to provide copies of all tax forms and tax returns for every year you were present in the US. If you failed to file them, your application will be delayed or possibly rejected.
What if I received the Campus Atlanta Scholarship?
Tuition waivers, such as the Campus Atlanta Scholarship, are non-taxable; they are considered tuition-only scholarships. You should still complete form 8843 if you had no other income or taxable scholarships.
Am I a Resident for Tax Purposes?
A resident for tax purposes may use regular domestic tax prep software. A resident for tax purposes is an individual who is:
- A U.S. Citizen or foreign national with a "Green Card".
- An F & J student who has been in the U.S during any part of 5 calendar years or more.
- J Research Scholars are generally residents for tax purposes after 2 years in the U.S.
- H-1, TN, and O-1 visa holders are considered residents for tax purposes if they meet the "substantial presence" test.
Tip: Sprintax will determine if you are a Resident for tax purposes. If yes, seek the advice of a professional tax advisor since you are not eligible to use Sprintax.
What is Sprintax?
- Sprintax is special tax prep software designed specifically for international students and other non-residents.
- Sprintax offers 24/7 live tax assistance by phone and chat.
- Sprintax information is multi-lingual.
- Sprintax can also complete State of Georgia Income Tax Forms for an additional fee.
- Sprintax allows you to save your tax return to continue later.
What if I receive a refund check outside the US?
- ISSS advises you to keep your US bank account open through the tax season after you go home. That way, you can deposit your check (by mail) then close your account online and wire the balance back to yourself.
- Another option is to coordinate with a friend in the US from your country who may be able to facilitate the deposit for you.
What if I need to file tax forms for previous years?
- Spintax offers the option to complete tax forms and returns for previous years. The cost for this would be up to you.
- The code ISSS issues each year will only work for the most recent tax year.
What does Form 8843 look like?
Form 8843 - Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals With a Medical Condition - must be completed by all F and J visa holders, regardless of whether or not U.S. income was earned. You are welcome to request the free Sprintax code via iStart if you ONLY need 8843. If you prefer not to use Sprintax, you can simply download and print form 8843 yourself. Use the same mailing instructions indicated in the “FREE SPRINTAX CODE” section below.
FREE SPRINTAX CODE: Instructions to receive code and file tax forms
1. Plan Time & Gather Your Documents:
Once you have all the documents together below, plan about 30-45 minutes to use Sprintax.
- Passport with F1, J1, or other relevant non-immigrant Visa
- Form I-20 or DS-2019
- Dates of all U.S. arrivals and departures in the past.
- SSN (Social Security Number) - if you had income from a U.S. job. More info >> here. or
- ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) - required only if you don't qualify for a SSN but still need to file a complete tax return. For example, a scholarship for food and lodging is taxable. To apply, submit ITIN Packet Request in iStart under the Taxes tab.
- W-2 forms (if you have income): wage statement from your employer(s). Contact your HR department if you haven’t received your W-2(s) by January 31st each year.
- 1042-S (if you worked fro GSU or received a taxable scholarship from GSU): This is mailed to you from GSU's tax compliance office by the end of February if your country has a tax treaty with the U.S. If you worked for GSU and haven't received these forms by February 28th, contact: Ivan Ivanov, GSU Tax Accountant, Sparks Hall, Suite 400A / email@example.com.
2. Log-in to iStart to Request Free Code
- Click the "US Tax Form Helper" e-form under the Taxes tab.
- Answer the questions carefully and submit the form. You will immediately receive a unique link with the free access code via email.
3. Log-in to Sprintax
- Use the free code to register and complete your tax return documents, including form 8843.
4. File your US Federal Return
- Print, sign and mail a copy of your federal forms to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service), whether you owe taxes or expect a refund. The IRS tax filing deadline is: 4/18/2017. Buy proper postage to affix to the envelope and address your envelope like this:
Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service Center
Austin, TX 73301-0215
5. State Return (if applicable)
- Use your Federal Return to complete your State of Georgia Income Tax Return on "form 500". You are responsible for the additional Sprintax fee to file a state income tax return.
- Mail a copy of your forms to the Georgia Department of Revenue by the same deadline.
- Address your envelope like this depending on whether you owe state taxes or not:
If Georgia owes you a refund:
Georgia Dept. of Revenue
PO Box 740380
Atlanta, GA 30374-0380
If you owe Georgia taxes:
Georgia Dept. of Revenue
PO Box 740399
Atlanta, GA 30374-0399
- ISSS cannot provide tax advice or personal assistance with US tax forms.
- Always keep a complete copy of your U.S. tax returns and forms 8843.