Who is considered Resident or Nonresident for Federal Tax Purposes
Generally, most international students & scholars who are on F, J, M or Q visas are considered non-residents for tax purposes. International students on J-1 & F-1 visas are automatically considered non-resident for their first five calendar years in the US, while Scholars/Researchers on J visas are automatically considered non-residents for two out of the last six calendar years in the US. If you’ve been in the US for longer than the five or two year periods, the Substantial Presence Test will determine your tax residency.
How to File
GEO has teamed up with Sprintax to provide students and scholars with income an easy-to-use tax preparation software designed for non-resident students and scholars in the US. University staff are not qualified or allowed to provide individual tax advice outside of the IRS VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program. The Non-resident VITA site at GEO assists non-resident students and scholars with tax returns each year. Messages are sent directly to students and scholars about how to access tax help.
Students and scholars who are non-residents and have income can access the Sprintax Software that GEO has purchased for your use as a part of your international fee. Tax volunteers at GEO will screen you to see if you are a non-resident through our Tax Questionnaire. If you are a "nonresident alien" (NRA) for federal tax purposes, you will be given the code to use the software to respond to a series of guided questions. Sprintax will then complete and generate the tax forms you need to send to the tax authorities.
However, if Sprintax determines that you are a resident alien for federal tax purposes, you won't be able to continue using the software.
Step by Step guide on How to File Your Non-resident Tax Forms (F and J)
- Gather the documents you may need for Sprintax
Visa/Immigration information, including form I-20 (F status) or form DS-2019 (J status)
Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (if you have one)
This is not needed if you had no income and the 8843 is the only form you have to file.
This form reports your wage earnings if you worked. If you had more than one employer you should get a W-2 from each employer. It is issued by the end of January for the previous year. Make sure all employers from last year have an up-to-date address for you.
This form is used to report:
If you received this type of income, the 1042-S will be mailed to you by 15 March by the payer.
Note: Only Nonresident Aliens receive this form. If your tax status changes to a Resident Alien you will not get a 1042-S. Login to Sprintax to check your tax status if you're not sure.
US entry and exit dates for current and past visits to the US
In addition to passport stamps, you can review or print your US travel history here
This form reports miscellaneous income. Can be interest on bank accounts, stocks, bonds, dividends, earning through freelance employment
This form is NOT needed and can NOT be used for a nonresident tax return because NRAs are not eligible to claim education expense tax credits.
- Create a Sprintax Account:
You will receive an email from the international student office providing you with a link to Sprintax to set up your account as well as your unique code to use on Sprintax. This unique code will cover the costs of the federal tax return and 8843 at no cost to you. Open your new Sprintax account by creating a UserID and password or if you have an existing account on Sprintax you can login using your existing credentials.
- Follow the Sprintax instructions
If you did not earn any US Income: Sprintax will generate a completed Form 8843 for you and each of your dependents (if you have any).
If you did earn US Income: Sprintax will generate your "tax return documents", including either a 1040NR-EZ or a longer form 1040NR, depending on your circumstances.
- Read the instructions for filing/mailing your returns
Remember to read the instructions that Sprintax provides.
You will be required to download, print and sign your federal tax return and mail it to the IRS. If you have a state filing requirement, you must also mail this to the tax authorities.
Finally, if you only need to file Form 8843, this will also need to be mailed to the IRS.
Need Sprintax Support?
If you need help while using Sprintax, you can contact their support team using the options below
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
24/7 Live Chat Help
Sprintax Educational Tax Videos and Blog:
You also have access to the Sprintax YouTube account where there are a number of educational videos on nonresident taxes. These will provide further clarity on nonresident tax and how to use Sprintax. Sprintax also offer a range of useful content on their blog to help you file your return.