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Important Disclaimer: The following information is general guidance for the benefit of Tufts international students, scholars, and employees. The International Center staff are not qualified tax specialists and we are unable to provide specific tax guidance on individual cases.

Who must file tax forms for the 2019 tax filing season?

If you were physically in the US in F or J status anytime between January 1 - December 31, 2019 you're obligated to send one form, Form 8843, to the US tax agency IRS (Internal Revenue Service), even if you had no income. In addition, for the 2019 tax season, if you earn $1 of US source income or greater, you may need to file a federal tax return with the IRS. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may also need to file a state tax return(s).

Tax Filing Deadline

April 15th, 2020 is the last day for residents and non-residents who earned US income to file Federal tax returns for 2019. UPDATE: The Internal Revenue Service has moved the US tax filing deadline back to July 15, due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Resident versus Non-Resident 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 undergraduate students on J1 & F1 visas are automatically considered non-resident for their first 5 calendar years in the US, whilst Scholars/Researchers on J visas are automatically considered non-residents for 2 out of the last 6 calendar years in the US. If you’ve been in the US for longer than the 5 or 2 year periods, the Substantial Presence Test will determine your tax residency.

How to File Your Tax Forms

We have teamed up with Sprintax to provide you with easy-to-use tax preparation software designed for non-resident students and scholars in the U.S. We (and all other university staff) are not qualified or allowed to provide individual tax advice.

Sprintax Webinar

Sprintax has made available a free webinar for specific use by Tufts University non-resident tax filers. Click here to access the webinar.

Using Sprintax

After you login to Sprintax, it will ask you a series of questions about 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 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 it determines you are a resident alien for federal tax purposes, you won't be able to continue using the software.

Sprintax Logo

Sprintax Step-by-Step Guide

Resources on YouTube:

 

Document Description
Passport
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.
✔* W-2 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.
✔* 1042-S This form is used to report:
  1. stipend, scholarship, fellowship income and travel grants (not tuition reduction or exemption)
  2. income covered by a tax treaty
  3. payment for other types of services (e.g. by the semester as a note-taker)

If you received this type of income, the 1042-S will be mailed to you by March 15th.

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.

U.S. entry and exit dates for current and past visits to the U.S. In addition to passport stamps, you can review or print your U.S.travel history here
✔* 1099 This form reports miscellaneous income. Can be interest on bank accounts, stocks, bonds, dividends, earning through freelance employment
1098-T This form is NOT needed and can NOT be used for a non-resident tax return because nonresidents are not eligible to claim education expense tax credits.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcZShYUUZkY

You will receive an email from the International Center 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 log in using your existing credentials.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoO-D3onb0g

If you had No US income: Sprintax will generate a completed Form 8843 for you and each of your dependents (if you have any).

With US Income: Sprintax will generate your "tax return documents", including either a 1040NR-EZ or a longer form 1040NR, depending on your circumstances.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sJWAlgRO8o

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6o2JYQmS3s

Remember to read the mailing instructions that Sprintax provides. If you have dependents, each one must mail their 8843 in a separate envelope.

If you need help while using Sprintax, contact them:

You also have access to the Sprintax YouTube account where there are a number of educational videos on non-resident taxes to provide further clarity on the subject of using Sprintax and non-resident tax. There is also a Sprintax Blog which go through tax related topics and can be of use to you. https://youtu.be/DgcLFMYgpHo