International Student Tax Returns
As an international student or scholars in the US you are obligated to file a US tax return during your stay. Understanding the US tax system and filing a tax return is an overwhelming and confusing experience for any student.
That’s why, to make things easier for you, Amherst College has teamed up with Sprintax - an online tool specifically designed for international students and scholars which helps you prepare your federal and State return in less than 20 minutes!
Why should you file a Tax return?
- The most important reason to file a return is that it is a legal requirement of the United States. Failing to file may impact the status of your current visa and make future US visa applications difficult.
- Ø Avoid penalties – If you miss the April 15th deadline you may face late filing penalties. Filing prior to this date prevents this, so the earlier you file, the better.
- You may be owed a tax refund – most international students filing a tax return are due a tax refund for overpaid tax. The average refund is $800 - $1000. It’s worth checking if you are due a refund.
Get Started With Sprintax
1) Get your institutional code from the International Students Office to be eligible for free Federal tax return preparation.
2) Register here for a Sprintax account
3) Complete each section (entering the institutional code when you check out)
4) Sprintax will prepare your tax return
5) It will be available for download in your online account.
Everyone living in the United States, including F-1 students, must file federal and state income tax forms whether they earn money in the United States or not. You may file taxes using Form 1040NR, or the shorter Form 1040NREZ, if you meet its requirements. You must also file Federal Form 8843.
You must file federal and most state taxes by April 15 if you earn money; June 15 is the deadline for federal returns if you do not earn money. If you request an extension to file your tax return and owe money but pay nothing by April 15, you will be charged monthly interest on the initial amount you owed.
If you believe your earnings from employment in the United States will complicate your tax situation in your home country, you should consider contacting an accountant. Furthermore, some countries have tax treaties with the United States that should be considered when reviewing your tax liability. The more complex your situation, the more strongly it is recommended that you seek assistance from an accountant familiar with your country's tax structure.
As tax filing time approaches in February and March, the International Students Office provides information about using the online Sprintax service, as well as how to seek additional advice from a tax professional, should that be necessary.