As an international student in the U.S., it’s very important that you comply with U.S. tax law and understand the tax filing requirements of your visa. All non-immigrants in the U.S. are required to file a tax return – even if you did not earn any taxable income.
Income is taxed by the federal, state, and local governments. Some wages are also taxed for Social Security and Medicare benefits – though a non-resident taxpayer may be exempt from these. Be sure to check our Non-Resident Taxes FAQ for information about tax treaties.
The tax year runs from January 1 – December 31. Annual Tax Returns (regarding income from the previous year) are due April 15
Why File a Tax Return?
Stay tax compliant:
- Failing to file may impact the status of your current visa and make future U.S. visa applications difficult.
- If you miss the deadline, you may face late filing penalties – filing prior to the deadline prevents this.
You may be owed a tax refund:
- Most international students filing a tax return are due a tax refund for overpaid tax. It’s worth checking if you are due a refund!
To make things easier for you, we’ve teamed up with Sprintax – an easy-to-use tax preparation tool – to guide you through the tax process. Sprintax will help you file a timely and accurate return to avoid IRS penalties and fines.
To get started:
- Register here
- Answer some easy questions
- Sprintax will do the calculations and prepare your tax return(s)
- You print out the forms, sign them, and send them to the tax authorities
Take a look at these simple step-by-step Sprintax instructions to start the tax return process.
What You May Need
Be sure to have the following with you when you prepare your taxes:
- Passport or other valid photo ID
- U.S. entry and exit dates for current and all other past visits to the U.S.
- All tax forms (including W-2, 1042-S, and/or 1099, if you received them)
- Visa/immigration status information, including I-20 for F-1 students or DS-2019 for J-1 visitors
- Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). If you don’t have either, Sprintax can still help you.
If you have any questions, email Sprintax or use their 24-hour assistance.
This year’s Sprintax codes will be sent to you through your Wooster email as soon as they become available.
Use your Wooster email and send a “request for Sprintax access” to ISS. To ensure you received the required W-2 if you worked at The College of Wooster in the previous tax year, be sure the Business Office has your most current U.S. address. If you do not receive your W-2, contact Human Resources for an electronic copy.
‘Residency for Tax Purposes’ (You’ve Lived in the U.S. for 5 Years or More)
To ensure you complete the forms correctly, you must first determine your ‘residency for tax purposes.’
Residency for immigration purposes is different than residency for tax purposes. Residency for tax purposes is establish
ed by taking the “substantial presence test” in IRS Publication 519 . If you use Sprintax Tax Prep, the program takes you through this “substantial presence test” as a first step.
Material on this website is general and for informational purposes only. It does not constitute or replace professional legal advice, and you should not rely on it solely when making decisions about your immigration status or reporting requirements.