- Why should I file tax return?
- Which year of tax return should you file?
- Are you a Resident Alien or a Non-Resident Alien for tax purpose?
- What are the forms do international student generally need to fill out for Federal?
- Besides Federal Tax Return, do I need to file State Tax Return?
- What is your pricing?
- How to make a payment?
1. Why should I file tax return?
It is required for international students and their spouse and dependents to file tax return. In order to remain a legal status with F, J, M, or Q visas, you must file Form 8843 regardless if you have income or not. Failure to file tax return or file tax return inappropriate may results in failure to apply for work visa and/or green card.2. Which year of tax return should you file?
Usually, people file a tax return for the income they earned in the previous year. Because the W-2 you received is for the previous year. For example, you received your W-2 on February 1st, 2018, and on your W-2, you will see the year is for 2016. So you are filing a 2016 tax return. However, there are cases people file a tax return for other year. For example, Lei Li failed to file an Income Tax Return for the income of $9,000 earned from an internship in 2014. Now is 2018, he still can file a Tax Return to claim a refund. In this case, he should file a 2014 Tax Return.3. Are you a Resident Alien or a Non-Resident Alien for tax purpose?
For International student on F/J visa, you are a Non-Resident Alien for the first five calendar years that you presented in U.S. Therefore your should file a Non-Resident return on both Federal level and State level.
For example, Lei Li came to U.S. with a F-1 visa in September 1st, 2012. He is a Non-Resident Alien for tax purposes on his 2016 return; however, a Resident Alien for tax purposes on his 2018 return.
If this is the sixth year that you came to U.S., your tax status would be changed to Resident from now on.
For Scholars on J visa, time limited 2 years. For the first two years that you presented in U.S., you are a Non-Resident. After the first two years, you are a Resident for tax purposes.
For H visa holders, you need to perform the Substantial Presence Test to determine tax status. If you presented in U.S. for more than 183 days in current year, you are a Resident Alien for tax purposes.
For International students whose visa changed from F-1 to H-1B may need to file a dual-status tax return meaning file both Resident and Non-Resident tax returns. However, if the year of change of visa is the sixth year you presented in the U.S., you just need to file Resident tax returns.For example, Lei Li came to U.S. in September 1st, 2011. In July 2015, he got a job and changed to H-1B visa from F-1visa. As he was a student holding F-1 visa for the period from January to June 2015 and 2015 is the fifth year he came to U.S., he is a Non-Resident for January to June 2015 and a Resident for July to December 2015. Therefore, he would file a Part Year Non-Resident return and a Part Year Resident Return at both Federal and State levels.
In the same example, if Lei Li changed his visa in 2016 which is the sixth year he came to U.S., he would only need to file a Resident return.
Students and Scholars on F/J visa are exceptions to Substantial Presence Test. If you are not the visa stated above, please perform the Substantial Presence Test to determine your status. If you pass the test, you are a Resident; otherwise you are a Non-Resident Alien.
Substantial Presence Test
+ Number of Days presented in U.S. in 2016
+ (Number of Days presented in U.S. in 2015) / 3
+ (Number of Days presented in U.S. in 2014) / 6
= Total Days of Presence
Total Days of Presence > /= 183 days ==> Resident Alien
Total Days of Presence< 183 days==> Non-Resident Alien
For more information, please refer to Topic 851 - Resident and Nonresident Aliens.
Please Contact Us if you still cannot determine your tax status.4. What are the forms do international student generally need to fill out for Federal?
1040NR-EZ – Nonresident Alien has income less than $10,000 and has limited tax items (For details, please refer to the checklist on 1040NR-EZ Instruction)
1040NR – all Nonresident Aliens cannot use 1040NR-EZ because of income limitation, capital gain treatment and/or special positions claimed
Form 1040 – International students that have been staying in U.S. for more than five years
Form 8843 - all Nonresident Aliens regardless income
Form 843 – International students who need to claim Social Security Tax and Medicare Tax (FATCA) refund
Please Contact Us if you have income other than wages or if you are eligible to apply for any tax credit.5. Besides Federal Tax Return, do I need to file State Tax Return?
Yes. All individuals need to file Federal Tax Return plus at least one State Tax Return depending upon your residency and state of source income during the tax year.
For example, Lei Li works in New Jersey, and lives in New Jersey too. In this case, Lei Li needs to file Federal Tax Return and New Jersey Tax Return. If Lei Li works in New York while he lives in New Jersey. He would have to file New York Tax Return besides Federal Tax Return and New Jersey Tax Return.Please Contact Us if you worked in more than one state during a tax year in which case you may need to file multiple State Tax Returns.6. What is your pricing?
We have a very competitive pricing structure that offers the best value for customers like you. Please refer to our pricing page here for complete offering.7. How to make a payment?
All payment can be done through PayPal. If you would like to pay with your PayPal account, just simply login to your PayPal account. If you would like to use your credit or debit card, simply click on “Pay with Debit or Credit Card” button on the bottom left of the PayPal page.
Disclaimer: All tax examples stated are all based on general hypothetical cases. User should consult with a tax adviser for their own specific situations and conditions.