ISSS-BU News 27 February 2012 ISSS-BU News


An electronic news service for international students and scholars, owned by the Office of International Student and Scholar Services atBinghamtonUniversity, State University of New York

Visit ISSS on the Web!   http://isss-new.binghamton.edu


Editor’s Note: As our readers know, we launched GLACIER Tax Prep this past weekend. If you are encountering any difficulties accessing GLACIER, please send an email message to isss@binghamton.edu, and include your full name as listed in University records, your date of birth, and whether you are/were an F student, a J student or a J research scholar or professor.

Many ISSS-BU subscribers have begun to view the ISSS Income Tax Webcasts that are available from the ISSS home page, http://isss-new.binghamton.edu We hope you find them helpful, especially if you find yourself confused regarding federal income tax law, or if you need assistance when completing New York State tax returns. In-person assistance with your income tax forms begins Tuesday, March 20, and will continue through Thursday, April 12, 2012. For details, see: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/taxes/inperstaxassis.html

Links to and information about tax forms are also available on line at: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/taxes/index.html Please note that GLACIER Tax Prep will print all of the required federal forms for you. New York State forms are available on line at this link: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/taxes/nysformit.html. You need to complete the federal tax forms in GLACIER before you can complete the NYS income tax forms. The ISSS Income Tax Webcasts will take you line by line through the NYS forms.

CONTENTS:
1. National Holidays for March
2. Come to the Next International Coffee Hour, Friday, March 2
3. International Women’s Day is March 8
4. Traveling During the Spring Break?
5. Off Campus Employment and Why International Students Need Work Authorization
6. Nominations Now Being Accepted For 2012 Foundation Awards
7. BU Summer Session Registration Information is Now Available
8. Attention Undergraduates! Apply To Be a Peer Mentor for the Emerging Leaders Program
9. This Week’s Campus and Community Connections Newsletter
10. Daylight Savings Time Starts on March 11 This Year
11. H-1B Visas and the U.S. Master’s Quota
12. Income Tax Question: “Do I Need To File a Tax Return if I Earned No Income During 2011 But I Was in the United States?”
13. Income Tax Information: How to Request a Copy of a Previous Year’s Income Tax Return
14. Income Tax Information: Tax Treaties
15. Income Tax Information: Tax Benefits for Spouses and Dependents

1. National Holidays for March
The following countries are celebrating national holidays during the month of March:

Republic of Korea    1-Mar
Bulgaria 3-Mar
Ghana 6-Mar
Mauritius 12-Mar
Ireland 17-Mar
Tunisia 20-Mar
Namibia 21-Mar
Pakistan 23-Mar
Greece 25-Mar
Bangladesh 26-Mar

2. Come to the Next International Coffee Hour, Friday, March 2
Good company! Free food! An opportunity to visit with friends and classmates!

This month's International Coffee Hour will be held on Friday, March 2 from 3:30-5:00pm in the University Union Old Union Hall.

The International Coffee Hour strives to be a space where the entire Binghamton University community, including international students, U.S. students, faculty/staff, and community members are welcome. The coffee hours are informal and provide an opportunity to meet and learn more about each other in a relaxed atmosphere. Each coffee hour has free hot and cold beverages and cookies, sponsored by a different department on campus.

The sponsor of this month's International Coffee Hour is the Division of Research.

3. International Women’s Day is March 8
International Women’s Day will be observed around the world on March 8. The Binghamton University Globalistas (BUGs) and several other campus groups have plans for a screening of the documentary Beyond Belief as well as a virtual workshop with alumna and entrepreneur Missy Gluckmann ’90. Learn more about International Women’s Day at http://www.internationalwomensday.com. Student groups and departments are encouraged to plan additional programs. E-mail rcoker@binghamton.edu to coordinate your event with the BUGs.

Connect live with Missy Gluckmann '90, a global education entrepreneur, from 5-6 p.m. in AA-G005. Gluckmann created MelibeeU, which offers online training for global educators and students. Learn more about MelibeeU here. Space is limited and registration is required. The program is sponsored by the Binghamton University Alumni Association, Career Development Center and BUGs. Learn more and register at: http://www2.binghamton.edu/alumni/students/hot-alumni/schedule.html.

Watch the documentary Beyond Belief at 7 p.m. in LH-7. The film follows two soccer moms from the Boston suburbs who lost their husbands in the 9/11 attacks. The women dedicate themselves to empowering Afghan widows whose lives have been ravaged by decades of war, poverty and oppression — factors they consider to be causes of terrorism. The screening, to be followed by a discussion, is sponsored by the Office of International Programs, International Student and Scholar Services, the Women’s Studies Program, the Women’s Student Union, the Center for Civic Engagement and BUGs.

4. Traveling During the Spring Break?
Spring break begins following your last class on Friday, March 30 and continues through Monday, August 9. The ISSS has updated its Spring Break travel information on the ISSS website, and you can view it at this link:
http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/travel/springbrk.html

Planning to take a cruise? Read the essential information international students need to know here: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/travel/cruise.html

5. Off Campus Employment And Why International Students Need Work Authorization
In recent weeks, staff in the Office of International Student and Scholar Services have answered a number of students’ questions regarding off campus employment. A reminder: A student in F-1 or J-1 status cannot be employed away from the Binghamton University campus unless they have obtained appropriate federal authorization to do so before employment can begin. The only exception to this rule are F-1students who are working away from BU but are paid on a Binghamton University state or research foundation payroll.

  • All off-campus internships must be authorized in advance even if the internship is “unpaid”
  • Employment at another SUNY campus (such as Cortland or Oneonta) or Community College (such as Broome Community College) is NOT “on-campus employment” and must be authorized in advance. Other SUNY campuses are no different than any other off-campus location; the employment must be authorized.
  • Students currently on authorized Curricular Practical Training (CPT) who wish to extend their employment authorization or change employers must receive approval from the ISSS (in the form of a new I-20 with the new work authorization indicated on page 3) before the extended employment or the new employment may commence.

The U.S. government exacts heavy penalties for students who work without authorization.

In addition, many U.S. international student offices report problems with students putting unpaid internships on their resume as “work experience” and then having difficulties when they secure long-term employment and sponsorship for H-1B visas. The officers at US Citizenship and Immigration Services look for corresponding work authorization on their I-20, and finding none, may conclude that the student had engaged in unauthorized employment, and deny the H-1B petition.

Readers may wish to take note of the following two articles on the ISSS website:

Employment Overview

http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/employment/overview.html

Don’t Place Your Immigration Status at Risk: Consequences of Illegal Employment

http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/employment/illegalemp.html

The ISSS website has many resources on employment. Just visit http://isss-new.binghamton.edu and click on “Employment.”

If you have questions regarding employment, please do not hesitate to contact the Assistant Director Shawna Szabo or Associate Director, Karen Keefe-Guzikowski. Both are available to answer your employment questions by email at intl.work@binghamton.edu They are happy to assist you.

If you would like to make an appointment to discuss issues of employment, please call the ISSS office at (607) 777-2510. Walk-in hours for your employment questions are every Tuesday from 1:30pm to 3:15pm.

6. Nominations Now Being Accepted For 2012 Foundation Awards
The Division of Student Affairs is now accepting nominations of both students and student organizations for the Binghamton University Foundation Awards. The awards will be presented at the recognition ceremonies of the individual schools later this Spring. Anyone (faculty, staff or student) can nominate a student for these awards. A description of each award along with the required nomination form may be found at:

http://www2.binghamton.edu/student-affairs/awards/index.html

The nomination deadline is Wednesday, March 7.

7. BU Summer Session Registration Information is Now Available
Registration information for Summer Session 2012 is now available at
http://summer.binghamton.edu Registration for both Summer Session terms begins on March 12, 2012.

Here’s how to assure you will be eligible to register for courses: Submit missing required documentation, such as health forms or final high school/college transcripts. Pay all financial holds, such as parking tickets, unpaid student account balance, library fines, etc. Note: A hold is not instantly cleared and may require up to 24 hours to be reflected on a student’s account therefore delaying course registration.


You can view and/or pay your outstanding financial obligations at http://bubrain.binghamton.edu To view your outstanding debts, select Quick Pay-Student Payment. You will be able to view your debts and pay for them at this link.

The Summer Session Course List can be viewed on BU Brain at:

https://buonline.binghamton.edu/banner/bwckschd.p_disp_dyn_sched Just select “Summer 2012” from the drop down menu.

8. Attention Undergraduates! Apply To Be a Peer Mentor for the Emerging Leaders Program
Applications are now being accepted for Peer Mentors to work with the 2012 Binghamton University Emerging Leaders Program (ELP). ELP is a program available to first semester students who are interested in learning about and practicing leadership, becoming connected to the university and developing important skills for success in college and life. The program runs during the fall semester. See the ELP website (www.binghamton.edu/emerging-leaders) for more information about the program.

Through ELP, Peer Mentors have the opportunity to have a direct, positive impact on the lives of students new to the Binghamton University community. ELP Mentors serve as role models and primary contacts for new students making their way through their first semester. ELP provides an opportunity for students to put leadership into action, as it focuses on learning about and practicing distinct characteristics of leadership through a theme-based knowledge community and service learning project. In addition to serving as a role model, ELP Mentors will practice communication, utilize facilitation and problem-solving skills, obtain increased knowledge of campus and how to maximize use of resources, build self-awareness and understanding of personal strengths, leadership skills, and more.

The expected time commitment for the ELP Mentor position is approximately 6 hours per week.

Applications are available online at:https://docs.google.com/a/binghamton.edu/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dG92cmFfb1VVTkMyVUgzUHBZRnhjSWc6MQ#gid=0.

Please contact ELP program coordinator Debora Clinton Callaghan (dclinton@binghamton.edu) with any questions. The application deadline is 5pm on Monday, March 5th.

9. This Week’s Campus and Community Connections Newsletter
The latest Campus and Community Connections newsletter has been posted at:

http://www2.binghamton.edu/cce/connect/CCC-Spring2012-26.pdf

The Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) publishes Campus and Community Connections to provide BU students with information on ways to participate in activities both on campus and in the local community, including:

* Upcoming Campus & Community Events

* Volunteer & Service Opportunities

* Internships (Credit & Non-Credit)

* Community-Based Research Project

Previous newsletters are archived at: http://www2.binghamton.edu/cce/campusconnect.html

For more information on the Center for Civic Engagement, visit http://www2.binghamton.edu/cce/

10. Daylight Savings Time Starts on March 11 This Year
The U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005, passed by the U.S. Congress in July 2005, extended Daylight Saving Time (DST) in the United States by approximately four weeks. As a result, DST will start on Sunday, March 11, 2012, and end on Sunday, November 4, 2012.

So, you’ll want to remember to set your clocks ahead one hour before going to sleep on Saturday night, March 10, so that you’ll be all set for the start of Daylight Savings Time on Sunday, March 11.

11. H-1B Visas and the U.S. Master’s Quota
The Office of International Student and Scholar Services is frequently asked by students about the H-1B “specialty occupations” visa and the special US Master’s quota of 20,000 H-1B visas available each year. This quota is in addition to the usual 65,000 H-1B visas available.

To be eligible to use the US Master’s quota, you must have been awarded your US Master’s degree at the time your H-1B petition is filed, or have completed all of your graduation requirements at the time your H-1B petition is filed. If you will not have all of your graduation requirements completed before the April 1, 2012 H-1B filing date, then you will not be eligible to use the US Master's quota for H-1B visas. You are still eligible to be considered under the larger, regular visa quota if you have at least a Bachelor’s degree at the time of filing.

If you are a currently enrolled graduate student who has not yet been awarded the Master’s degree, but you will have all of your Master’s degree requirements completed before April 1 (including thesis or project), then your department will need to submit the necessary certifications to the Graduate School on or before that date, and then the Graduate School's secretary for Graduate Degree Completion will be able to provide you with a letter verifying that you have completed all requirements for your degree.

The ISSS will be offering its annual workshop on “Post Graduation Employment Issues” on Wednesday, March 21 at 5:00pm in Academic A Room G08. Our guest speaker will be immigration attorney Roseanne Mayer from the law firm of Miller Mayer in Ithaca, New York. Watch for an upcoming announcement in ISSS-BU News.

12. Income Tax Question: “Do I Need To File a Tax Return if I Earned No Income During 2011 But I Was in the United States?”
Many students come to the ISSS to inquire if they need to file an income tax return if they earned no income during calendar year 2010, but were physically present in the United States. The answer is “yes” if you are a non-resident for tax purposes (meaning, you were in F or J status in the United States in 2011 and the first time you were in F or J status was no earlier than sometime in calendar year 2007).

Such students and scholars can use GLACIER Tax Prep for these “no income” tax filings, which require that just Federal Form 8843 be completed. For full information, visit this link:

http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/taxes/zerousincome.html

13. Income Tax Information: How to Request a Copy of a Previous Year’s Income Tax Return
When you file an income tax form as a non-resident or as a resident, you are required to keep copies of the forms, and attachments. The ISSS has been asked several times for help if a student has somehow lost or misplaced a previous year’s income tax forms.

Both the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the New York State tax department provide separate instructions on how to obtain a copy of an income tax form.

To request a copy of a previous year’s federal income tax form, follow the instructions at the following web link: http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc156.html

To request a copy of a previous year’s New York State tax return, print the form at the following web link and follow the instructions on the form:

http://www.tax.ny.gov/pdf/current_forms/misc/tr152_fill_in.pdf

14. Income Tax Information: Tax Treaties
This week's Income Tax article is about Tax Treaties. For more information, visit http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/taxes/treaties.html

How do you find out whether your country HAS a tax treaty with the U.S. that allows such a deduction and additional details regarding the deduction? Consult IRS Publication 901 (U.S. Tax Treaties) available on the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p901.pdf

Be sure that you are referencing the correct section of the publication; tax treaty provisions for students begin on Page 19.

The section titled "Professors, Teachers, and Researchers" (which starts on Page 16) only applies to those individuals who entered the U.S. in non-student categories, such as a J-1 Visiting Professor or Research Scholar.

If you use GLACIER Tax Prep, it will inform you of any tax treaty for which you might be eligible, and put the information on the appropriate federal income tax form.

If you earned wages (as reported on form W-2) during 2011 and are a national of a country that has a tax treaty with the United States that includes a personal services provision for students, you may be able to deduct that tax treaty amount on your tax form. If you use GLACIER Tax Prep, it will do that for you.

Many students who are eligible for tax treaty benefits that are either applicable to wages or scholarships will be issued form 1042-S by Binghamton University in mid-March. Students who will receive form 1042-S should wait to receive form 1042-S before filing their income tax returns.

The following countries permit their nationals who are students in the United States to protect a portion of their wages from income tax: Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, China, Commonwealth of Independent States*, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, France, Germany, Iceland, Indonesia, Israel, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Spain, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, and Venezuela.(*This treaty is in effect for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgystan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan). However, the rules vary by country.

An easy to read chart for tax treaties based on wages for students can also be found on the ISSS website at: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/taxes/saltable.html

If you have a qualifying scholarship or fellowship grant (not a teaching or research assistantship, and not a tuition scholarship) and are from one of the following countries, you may be able to protect all or part of your grant from tax: Bangladesh, Belgium, China, Commonwealth of Independent States*, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, France, Germany, Iceland, Indonesia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovak Republic, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Ukraine and Venezuela. (*This treaty is in effect for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgystan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.)

An easy to read chart for tax treaties based on scholarships or fellowships for students can be found on the ISSS website at: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/taxes/schtable.html

If you are a student from India, visit the ISSS website at http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/taxes/usindia.html for specific information on the U.S. tax treaty with India.

An easy to read chart for tax treaties for J-1 scholars and faculty who earned salary and wages as reported on a W-2 can be found on the ISSS website at:

http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/taxes/teachresea.html

Another good source of information on tax treaties is the special tax treaty page of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS):

http://www.irs.gov/businesses/international/article/0,,id=96739,00.html

This site has posted the entire text of tax treaties for each country.

15. Income Tax Information: Tax Benefits for Spouses and Dependents
Many international students and scholars who are married and/or have children ask if they can claim their spouse and/or children as dependents on their income tax returns. The answer is, "it depends."

If you are an F-1 or J-1 student, and have been in that status for five or fewer years (since 2007 or later) OR if you are a J-1 scholar or faculty member who has been in that status for two or fewer years (since 2010 or later) you are considered to be a non-resident for tax purposes. You can only claim a spouse and/or children as dependents IF you are a national of one of the following four countries:
Canada
India (students ONLY and only if the spouse is in the U.S. and earned no income)
Republic of Korea
Mexico

If you are a national of any other country, you cannot claim a spouse and/or children as dependents if you are a non-resident for tax purposes. This is because only those four countries have entered into tax treaty agreements with the United States that permit a spouse or dependent to be claimed as a dependent by a non- resident. This also means that only residents from those four countries can also claim tax credits based on having dependents.

Here are the specific rules:

Spouses:

A spouse exemption is available to married individuals from Canada, Mexico and the Republic of Korea. A spouse exemption is also available to married students from India IF the spouse is living with the student in the United States and if the spouse had no earned U.S. income for the 2011 tax year. No other countries are eligible for the spouse exemption. If you are claiming a spouse exemption, you cannot file form 1040NR EZ. Instead, you must file form 1040NR. GLACIER Tax Prep will complete the correct tax form for you.

Dependents (Children)

Only individuals from Canada, Mexico or the Republic of Korea can claim children who live with them as dependents. Individuals from Canada or Mexico can also claim children who don't live with them as dependents. Students from India can only claim children living with them in the United States if the children are U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.

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Last Updated: 8/28/14