ISSS-BU News 21 January 2013 ISSS-BU News


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

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

"Like" Us on Facebook!

Editor’s Note:

Monday, January 21, 2013 is the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Most university offices, including the Office of International Student and Scholar Services, will be closed.

Many students are inquiring about the availability of Glacier Tax Prep (formerly known as CINTAX), the free software for most international students to use when filing their income tax return. The vendor has not yet made the product available. The ISSS expects to receive it by early February. An email message will be sent to all students once it is “live.”

CONTENTS:

1.University Resumes Academic Year Operational Hours on January 22
2.ISSS Staff Availability on January 22, January 23 -January 25
3.Important Announcement Regarding International Health Insurance for Spring 2013
4.Employment and Health Insurance Walk-In Appointments in the ISSS are Cancelled for January 22 and 23.
5.International Student Orientation Program is Now On-Line
6.Upcoming CDC Programs to Prepare for the Job and Internship Fair
7.OCCT ITC Shuttle and Regular Bus Service for Spring 2013
8.Spring 2013 International Spouses Program (ISP) English as a Second Language Classes
9.Sales Tax Refunds For Purchases In The United States
10.Income Tax Information: W-2 Form Reminder
11.Income Tax Information: Wait! Don't File Your Tax Forms Too Soon!

1. University Resumes Academic Year Operational Hours on January 22

The University returns to its standard academic year operational hours beginning Tuesday, January 22 through May 20. For the ISSS, that means beginning January 22, our hours to the public resume as 10:00am to 4:30pm Monday – Friday except Wednesdays, when we are open from 11:30am to 4:30pm. The ISSS answers its phones from 8:30am to 5:00pm.

2. ISSS Staff Availability on January 22, January 23 and January 25

The Office of International Student and Scholar Services will be open for regular office hours during the week of January 22. However, most staff will be away from the office during the morning of January 22, as well as Wednesday through Friday, January 23 - 25, participating in various University and New Student Orientation activities.

This means that obtaining appointments, document processing and responses to e-mails may take somewhat longer than usual while staff takes care of the newest class of international students. ISSS thanks you for your patience and understanding!

3. Important Announcement Regarding International Health Insurance for Spring 2013

International students whose health insurance is issued through HTH Worldwide, Inc have insurance ID cards with an expiry date of January 14, 2013. Spring Semester coverage for both new and continuing students starts on January 15, 2013. However, enrollment processing cannot begin until the first day of classes which is January 28, 2013 and most likely will not be completed until January 31st. Therefore, students that need to renew prescriptions and/or have appointments to receive medical services off campus during the two week period from January 15, 2013 through January 28, 2013 need to contact the International Health Insurance team at intl.insure@binghamton.edu to request an early insurance enrollment in order to obtain their new insurance ID card in time for those medical services.

4. Employment and Health Insurance Walk-In Appointments in the ISSS are Cancelled for January 22 and 23.

There will be no walk-in hours for health insurance on Tuesday, January 22, nor walk-in hours for employment on Wednesday, January 23, due to a University-wide event and new student orientation. Health Insurance walk-in hours will then resume on Tuesday, January 29 from 10:15am to Noon. Employment Walk-In Hours will resume on Wednesday, January 30, from 1:30-3:15pm. Students should check in at the ISSS front desk in Room G-1 for walk-in appointments. Students who need to meet with a member of the ISSS staff during the week of January 21 can request an individual appointment. Please note that some staff may be unavailable for appointments during portions of New Student Orientation.

5. International Student Orientation Program is Now On-Line

International Student Orientation is this week! The program runs from Wednesday, January 23 through Friday, January 25. Check in is Wednesday, January 23 from 7:00am to 9:00am for undergraduates and 7:00am to 10:00am for graduate students in University Union Old Union Hall.

The Spring 2013 International Student Orientation Program is now on-line, and can be viewed at these links:

Undergraduate Students

http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/orientation/spring/undergraduate/ugprogram2013.html

Undergraduate Exchange Students

http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/orientation/spring/undergraduate/ugexchangestud2013.html

Graduate Students

http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/orientation/spring/graduate/gradprogram2013.html

Graduate Exchange Students

http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/orientation/spring/graduate/gradexchangestud2013.html

Dual Diploma Program for Students from Turkey

Check back for your schedule on January 22

There is no cost to attend International Student Orientation, other than meals, which are at the option of new students. There is one meal that is provided to all orientation registrants without cost. That is the welcome dinner on Thursday evening, January 24, 2013 at 5:30pm in University Union Old Union Hall. A new student’s orientation name badge is all that is needed to attend the welcome dinner.

Please note that all new students; undergraduate, graduate, exchange and Dual Diploma Students from Turkey, will see a one-time mandatory New Student Fee on their student bill once they register for classes. The New Student Fee covers the cost of new student programming throughout the year, including many of the activities associated with Orientation.

6. Upcoming CDC Programs to Prepare for the Job and Internship Fair

Are you looking for an internship or full time job in the United States? The Career Development Center (CDC) is hosting two unique programs targeted to international students interested in preparing for the Job and Internship Fair on Thursday, January 31st.

How to make a Resume that Employers Want to Read
When: Wednesday, January 23rd, 11am-12pm
Where: LNG 307 (CDC North)
Go beyond the basics! Learn how to transform your resume and showcase the skills that employers seek! Please bring a draft of your resume to this workshop.

How to approach Recruiters at the Job and Internship Fair
When: Tuesday, January 29th, 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Where: UUW 324
Get ready for the Job and Internship Fair. Learn what to say, what to wear, and how to approach recruiters

7. OCCT ITC Shuttle and Regular Bus Service for Spring 2013

Spring 2013 service will begin on Monday, January 28th. Welcome Back Weekend service will begin on Friday, January 25th and will continue until Sunday, January 27th. The schedule for Welcome Back Weekend has been posted, the Spring 2013 schedule will be posted soon.

ITC Service will continue running on its 20 minute schedule from 8 AM ending with the 5:40 PM shuttle.

For more information and route maps, visit the OCCT home page at: http://www.occtransport.org/index.php

8. Spring 2013 International Spouses Program (ISP) English as a Second Language Classes

These are non-credit bearing classes for spouses of BU international students, faculty and staff. BU Research Scholars are welcome to join as well. These classes are NOT intended for current BU students. The focus is to practice conversation, reading, grammar skills and daily living in the United States.

Classes begin on Monday, January 28 but students are welcomed at any time

Two classes and a Discussion Group will be offered this semester at the following times:

Basic English (Beginner- Pre-Intermediate):
Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:00pm to 3:30pm
Location: Student Wing Room 310
First Class: Monday, January 28

Time is spent on all four skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking). There is work done using material out of various ESL text books that include a focus on grammar and sentence structure, while conversation is always incorporated into the lessons as well.

Intermediate-Advanced English
Thursdays from 3:30pm to 5:00pm
Fridays from 12:30pm to 2:00pm
Location: Fine Arts Building Room 248
First Class: Thursday, January 30

There is an ongoing focus on grammar and sentence structure while tenses such as the passive, past perfect, future perfect may also be covered. Additional topics may include verb patterns, everyone’s favorite verb “get”, reported speech as well as other topics in between. Articles covering topics of interest will also be discussed.

Discussion Group
Fridays 2:30am to 4:00am
Location: Hinman Commons Building Room 120B
Open to all levels of English and native English
First Class: Friday, February 1

This class’s intent to bring as much diversity into the discussions as possible. In the past, memorable discussions were had on the books: The Precious Present by Spencer Johnson and The Four Agreement by Don Miguel Ruiz. If you have read an interesting book, bring it in! You can read excerpts from it and give us food for thought. Possible topics for discussion: adapting to a new culture, learning a new language, how to be happy, stress, careers, raising children in a foreign country, the existence of God, etc…?? Individuals at all levels of English are welcome and can benefit through listening and/or speaking.

A $5.00 fee per semester per student is requested towards the copying of materials (no need to purchase a textbook for these classes). The instructor will collect this fee.

Our ESL instructor is Ms. Myriam Stanton. Myriam has many years experience teaching English overseas and ESL here in the United States. This is her fourth year as our ISP ESL instructor.

If you have any questions about the ESL classes, please contact the instructor at mstanton@binghamton.edu

9. Sales Tax Refunds For Purchases In The United States

International students sometimes ask if it is possible for them to receive a refund of the sales tax they paid for goods and services in the United States upon their departure. In the United States, sales tax on goods and services is set by each of the fifty states, and state entities (such as cities and counties), not by the U.S. government. Each state and state entity determines what the sales tax will be (always a percent of the purchase price) and what items will and will not be assessed a sales tax.

Therefore, it is not possible for an overseas visitor to obtain a refund of the sales tax for a purchase made in the United States upon their departure. The best "official" explanation comes from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, reprinted below:

"Foreign visitors to the United States frequently confuse the state sales tax with the value-added tax (VAT). The state sales tax is a small tax on purchases or services, calculated at the time of purchase, which individual states assess and which the U.S. federal government neither determines nor receives. The VAT, on the other hand, is a national tax commonly applied in foreign countries that is included in the actual sales price rather than at the time of purchase. The United States does not have a VAT, and the federal government cannot refund state sales taxes.

State taxes are generally not charged to diplomats or employees of some international organizations who have been issued a tax-exemption card. This card must be presented at the time of purchase in order for sales taxes to be waived.

Also, some states do not charge tax on items shipped out of state. Ask about state sales-tax policies in the state where you make your purchases."

If you are making a major purchase, such as a car, and you intend to export the item to another country, contact the State taxation authority of the state where you will be making the purchase to determine their criteria for refunding any sales tax paid.

10. Income Tax Information: W-2 Form Reminder

The Human Resources Office reminds all faculty, staff, and students that 2012 W-2 forms will be mailed very soon. If a duplicate W-2 form issued from 2012 or prior years is needed, a request form must be filled out. they are able to issue replacement W-2 forms from current and prior years. However, due to new requirements from the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC), duplicate W-2 forms must be reviewed and approved by OSC before they can be reissued to employees. Employees requesting a duplicate W-2 should fill in the W-2 Reissue Request form found at these links:

W-2-Reissue-Request .PDF version

W-2-Reissue-Request Word version

Please allow up to 5 business days before we can re-issue the W-2 to you. We will be happy to mail your reissued W-2 to your current address; please allow additional time for mailing. Contact Christine in Human Resources at Allison Gilli at 607-777-2193, or Tom Petersen at 607-777-2122. Questions regarding W-2 replacement policies should be directed to Cheryl Robinson-Boyett at 607-777-2129.

11. Income Tax Information: WAIT! Don’t File your Tax Forms Too Soon!

Many international students have begun to receive their W-2 forms and other tax forms, and are anxious to file their income tax returns. This is usually because most students want to determine if they are eligible for a tax refund. If so, they want their money as quickly as possible.

But, before you get to work on your income tax returns, WAIT! You’ll avoid mistakes that way. Here’s why.

Most International Students Cannot E-File Their Income Tax Returns
Non-resident income tax returns (forms 8843, 1040NR EZ and 1040NR) cannot be e-filed.
They must be printed and mailed through the Postal Service.

Most international students in F-1 or J-1 status are non-residents for tax purposes, if they have been in the United States in F-1 or J-1 status for five years or less (2008 or later).

Glacier Tax Prep (formerly CINTAX), which is the web-based income tax software for non-resident tax filing, is what BU international students who are non-residents for tax purposes should use. It’s free, it’s an excellent product, and based on the information you provide, it populates the required federal income tax forms, prints them so that you can mail them, and determines whether or not you are eligible for a tax refund. Glacier Tax Prep will be available for use soon after February 1.

International Students Who Complete Non-Resident Federal Income Tax Returns Cannot E-File Their New York State Tax Returns
Some students will also need to file a New York State income tax return, either because:

  1. They wish to receive a refund of New York State income tax or
  2. Because the amount of wages earned is greater than the New York State income threshold requiring the filing of a state tax return.

Although New York State strongly encourages e-filing, it can only be used if the federal income tax form is e-filed. Since non-resident federal forms cannot be e-filed, you must fill out the New York State non-resident income tax forms yourself, based on the information printed on your federal non-resident form. Glacier Tax Prep does not prepare New York State tax forms. Watch ISSS-BU News for information on upcoming Webcasts that will assist you with filing NYS non-resident income tax forms.

Don’t File Your Income Tax Forms Until You Have All of Your W-2s
If you worked for more than one U.S. employer during calendar year 2012 (for example, Sodexo Dining Services and the State of New York) you must wait to file your income tax returns until you have a wage and tax statement (usually a W-2 form, but sometimes a different form) from each employer. If your former employer(s) do not have your current mailing address, you need to contact them and request that the wage and tax statement be sent to you.

If You Will Be Issued Form 1042-S, You Cannot File Your Income Tax Form Until the 1042-S Arrives
Form 1042-S is also known as “Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding.” This form has multiple purposes. It is used to report Tax Treaty-eligible income, as well as scholarships. By law, form 1042-S may be issued as late as mid-March. If you are the recipient of an athletic scholarship, dissertation year fellowship, or a US sourced scholarship such as a Fulbright or Muskie grant, OR if you worked for the State Payroll or Research Foundation Payroll and were able to claim the benefits of a tax treaty based on wages, a form 1042-S will be issued to you in March. This form is an essential part of your income tax filing. Do not file your income tax form until you have received it.

Getting Help with Your Income Tax Forms
The ISSS is in the process of developing a series of tax webcasts, which will assist you with filing New York State forms, since all international students and scholars who were non-residents for tax purposes during 2012 can use Glacier Tax Prep for their federal forms. Watch for an announcement after mid-February.

ISSS-BU is a listserv owned and managed by the Office of International Student and Scholar Services, Division of Student Affairs, at the State University of New York at Binghamton. It is the publisher of ISSS-BU News. Permission is granted to freely distribute the information posted to this list as long as its contents remain unchanged.

To sign on to ISSS-BU from an e-mail account on the Binghamton.edu server, send an e-mail message to listserv@listserv.binghamton.edu Leave the subject line blank. In the message text, type: subscribe ISSS-BU first name last name

Replace "first name last name" with your name.

If your e-mail account is on a server other than Binghamton.edu, send an e-mail message to isss@binghamton.edu In the message text, type: Please subscribe isss-bu, your e-mail address, your first and last name.

If you are a registered student and don't have an e-mail account, you may claim an e-mail address and password from the following link: http://www2.binghamton.edu/self-service/loginhelp.html Be sure to read and follow the instructions carefully. If you encounter difficulty, visit the Help Desk in the lobby of the Computer Services building.

Last Updated: 8/28/14