Frequently Asked Tax Questions
(For Tax Year 2013)
1. I'm an F-1 or J-1 student who entered the United States after 2009 and I had no
U.S. income during 2013, or my only U.S. income was bank or credit union interest.
Do I need to file any tax forms?
Yes. You need to file Form 8843. This is the only form you will need to complete. F-1 or J-1 students with U.S. income from other sources, such as dividend income, salary or wages, scholarships or fellowships, prizes or awards will need to file form 1040NR or 1040NR EZ.
2. What about my F-2 and J-2 dependents?
All F-2 and J-2 dependents, whether or not they are students, must file Form 8843
even if they had no U.S. income of any kind for 2013, or if the only income they had
was from bank interest. If there was any other U.S. income, they will also need to
file a 1040NR EZ or 1040NR.
3. I'm a new student for the Spring 2014 semester but arrived in the United States in late December 2013. Do I need to file a tax form?
Yes! If you are in F-1 or J-1 status, or a F-2 or J-2 dependent, and were in the U.S. for any part of 2013, even if it was just a few days, you will need to file a tax form. If you had no U.S. income in 2013, you will only need to file Form 8843.
4. If I have U.S. income other than bank interest, which form should I use, 1040NR EZ or 1040NR?
Most students will find that they can use the 1040NR EZ, which is much simpler to complete than the 1040NR. Whichever form you use, you must also complete Form 8843. However, there are some rules and limits for the 1040NR EZ. Click here to learn more.
5. What is the deadline for filing tax forms?
You must file your tax forms by April 15, 2014.
6. How can I get help with my income tax forms?
The Office of International Student and Scholar Services has purchased a license for GLACIER TAX PREP an internet-based income tax preparation product for non-residents. GLACIER TAX PREP will prepare and print your federal tax forms. For information on GLACIER TAX PREP, go to:
7. My bank (or credit union) has mailed me a form, called a Form 1099-INT, indicating
the amount of interest I earned on my savings account/money market account/certificate
of deposit. Do I need to include this amount on my income tax forms?
Non-residents do not include U.S. bank or credit union interest as income.
8. Both form 1040NR EZ and 1040NR ask for social security numbers or taxpayer identification numbers. Is this the same as my B number I was issued by the university when I was admitted?
NO! All F-1 and J-1 students who have been authorized to work in the United States should have a Social Security number (SSN), issued by the Social Security Administration. Students in F-1 and J-1 status who do not yet have a social security number (and their dependents in F-2 or J-2 status who may not be eligible for a SSN) may need an identification number to file their income tax form.
Such individuals must obtain an Individual Tax Payer Identification Number (ITIN). They can apply for an ITIN by completing form W-7 and attaching it to their income tax return. Form W-7 is available from the ISSS. Form W-7 is designed for individuals who are not eligible to apply for Social Security Numbers but who are filing income tax returns.
The IRS has previously announced that F and J visa holders who have no U.S.-source
income, and thus file only the Form 8843, need neither an SSN nor an ITIN to file
Form 8843. However, the IRS strongly recommends that if you have an SSN, you should
9. I am a full-time student at Binghamton, but I also receive a GA, TA or RA stipend. Is the stipend considered to be wages?
Yes, GA, TA, and RA stipends are all considered WAGES. Adjunct stipends are also wages. In general, if you receive payment for performing a service, that is considered to be wages and is taxed as income. Students with GA, TA or RA stipends are considered to be part-time employees. The State or Research Foundation payroll offices issues form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) in late January for wages you earned in calendar year 2013. The information on the W-2 will need to be included on your income tax return.
10. During the 2013 calendar year, I worked at locations other than Binghamton University (for example, employment at a previous U.S. college or university, or authorized off campus employment). Should I be receiving a Wage and Tax Statement (form W-2) from that employer?
Yes! Each employer for whom you worked in 2013 is required to issue you a wage and tax statement prior to the end of January. However, students often change their addresses, so your former employer may not have your current address. You should contact your previous work places and inform them of your current address so that the W-2 form can be sent to you in a timely manner. Remember, by law, all employers MUST report your earnings to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. So, failure to receive a form W-2 from an employer does not eliminate the requirement that you report all taxable income earned from that employer.
11. I am a student from India, and I've heard that my country's tax treaty allows me to claim the standard deduction, but I can find no additional information about this benefit.
Information on this benefit can be found in IRS Publication 519, US Tax Guide for Aliens. The publication may be viewed on-line at: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p519.pdf Students from India have the choice of itemizing their deductions or taking the standard deduction amount. Since the standard deduction for 2013 is $6100 if you are single, most will take this amount. On form 1040NR EZ, enter $6100 on line 11 if you are single. If you are married, and your spouse also files a return, enter $6100 on line 11.
J-1 research scholars and faculty from India are not eligible for this benefit.
12. If my country has a tax treaty with the U.S., does that mean I don't have to file any tax forms?
No! In order to claim tax treaty benefits, you must file federal income tax forms 8843 and either 1040NR EZ or 1040NR.
13. I've received a form 1042-S. How do I reflect this on my tax return?
It all depends upon the TYPE of income being reported on the 1042-S. Look at the income code in column (a) of the form. An income code of 15 is for a scholarship or fellowship grant, and would be reported on line 5 of form 1040NR EZ or line 12 of form 1040NR. An income code of 19 refers to a tax treaty amount withheld from wages, and would be reported on line 6 of form 1040NR EZ or line 22 of form 1040NR. You would not include this amount as part of your wages on line 3 of form 1040NR EZ or line 8 of form 1040NR.
14. I am eligible to claim a tax treaty deduction, since my country has a tax treaty with the U.S. but I never received a form 1042-S. Instead, all of my earnings are reported on my form W-2. How do I complete form 1040NR EZ to claim my tax treaty deduction?
Glacier Tax Prep will do this for you. Let's assume, for the sake of this example, that you are permitted to claim $2000 as your tax treaty amount to be deducted from wages. Glacier will subtract your tax treaty amount from your salary and wages as reported on your form W-2. You can verify your country's tax treaty information by consulting IRS Publication 901, U.S. Tax Treaties http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p901.pdf . Be sure you are consulting the section which summarizes tax treaty benefits for students. More than fifty countries have tax treaties with the U.S. Be sure to answer question j page 2 completely.
15. How do I complete Form 8843?
All F-1 and J-1 students filing form 1040NR EZ or form 1040NR must attach Form 8843 to it. F-1 and J-1 students and F-2 and J-2 dependents with no U.S. income, or for whom the only U.S. income is bank or credit union interest complete Form 8843 only. Glacier Tax Prep will help you complete Form 8843.
16.Can I file my Federal Income Tax Forms Electronically?
Forms 1040NR EZ, 1040NR and 8843 cannot be filed electronically at this time, nor can they be faxed. They must be completed on paper and mailed to the Internal Revenue Service.
17. I received a Form 1098T "Tuition Payments Statement" for Binghamton University. Does This Mean I Can Claim the Hope Tax Credit or the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit?
Non-residents for tax purposes cannot claim the Hope Tax Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit. Those credits are available only to those who are eligible to file as residents for tax purposes. Colleges and Universities are required to mail those forms to the homes of all students each January, but not all recipients of the information are eligible to take advantage of it.
18. Do I also have to file a New York State income tax form?
If you have earned no income in the U.S., you do not have to file a New York State form. If you earned more than $7500 in income during 2013 then you must file form IT 203 and form IT 203B, if any portion of that income was earned in New York State, even if you were also employed in other states. You may also want to file a New York State form even if your income was less than the amounts listed above, if any New York State tax was withheld during 2013, and you would like to obtain a refund of that tax. The way to tell if New York State tax was withheld is to look at your form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, and see if box 15 contains the code “NY” and if there is any amount in box 17.
19. What parts of New York State form IT-203B do I need to complete?
On the top of the form, print your name, social security number, and occupation (student). Then complete schedule B to reflect your address or addresses in New York State for 2013. On one of the empty lines in schedule B, write the words "Non-Resident Alien for Tax Purposes."
20. Where do I mail these forms?
Before mailing anything, MAKE COPIES FOR YOUR RECORDS!
Mail forms 8843, 1040NR EZ and 1040NR and the appropriate attachments to:
If no payment is enclosed
US Department of Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Austin, TX 73301-0215
If payment is enclosed
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 1303 Charlotte,
NC 28201-1303 U.S.A.
Mail forms IT 203 and IT 203-B to:
If no payment is enclosed
State Processing Center
P.O. Box 61000
Albany, New York 12261-0001
If payment is enclosed
State Processing Center
P.O. Box 55555
Albany, NY 12212-55555
21. Both the Federal and NY State income tax forms allow for my income tax refund to be direct-deposited into my bank account. Is this a good idea?
It’s actually a very good idea. Most U.S. citizens have their income tax refunds direct-deposited into their checking account, rather than have the check mailed to them. You’ll receive your refund more quickly, you don’t have to worry about lost checks, and even if you are traveling, you will know that your funds are safe. It is easy to look at your on-line bank statement or monthly paper bank statement to see when your refund is credited to your account. There is no fee for this service.
22. GLACIER TAX PREP is indicating that I am a resident for tax purposes, and therefore cannot use Glacier for my tax filings. But I have been F-1 for fewer than five years. Has GLACIER TAX PREP made a mistake?
Perhaps not. If you were in the United States in some other non-immigrant status prior to becoming an F-1 student, federal tax law requires that those prior years be counted. GLACIER TAX PREP then computes your income tax status. If it is determined that you are a resident for income tax purposes, follow the instructions for filing as a resident, available at: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/taxes/residentaxinfo.html
23. I am a graduate assistant/teaching assistant. My New York State W-2 form has Box 13 “retirement plan” checked. Does that mean I have a retirement plan? If I am completing form IT-2 for New York State, what instruction should I follow for Box 13?
If box 13 on your New York State W-2 has been checked, it only means that you are eligible to be enrolled in a New York State retirement plan, not that you have actually enrolled. There is nothing special you need do for your federal or state income tax filing if Box 13 is checked. If you are completing New York State form IT-2, leave Box 13 blank.
ISSS staff are neither qualified nor permitted to give individual tax advice. Students with complicated tax situations may wish to consult with a tax preparation service, professional tax accountant, or tax attorney who is knowledgeable about nonresident tax law.