If you were physically in the U.S. in F or J status anytime between January 1 - December 31, 2019, you're obligated to send one form, Form 8843, to the U.S. tax agency IRS (Internal Revenue Service), even if you had no income. You may need to file additional forms depending on your situation. Review the information and resources below for more details.
We have teamed up with Sprintax to provide you with easy-to-use tax preparation software designed for non-resident students, scholars, alumni and their dependents in the United States. The staff at ISSS are not qualified or allowed to provide individual tax advice.
What to Expect
Resident or Nonresident for Federal Tax Purposes
After you log in to Sprintax, it will ask you a series of questions about the the time you have spent in the United States and in which immigration status, looking back over a period of years. Sprintax will then determine your tax status. If it determines that you are a "nonresident alien" (NRA) for federal tax purposes, you can continue to use it to respond to a series of guided questions. Sprintax will complete and generate the forms you need to print, sign, and mail to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). If it determines you are a resident alien for federal tax purposes, you won't be able to continue using it, but we have prepared a list of resources for filing a resident tax return.
Form 8843 is Required for all Nonresident Fs and Js-even if you had no income
If you had no U.S. Income: Just one requirement, Form 8843
The form 8843 is an informational statement IRS requires to show you were in the U.S. and are a Nonresident Alien (NRA). Sprintax will generate mailing instructions and a filled-in 8843 for you to print, sign and date, and mail to the IRS.
If you had U.S. Income: Federal Tax Return Documents
Sprintax will generate your completed tax return documents, a 1040NR-EZ or the 1040NR depending on your personal situation, along with the 8843. A tax return is a reconciliation between tax that has been withheld and tax that is owed--sometimes you get a refund and other times you may owe the government money to make up for the shortfall.
Mailing Deadlines: July 15, 2020
If you had U.S. Income: July 15, 2020 is the deadline to mail your tax forms.
If you had no U.S. Income (Form 8843 only): July 15, 2020 is the deadline to mail your form 8843
1. Gather the documents you may need to use Sprintax
Your personal situation determines the documents you may or may not receive.
List of Documents
- Visa/Immigration status information, including form I-20 (F status) or form DS-2019 (J status)
- U.S. entry and exit dates for current and past visits to the U.S. In addition to passport stamps, you can review or print your U.S. travel history here.
- Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. This is required if you have U.S. income to report, but NOT required if you had no income and the 8843 is the only form you have to file.
- W-2. This form reports your wage earnings if you worked. If you had more than one employer, you should get a W-2 from each employer. It is issued by the end of January for the previous year. Make sure all employers from last year have an up-to-date address for you. If you worked in the U.S. and have not received a Form W-2, contact your employer for a copy.
- 1042-S. This form is issued to report: (1) stipend, scholarship, fellowship income and travel
grants. Tuition exemption or reduction is NOT taxable income or (2) income covered
by a tax treaty.
i. If you believe you should have received a 1042-S, check with your Human Resources (HR) office.
ii. Only NonResident Aliens receive this form. If your tax status changes to a Resident Alien because of having spent more than 5 years in the U.S. you will not get a 1042-S. If you're not sure of your tax status, log in to Sprintax to check.
- 1099. This form reports miscellaneous income. May be interest on bank accounts, stocks,
bonds, dividends, earning through freelance employment
X 1098-T. This form is NOT needed and can NOT be used for a nonresident tax return because NRAs are not eligible to claim education expense tax credits. If, however, you have become a resident for federal tax purposes, the office of Student Accounts has 1098-T information.
X 1095-A. 1095-B, 1095-C. These forms report healthcare coverage and are not needed for a NonResident tax return.
2. Log in from the portal below to create a Sprintax account
ISSS recommends that you open the myBinghamton dashboard using either Microsoft Edge or Safari. Do not use Chrome. You should NOT be charged a fee by Sprintax for preparing your federal income tax return – if you are, contact the ISSS office for guidance.
Once on the Sprintax website, confirm that you see the Binghamton University logo on the left side of the Sprintax page. If you do not see the Binghamton University logo on the Sprintax page, try accessing the site through the myBinghamton dashboard using a different browser. Open your new Sprintax account by creating a UserID and password. (Note that Binghamton University alumni may continue to use Sprintax with their PODS account and password).
Sprintax will save your information so you can log in and out without starting over. Additionally, if you use Sprintax in subsequent years, your information will carry over.
3. Follow Sprintax instructions
If You Did Not Have U.S. Income: Sprintax will generate a completed Form 8843 for you and each of your dependents (if you have any).
If You Had U.S. Income: Sprintax will generate your "tax return documents", including either a 1040NR-EZ or a longer form 1040NR, depending on your circumstances. If you have any dependents, Sprintax will generate a completed Form 8843 for each of your dependents.
4. If applicable, complete your state tax return
After you finish your federal return, Sprintax will inform you if you need to complete a state tax return because of your income. If so, they will give you the option to use Sprintax for an individual fee. It is your choice whether to use Sprintax for state taxes or to do the state tax return on your own.
Remember that each state has its own income tax regulations and forms. New York State residency rules are different than those of the Internal Revenue Service. You may be a nonresident alien for federal tax purposes but be a resident for state tax purposes.
Learn More about it
- Undergraduate students in a degree program are always considered to be nonresidents by NY State
- The tax residency status of graduate students and J scholars is determined by the number of days you spent in NY during the tax year (more or less than 183 days) and whether you had a place to live for at least 11 months. The 2009 amendment for the undergraduate exception states that "the amendment does not provide an exception for graduate students pursuing a post-baccalaureate degree".
- Students who receive a 1042-S reporting taxable income from a fellowship stipend or travel grant need to take note that federal taxes are withheld, but NY State taxes are not and therefore you are likely to owe taxes on a NY State tax return.
- For more information, see NY State tax definitions.
You may be able to e-file a NY State tax return for free, but you’ll need to know whether you’re a non-resident or resident.
5. Mail your completed federal forms to IRS by the deadline
IRS will begin accepting tax returns on January 27, 2020 BUT Sprintax will not be accessible until after February 7, 2020.
Remember to read the mailing instructions that Sprintax provides, and mail your return by the deadline (July 15, 2020).
If you have dependents, each one must mail their Form 8843 in a separate envelope.
Sprintax will offer two webinars for Binghamton University students and scholars. These webinars will last approximately 40-50 minutes and explain the process by which nonresidents file taxes in the U.S. Each webinar can accommodate up to 150 students and scholars. Webinar access is first-come, first serve, and there is no advance sign-up available.
- Tuesday, March 3, 2020, 12:00 pm - access webinar here
- Thursday, July 2, 2020, 2:00 pm - access webinar here
If you need help while using Sprintax, contact them:
- Electronic Toolkit for Nonresident Aliens (IRS Publication for training volunteers)
- Publication 519: U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens
International students who had income from scholarships or fellowships, and those who are claiming tax treaty benefits may need to apply for an ITIN. See the IRS website for more details about ITINs. If you already have a Social Security Number (SSN), you do not require an ITIN. If you need to apply for an ITIN, Sprintax will guide you through the application process. You may need to take your original immigration documents to the local IRS office for certification. You can find contact information and hours for the Binghamton IRS office on the IRS website. ISSS does not recommend mailing your original immigration documents to the IRS.
- Eligibility for Social Security Number
- Filing Your Resident Tax Return
- Electronic Toolkit for Nonresident Aliens (IRS)
- IRS Form 8843. If you choose to complete this form without using Sprintax, note that the ISSS cannot
answer any questions about it and that the IRS mailing address is on page 3.