U.S. Tax Information
International students and scholars physically present in the United States for any part of 2020 are legally required to file tax documentation by April 15, 2021. This is true regardless of whether or not the individual received any income in 2020. ***Both the federal government and the state of North Carolina have extended the tax filing deadline to May 17, 2021. However, not all states have extended their deadlines. If you worked in a state other than North Carolina in 2020, you should refer to that state’s Department of Revenue website for your filing responsibilities.
As of May 14th, 2021, the Office of International Services no longer has any codes left for purchase. NC State international students and scholars with their tax filing responsibilities can still purchase the Sprintax Tax Preparation software directly through their website. Sprintax will guide foreign nationals through the tax preparation process, prepare the necessary federal tax return forms, and check to see if taxes are owed or if a refund is due.
**Please note these codes are non-refundable. We encourage individuals to begin the process through Sprintax to ensure their eligibility using this platform before purchasing a code. Students may also have to pay an additional sum in order to file a state return.
***Please note that students who worked for NC State University in 2020 should make sure their home address is up-to-date in Mypack Portal in order to receive your Form W-2, which you will need to file your tax return. W-2s will also be accessible in Mypack Portal, but only until April 30, 2021. If you have graduated and are locked out of Mypack, you can do a password reset.
Sprintax will also host a series of free webinars that explain tax filing responsibilities in more detail. Each webinar will cover the same topics listed below. Please feel free to register for the date and time that best suits you (all times are in EST):
Tuesday, March 30th @ 1.30pm – Register here
Wednesday, April 7th @ 2pm – Register here
Monday, April 12th @ 12pm – Register here
Tuesday, April 20th @ 10:00am – Register here
Tuesday, April 27th @ 1:00pm – Register here
Wednesday, May 5th @ 2:00pm – Register here
Wednesday, May 12th @ 1:00pm – Register here
All webinars will cover:
- An overview of tax for nonresident students and scholars
- Who must file a 2020 US tax return
- What income forms students/scholars may receive
- Forms that need to be completed and sent to the IRS
- We cover terms like FICA, ITIN and Form 1098-T
- What happens if students don’t file, or misfile
- State tax returns
- IRS stimulus payments
- Sprintax overview
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! You at least have to file Form 8843 if you were physically present in the U.S. for any part of 2020, from January 1 through December 31.
Yes, you may apply for an extension. However, the extension application is still due by the original deadline. You may visit the IRS website for more information on extensions.
Sprintax will determine whether or not you are a Nonresident Alien for tax purposes, and therefore eligible to use their software. If you are not, they will direct you to another tax filing software. You can watch the Sprintax webinar to determine your tax filing responsibilities and whether or not you are eligible to file with Sprintax.
Sprintax should direct you to another tax filing software that can be used by Resident Aliens (RAs). This may include TurboTax, H&R Block, or another tax filing software. RAs can use the same tax filing software as U.S. citizens. The federal form you file will be either the 1040 or 1040-EZ. If you are living in North Carolina, you will file the form D-400.
No, it should not matter which email address you use to create your account.
Most likely yes, if your scholarship was from a U.S. source. Sprintax will help you determine whether or not you need to file a return for this income.
Yes, if you worked anywhere in the U.S. in 2020, you must file. Sprintax will help you determine if you need to file a state(s) tax return. You may have to pay an additional sum to file a state return.
Your tax residency status depends on your visa type and how long you’ve been in the U.S. as explained below:
International students on F visas or in the student categories of J visas are typically considered Nonresident Aliens for tax purposes for the first 5 years in the U.S. After this period you will be subject to the Substantial Presence Test, which is used to determine if someone was in the U.S. long enough to be considered a resident for tax purposes. Sprintax will run the Substantial Presence Test for you to determine your tax residency.
International scholars on the J visa in the scholar categories are typically considered Nonresident Aliens for tax purposes for the first 2 years in the U.S. After this period you will be subject to the Substantial Presence Test, which is used to determine if someone was in the U.S. long enough to be considered a resident for tax purposes. Sprintax will run the Substantial Presence Test for you to determine your tax residency.
If you filed incorrectly as a Resident Alien and should have filed as a Nonresident Alien, you must file an amended return for all incorrect years. This involves filing two forms (1040X and 1040NR), which Sprintax can help with. You may use Sprintax to file your amended return even if you did not originally use Sprintax to file. If you owe any taxes based on your amended return documents, you should pay any back taxes owed. Be sure you mail it with a trackable service and make copies of any documentation for your records.
It may not be necessary to file if you did meet a certain income threshold in 2020, but it may still be in your benefit to file in case you are due a tax refund. Either way, you will need to file Form 8843. Sprintax will help you determine whether or not you need to file a full return.
As long as you are a Nonresident Alien for tax purposes, the U.S. will not tax your income from non-U.S. sources. If you are a Resident Alien for tax purposes you are taxed on your worldwide income, but you may be eligible for a tax credit on your U.S. federal tax return. Turbo Tax, Tax Act, H&R Block and other similar software programs can help you determine if you are eligible for the foreign tax credit.
If your dependents are on F-2 or J-2 visas (and not U.S. citizens), then yes, you will need to file a separate Form 8843 for each.
Sprintax will assist you with completing the ITIN application, which you will mail in with your tax return. They also have a blog post about how to apply for an ITIN from outside the U.S., should that be necessary.
Often scammers will impersonate the IRS and demand individuals pay “taxes owed” or threaten immediate jail time or deportation. The Internal Revenue Service recently warned of a new IRS-impersonation scam that appears to primarily target educational institutions, including students and staff who have “.edu” email addresses. Read more on their website here.