The information on the Office of Global Services webpage is provided as guidance and is not intended to be legal tax advice. The Office of Global Services staff are not tax specialists and are NOT qualified to answer international students/scholars questions regarding taxes. If you believe you have a complicated tax issue, please consult the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, local and state tax agencies and tax professionals for advice and guidance regarding your individual tax situations.
The Office of Global Services has arranged access to Sprintax for you. Sprintax will guide you through the tax preparation process, arrange the necessary documents and check if you’re due a tax refund.
The code can be used for Federal taxes. If you have a state filing requirement, this will not be covered by the code and you must also mail this to the tax authorities. You are not required to use Sprintax and can use a different tax preparation software (or complete it on your own) if you prefer.
- If you receive U.S. source income, including wages, stipend, or scholarship, you will likely have federal and state tax withheld from your checks.
- U.S. taxes is a pay-as-you go system in that there may be automatic tax withholdings from your paycheck, stipend, or financial aid. This means that in some instances your available income will be reduced by the tax withholdings. When you file your annual tax report in April of each year, you will calculate the exact amount of tax due. (Some years you may get a refund and in others you may owe additional taxes.)
Who must file tax forms for 2021 tax season?
Even if you did not earn any income, if you were physically in the US on F or J status anytime between January 1st – December 31st 2021, you’re obligated to file a Form 8843 with the IRS (the Internal Revenue Service, or ‘IRS’, are the US tax authorities).
Meanwhile, if you earned any taxable US source income, you may need to file a federal tax return with the IRS. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may also need to file a state tax return(s).
Tax Filing Deadline:
April 18, 2022 is the last day for residents and nonresidents who earned US income to file Federal tax returns for the 2021 tax year.
Who is considered Resident or Nonresident for Federal Tax Purposes:
Generally, most international students & scholars who are on F, J, M or Q visas are considered nonresidents for tax purposes. International students on J-1 & F-1 visas are automatically considered nonresident for their first five calendar years in the US, whilst Scholars/Researchers on J visas are automatically considered nonresidents for two out of the last six calendar years in the US.
If you’ve been in the US for longer than the five or two year periods, the Substantial Presence Test will determine your tax residency.
Sprintax Tax Webinars
Sprintax Webinars for Northeastern students only
- Monday, February 28th from 3:00-4:30pm EST – Register here
- Thursday, March 10th from 1:00-2:30pm EST – Register here
Sprintax Active Webinar Schedule
- Thursday, November 4th @ 1pm EST – Register here
- Thursday, December 9th @ 12pm EST – Register here
- Wednesday, January 12th @ 1pm EST – Register here
- Thursday, January 27th @ 12pm EST – Register here
- Wednesday, February 2nd @ 1pm EST – Register here
- Thursday, February 10th @ 12pm EST – Register here
- Wednesday, February 23rd @ 12pm EST – Register here
- Wednesday, March 2nd @ 3pm EST – Register here
- Tuesday, March 15th @ 1pm EST – Register here
- Thursday, March 24th @ 3pm EST – Register here
- Wednesday, March 30th @ 12pm EST – Register here
- Wednesday, April 6th @ 1pm EST – Register here
- Tuesday, April 12th @ 1pm EST – Register here
- Thursday, April 14th @ 12pm EST – Register here
The informational webinars will cover:
- An overview of tax for nonresident students and scholars
- Who must file a 2021 US tax return
- What income forms you 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
NOTE: There are other options for filing taxes.
Step by Step guide on How to File Your Nonresident Tax Forms (F and J)
1) Gather the documents you may need for Sprintax
| Visa/Immigration information, including
form I-20 (F status) or form DS-2019 (J status)
|Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (if you have one)||This is not needed if you had no income and the 8843 is the only form you have to file.|
|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.
|This form is used to report:
1. Stipend, scholarship, fellowship income and travel grants (not tuition reduction or exemption)
2. Income covered by a tax treaty
3. Payment for other types of services (eg by the semester as a note-taker)
If you received this type of income, the 1042-S will be e mailed to you by 15 March by the payer.
Note: Only Nonresident Aliens receive this form. If your tax status changes to a Resident Alien you will not get a 1042-S. Login to Sprintax to check your tax status if you’re not sure.
|US entry and exit dates for current and past visits to the US||In addition to passport stamps, you can review or print your US travel history here|
|This form reports miscellaneous income. Can be interest on bank accounts, stocks, bonds, dividends, earning through freelance employment|
|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.|
2) Follow the Sprintax instructions
If you did not earn any US Income: Sprintax will generate a completed Form 8843 for you and each of your dependents (if you have any).
If you did earn US Income: Sprintax will generate your “tax return documents”, including form 1040NR, depending on your circumstances.
3) If required, complete your state tax return
After you finish your federal return, Sprintax will inform you if you need to complete a state tax return. If so, you will have the option to use Sprintax for an additional fee. However, it is your choice to use them or to do the state tax return on your own.
4) Read the instructions for filing/mailing your returns
Remember to read the instructions that Sprintax provides.
You will be required to download, print and sign your federal tax return and mail it to the IRS. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to E-file your Federal tax return. However, this will depend on certain eligibility criteria. You can learn more about eligibility in this Sprintax blog – https://blog.sprintax.com/nonresident-federal-tax-efiling-live/
If you have a state filing requirement, you must also mail this to the tax authorities.
Finally, if you only need to file Form 8843, this will also need to be mailed to the IRS.
DISCLAIMER: The Office of Global Services and Northeastern are NOT permitted to assist any student/scholar with any IRS tax form preparation or tax related questions. The information provided is intended for your benefit. Any questions or concerns should be directed to Sprintax, a certified tax preparer or a local IRS field office.
State and local tax
- Some students and scholars must also file a state and/or municipal (local) tax form. For more information, please refer to the respective State Department of Revenue (e.g. Massachusetts Department of Revenue FAQ site)
- Sprintax will help determine your State residence status. If you used the software to prepare your federal tax return it will prepare the forms you will need to file, if it is required
- NOTE: You may be required to file a state tax return for each state you lived or worked during the preceding calendar year.
Do I need to file taxes?
YES! You must file federal tax returns if you were in the U.S. for any period of time during the previous calendar year.
If you receive income in the U.S., including wages, stipend, or scholarship funds, you will likely have federal and state tax withheld from your checks.
- Form 8843: Whether or not you earned income in the U.S. in the previous calendar year, you must file at least the USA federal tax Form 8843
- Form W-2: If you are employed by Northeastern University and/or any U.S. employer you should have received Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement that summarizes your previous year’s income and taxes withheld. W-2 documents are sent by the end of January. If you have worked for compensation and not yet received your W-2, please contact your Human Resources department. (The Office of Global Services does not have access to these forms)
- Form 1040(s): It is the main form when filing taxes and reporting income. (Please, be aware that there are several versions of this form, consult you tax advisor for further information)
- Form 1042-S: It details your benefits if it applies under a tax treaty between the U.S. and your home country
NOTE: This is not a complete list of tax forms. For more information consult your tax advisor.
Boston IRS Office contact information:
Phone Number: 617-316-2850
IRS National helpline: 1-800-829-1040
IRS VITA Program (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance): 1-800-829-1040
Tax treaty information:
Massachusetts Department of Revenue contact information:
Phone Number: 1-800-392-6089 or 617-887-MDOR (6367)
Form I-9 acceptable documents
Please see the following U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services page for the list of acceptable documents that need to be brought to an I-9 appointment.