Do I need to file a tax return?
All international students and scholars on F-1, F-2, J-1 or J-2 visas who were in the U.S. during 2017 must file an annual federal tax return, even if you did not earn any income.
Which forms do I use?
- If you received no U.S. income in 2017 and you are a non-resident for tax purposes you must file Form 8843
- If you received wages or a taxable scholarship and you are a non-resident you must file Form 8843 AND Form 1040NR-EZ or Form 1040NR by April 17, 2018. (Most students will be able to use the EZ form. Sprintax will help you figure this out or you should check with the IRS or your tax preparer.)
Where Can I Get HELP With Filing My Taxes?
The University of Southern Maine has arranged access to Sprintax Tax Preparation (a tax software program) which will guide you through the process of completing the forms and prepare the necessary documents for you. There is a small fee of $10 to purchase a code to use the program to complete your federal forms. Additional fees apply for students who need to file a state return (but most students do not need to file a state return) Sprintax is similar to Turbo Tax it is designed specifically to help international students and scholars.
Please stop by the International Office during our regular hours of 8 am to 4:30 pm to purchase your $10 code to prepare your federal tax return at this reduced cost. Payment can be made in cash or check.
How do you use it? Watch a short video!
1. Register if you are a new user or Log In to Sprintax if you used it last year.
2. Complete the online questionnaire (this will allow Sprintax to determine if you are a NON-Resident for tax purposes). If you are not you will need to file the traditional 1040EZ form.
3. Once you have entered ALL the information into Sprintax it will prepare your Federal tax form. If you have not already done so you can purchase a taxcode from the Office of International Program. When you enter this code it will remove the Sprintax fee of $39.95 from your bill.
4. You MUST PRINT out your tax return and mail it. You cannot submit it electronically (be sure to save a copy for your records.) Sprintax will provide detailed instructions on how ti file your tax form.
If you are ONLY filing form 8843 - because you earned no income - we recommend you file the paper version. No SSN or taxpayer ID needed. Find form 8843 here.
Additional Tax Help for 2017:
Internal Revenue Service Location
Mallside Plaza,220 Maine Mall Road, South Portland, ME 04106
Hours of Operation: Monday- Friday 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM
252 St. John Street, Portland, ME 04102 207-773-0221
Staff members specializing in non-resident tax returns are available.
Hours vary. Please call prior to visiting to make an appointment.
What documents do I need to file my taxes?
- Your Passport
- Form I-20 (F-1) or Form DS2019 (J-1)
- Social Security Number or Individual Tax Identification Number (if you have been assigned one)
- US entry & exit dates for current and all past visits- you may be able to get travel history from Customs & Border Protection website but keep in mind it is not always accurate.
- W-2– Employers are required to withhold a portion of each employee’s salary and pay an estimated tax to the U.S. government. At the end of each year, all employers report to the IRS and to the employee the actual wages earned and the federal tax payments that have been paid. The employer’s report to employees is called the W-2. The University of Maine Payroll Office will send W-2s to all those who have earned wages from the University by the end of January for the previous year. If you earned money from an off-campus company during an authorized internship or training program you should also receive a W-2 from this employer.
- 1042-S- This form- will be sent by mid-March to recipients of taxable scholarships and to individuals who qualify for exemptions under a tax treaty.