U.S. tax laws can be complex and confusing and the laws that apply to internationals are not the same as those that apply to U.S. citizens. These resources should help you to better understand your tax obligation, to learn what and where to research, and to successfully submit your tax forms
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 2015 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 2015 and you are a non-resident for tax purposes you must file Form 8843 by June 15, 2016.
- Completed Sample 8843 Form
- 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 15, 2016. (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?
This year the University of Southern Maine has partnered with Sprintax to assit international students and scholars with the filing of their annual tax returns. Sprintax is an easy‐to‐use tax prep software, designed to guide you through the tax preparation process.
How do you use it? Watch a short video!
2. Complete the online questionnaire
3. Enter the code USM2015F5 (available to the first 50 people to use it) on the ‘Review your order’ page to avail of your $5 discount
4. Let Sprintax prepare your tax return and check if you’re due a tax refund
5. You MUST PRINT out your tax return and mail it. You cannot submit it electronically (be sure to save a copy for your records.)
If you are ONLY filing form 8843 - because you earned no income - we recommend you file the paper verson. No SSN or taxpayer ID needed. Find form 8843 here.
You can pay per form when you use Sprintax. How much is Sprintax?
Federal Tax Form (1040NR or 1040NR-EZ) = $35.95
State Tax Form = $25.95
Form 8843 = $15.95
But don't forget about the $5 discount mentioned above.
Are you considred a resident or non-resident for TAX purposes?
If you on an F-1 visa and have been in the US for at least 5 years, or if you are on a J-1 visa and have been in the US for at least 2 years you may be considred a resident for tax purposes. If you are, then you would fill out the same forms as American citizens (1040NR or 1040NR-EZ). To see if you are a resident for tax purpsoes please view the information on the substantial presence test.
Do I have to report interest I earned on my bank account?
No, bank account interest is not taxable.
I received form 1098-T from USM. Am I eligible for the HOPE scholarship or tuition tax credit?
No, non-resident aliens cannot claim the HOPE scholarship or Limetime Learning Education Credit.
Additional Tax Help for 2015:
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.
The resources below will be less familiar with filing non-resident tax returns.
Portland Public Library
5 Monument Square, Portland, ME
Tuesday & Wednesday from 10 AM to 7 PM
Call to make an appointment: 207-776-6316
Westbrook Community Center
426 Bridge Street, Westbrook ME
Wednesday from 5-9 PM and Saturday from 9 AM to 2 PM
Call to make an appointment: 207-776-6316
St. Anne's Church
299 Main Street, Gorham
Tuesday from 9 AM to 1 PM
Call to make an appointment: 207-776-6316.
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.
Key Tax Forms for International Students for 2015: