Global Engagement > Student Resources > International Student & Scholar Services > Tax Responsibilities

Tax Responsibilities

March 26, 2020: The deadline for filing individual income tax returns for tax year 2019 has been extended by the IRS to July 15, 2020 (for filers with US income in 2019). ISS recommends filing as early as possible. Students and scholars with no US income but who were present for any part of 2019 should file the form 8843 no later than July 15, 2020​. 

DePaul International Students and Scholars: You should have received an email from ISS in late February with important information about your tax filing responsibilities and with your personal access code to Sprintax tax preparation system. This email was sent to the preferred email address you identified In Campus Connection. The Sprintax tax preparation software system will assist you in filing your required tax return forms. 

 

All international students and scholars in F and J non-immigrant status are responsible for filing appropriate income tax forms each year, even if they have no U.S. source of income. If you were physically in the U.S. in F or J status anytime between January 1 - December 31, 2019 you are obligated to send one form, Form 8843, to the U.S. tax agency IRS (Internal Revenue Service), even if you had no income. For the 2019 tax season, if you earn $1 or more of US source income, you may need to file a federal tax return with the IRS. Use your Sprintax access code (mailed to you by ISS in late February 2020) to complete your federal tax return at no cost. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may also need to file a state tax return(s) at your own cost.

The IRS has extended the tax filing deadline to July 15, 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation for residents and non-residents who earned U.S. income to file Federal tax returns for the 2019 tax year.

 

 

 

Generally, most international students & scholars who are on F or J  visas are considered non-residents for tax purposes. International students on J1 & F1 visas are automatically considered non-resident for their first 5 calendar years in the US, while Scholars/Researchers on J visas are automatically considered non-residents for 2 out of the last 6 calendar years in the US. If you’ve been in the US for longer than the 5 or 2 year periods, the Substantial Presence Test will determine your tax residency.

 

ISS has teamed up with Sprintax to provide you with easy-to-use tax preparation software designed for non-resident students and scholars in the U.S. We (and all other university staff) are not qualified or allowed to provide individual tax advice.

 

After you login to Sprintax, it will ask you a series of questions about 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 the software.

 
You also have access to the Sprintax YouTube account where there are a number of educational videos on non-resident taxes to provide further clarity on the subject of using Sprintax and non-resident tax. There is also a Sprintax Blog which goes through tax related topics and can be of use to you

What is a 1098-T form?

  • Form 1098-T is a document issued by DePaul University summarizing student-related educational costs for annual income tax returns. The form summarizes qualified tuition and fees for the calendar year (January 1 through December 31).  

Do international students need Form 1098-T?

  • Students file Form 1098-T to claim tax education credit. Generally, international students cannot claim the tax education credit though some students are eligible if they are deemed to be Resident Aliens for tax purposes under the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) substantial presence test.

How can international students request a Form 1098-T from DePaul University?

  • In order to obtain a Form 1098-T, a student must have a social security number (SSN). Students who do not have a SSN may apply for an individual tax identification number (ITIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  • Once a student has a SSN or ITIN, s/he must complete the Personal Information Change Request form found on DePaul's University Registrar website. Students will be required to provide an official document that indicates their ITIN from IRS and a copy of a valid passport showing the same name associated with the ITIN.
  • Once the ITIN information has been updated with the University Registrar, the student may request Form 1098-T from Student Accounts by either a) calling or visiting DePaul Central to speak with a Student Accounts Counselor or b) emailing a request to Student Accounts.
  • Once a Student Accounts counselor confirms that the student has eligible tuition charges for the tax year, the request for Form 1098-T will be processed.

An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS issues ITINs to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain, a Social Security number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

 

IRS issues ITINs to help individuals comply with the U.S. tax laws, and to provide a means to efficiently process and account for tax returns and payments for those not eligible for Social Security numbers. They are issued regardless of immigration status, because both resident and nonresident aliens may have a U.S. filing or reporting requirement under the Internal Revenue Code. ITINs do not serve any purpose other than federal tax reporting.

For more information about the ITIN including how to determine if you need one and how to apply please see the IRS website

1) Gather the documents you may need for Sprintax.

 

Document Description
Passport
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.
* 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. 
* 1042-S 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 (e.g. by the quarter/semester  as a note-taker)

If you received this type of income, the 1042-S will be mailed to you by March 15th by the payer.

Note: Only Non-resident 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. 
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
* 1099 This form reports miscellaneous income. Can be interest on bank accounts, stocks, bonds, dividends, earning through freelance employment
1098-T This form is 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) Create a Sprintax Account.

You will receive an email from ISS in February providing you with a link to Sprintax to set up your account as well as your unique code to use on Sprintax. This unique code will cover the costs of the federal tax return and 8843 at no cost to you. Open your new Sprintax account by creating a UserID and password or if you have an existing account on Sprintax you can log in using your existing credentials.

3) Follow the Sprintax Instructions.

If you had No U.S. Income: Sprintax will generate a completed Form 8843 for you and each of your dependents (if you have any).

With U.S. Income: Sprintax will generate your "tax return documents", including either a 1040NR-EZ or a longer form 1040NR, depending on your circumstances. 

4) (With US Income only) 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, they will give you the option to use Sprintax for an individual fee. However, it is your choice to use them or to do the state tax return on your own.

5) Mail your completed federal and/or state forms to IRS and/or state tax authorities. 

Remember to read the mailing instructions that Sprintax provides. If you have dependents, each one must mail their 8843 in a separate envelope.

Social Security / Medicare Taxes

IRS Publication 519 entitled U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens indicates that no Social Security or Medicare taxes are to be withheld from earnings for services performed to carry out the purpose for which an F-1 student was admitted to the United States.  The types of services exempt from Social Security and Medicare withholding include on-campus work, practical training, and economic hardship employment (IRS Publication 519, p. 39, Students and Exchange Visitors). 

International students are exempt from these withholdings as long as they are considered to be a "non-resident alien" for tax purposes.  Students maintaining legal F-1 status are generally considered to be a non-resident alien if they have been in the United States for a period of less than five years.  

If you would like to avoid paying these taxes, please talk with the payroll department of your on-campus or practical training job.

If you need help while using Sprintax, contact them: 

 
  • Sprintax Video Library
  • Email: hello@sprintax.com
  • Live Chat Help (available after you create your Sprintax account)

A message from the USCIS Public Engagement Division:

Do not fall victim to scammers who call and say they are with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)! There has been an increase in aggressive phone scams where people call and threaten you with police arrest or deportation if you don't pay them.

Even if you do owe taxes...

  • The IRS will NEVER call and demand immediate payment over the phone.
  • The IRS will NEVER try to threaten or intimidate you, demand payment with a prepaid debit card, or ask for your credit card or debit card number over the phone.
  • The IRS will NEVER threaten to call the police or immigration agents if you don't pay.

If you get a call like this, report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration by calling 800.366.4484 or visiting www.tigta.gov. Also, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint.

For more information on tax scams, watch this video and read this IRS Tax Tip. If you think you owe taxes, you can call the IRS at 800.829.1040 and they can help you arrange a payment plan.

Visit uscis.gov/avoidscams or uscis.gov/eviteestafas to learn how to recognize and avoid immigration scams and find authorized legal services.  

For additional assistance with filing your federal or state tax returns, you may wish to contact one of the following professional tax services.

Important Deadlines

Income Tax Returns are due by April 15, 2020!

Your free personal access code to Sprintax tax preparation will be emailed to the preferred email address listed in Campus Connect in mid-late February  2020​. 

SPRINTAX INSTRUCTIONS

For more information about taxes including tax forms please visit the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS): 

Visit Website

Disclaimer

Please note that ISS staff are not licensed tax professionals and the information contained on this page is provided as general advice as a service to our students.  ISS staff are not permitted to assist any student or scholar with any IRS tax form preparation or tax related questions. Any questions or concerns should be directed to Sprintax, a certified tax preparation professional or a local IRS field office.