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Taxes and International Students

TAXES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

The information below does not apply to students who are permanent residents of the U.S. (have a "green card"), have U.S. passports, or are permanent residents for tax purposes. You are considered a permanent resident for tax purposes if you have lived for 5 years or more in the U.S.

All international students are required to fill out U.S. tax returns for the 2013 calendar year even if they did not earn wages in 2013. Tuesday, April 15, 2014 is the government's deadline.

Read the detailed information below about forms, deadlines, and tax filing help sessions so you can plan ahead. Do not wait until the last minute to take care of filing your forms.


SUMMARY

By the end of January:

  • If you were employed by Hampshire College during 2013, you will receive a W-2 form. Some of you opted for receiving your W-2 electronically, which can be found on The Hub in your account. For others who did not choose this, you will receive your W-2 in your campus box.
  • If you were employed by a non-Hampshire employer in 2013, you should be receiving a W-2 form from that employer to a mailing address that you had given them.

Some of you will be receiving a 1042-S form, which is also required for tax filing. 

  • These forms are prepared by Hampshire College and will be sent in March. These forms will be placed in your campus box.
  • If you will be receiving a 1042-S form, do not file your taxes until after you have received this form.
  • If you will not be receiving a 1042-S form and have all of your other tax forms prepared, then you can make your plans for tax filing.


Everyone has to:

  • Complete form 8843 (see below for details) even if you know that you will not be receiving W-2 or 1042-S forms.
  • Submit an 1099-HC form (proof of medical health insurance for the state of Massachusetts) with your tax filing if you receive one in the mail. You do not need to do anything else with that form.
  • Thoroughly read the rest of this web page for further details to help with you tax filing prepartion.


Why do I have to file a tax return?
What are tax treaties?
Filing tax returns
Form 8843 must be completed by everyone
Tax filing help sessions
Materials needed to complete your tax return
Massachusetts state taxes
Students who are studying abroad
Preparing your tax return yourself
Resources

Why do I have to file a tax return?
Many international students and scholars earn money from on-campus jobs, and some international students and scholars also receive grants or scholarships from Hampshire College to cover some of their expenses at the College. The College is required by law to withhold taxes from your paycheck and, in addition, must tax that portion of your Hampshire College grant or scholarship that exceeds the cost of tuition, fees, books, and course supplies (i.e., room and board). After you file your tax return in the spring, you may be able to get back some portion of the money that has been withheld, i.e., your “tax refund.”

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What are tax treaties?
The United States currently has tax treaties with more than 50 countries. These treaties are designed to decrease the likelihood that the individual will be taxed on the same income in the U.S. and the country of tax residency. Treaty benefits will not be honored unless appropriate treaty forms are completed and on file in the student employment office, located on the first floor in Blair Hall. If you have questions about being eligible for tax treaties, please contact the student employment office at 413.559.5727.

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Filing tax returns:
By April 15, persons who have income in the United States (including international students and scholars) are required to file income tax returns. Tax returns provide an opportunity to apply for money that was withheld in amounts greater than the actual tax liability to be refunded to the applicant. F-1 and J-1 visa holders who have U.S.-source taxable income must file a tax return. Although a tax treaty may exempt you from paying taxes, you are still required to file an income tax return if you have U.S.-based taxable income.

Form W-2:
All employees who have taxable income from employment in the United States will receive a Form W-2, which is a statement of earnings. All of your U.S. employers are required by law to provide a W-2 form. Hampshire College will produce W-2 forms if you had an on-campus job. If, for example, you had CPT- or OPT-paid employment, you should be receiving a W-2 form from your past employers (make sure you know which address they are sending it to: Hampshire or your permanent home address). Some of you have opted for receiving your Hampshire W-2 electronically, which can be found on The Hub in your account. Those who did not choose this option will receive a W-2  in their campus boxes.

Form 1042-S:
All “non-resident aliens” who have scholarships that are greater than the amount of their fees or have tax treaty-exempt wages will receive a Form 1042-S in their campus mailboxes by March 15. This is a statement of that type of income received during the year. For those international students who do not work or whose only source of income is from a grant/scholarship (shown on tax form 1042S), the filing deadline is June 15, 2014.

* If you are enrolled for Hampshire on-campus study, then your W-2 and 1042-S forms will be placed in your Hampshire mailbox. Not everyone may be receiving one or both forms. Do not file your taxes until you know you have received all necessary forms. If you are not enrolled for Hampshire on-campus study (i.e., field study or exchange), then your forms will be mailed to your permanent home address. 

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Form 8843 must be completed by everyone:
All “non-resident aliens” must file form 8843 whether or not they received income in the U.S. This form must be submitted by June 15, 2014. This includes those who have not worked or earned any money in the United States. Form 8843 is the only form you must complete if you have no income subject to taxation in the U.S.; it establishes your "exempt" status. Non-residents are exempt from filing tax returns if they have no U.S.-based income and are also exempt from paying tax on non-U.S. source income. You do not need a social security number or an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer ID Number) to complete this form.

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Tax Filing Help Sessions:
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Every year student volunteers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s School of Management assist international students and scholars with tax return preparation under the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA). Volunteers are trained to assist with preparation of nonresident alien tax returns. Hampshire students are highly encouraged to attend these sessions for assistance. You don't have to sign up for these sessions; just show up! Click here for the University of Massachusetts tax help filing schedule. It is highly recommended that students go to the University of Massachusetts for tax filing assistance.


Tax filing help session

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Please note that you will need to have the following in order to complete your tax return:
• Passport
• Form I-94
• Form I-20 (if F-1 visa holder) or Form DS-2019 (if J-1 visa holder)
• W-2 form
• 1042S form
• Social security number or ITIN
• TAX INFORMATION WORKSHEET: Before you come to the Hampshire tax filing help session or travel to the University of Massachusetts to file your taxes, you should complete the tax information worksheet. This worksheet asks most of the questions that you will need to answer when completing your tax return. If you have the answers written down beforehand, this will save you time!

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Massachusetts State Taxes:
You don't have to file a state tax return form for Massachusetts UNLESS you have earned over $8,000.00 in Massachusetts during the previous year. If you did earn more than $8,000.00 IN MASSACHUSETTS last year, then you do have to file a Massachusetts non-resident tax return (Form 1-NR/PY, Nonresident or Part-Year Resident Income Tax Return). The form and instructions are available online. Resident vs. non-resident for Massachusetts state taxes: The regulations state that, if an individual has created a residence in Massachusetts, that individual is a resident for Massachusetts tax purposes. Generally not included in the category of  "creating a residence" are those living in institutional housing such as dormitory rooms.

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Students who are Studying Abroad:
If you are studying abroad, you still need to file an income tax return. Remember that international students may not file taxes online, but must mail the return to the Internal Revenue Service. You may, however, use several online programs for a fee. You may also choose to complete your tax return yourself by following the detailed instructions below: "Preparing you tax return yourself?" We recommend that you send the tax return using registered mail. This way you will have a receipt to prove that you mailed in your tax return just in case it gets lost in the mail.

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Preparing your tax return yourself? 
Form 1040NR-EZ
Instructions for filling out Form 1040NR-EZ
Form 8843
Instructions for filling out Form 8843

Remember that you must file both a Form 1040NR-EZ (if you have a W2 and/or 1042S) and a form 8843. Only complete the 8843 if you do not have income to report.

Print out, sign, date and mail completed Form 1040NR-EZ and Form 8843 and attach the following to them:
One copy of your W-2 Form(s) if you received one.
Copy C of the 1042S form if you received one.

MAIL TO: Internal Revenue Service Center, Austin, TX 73301-0215
Make photocopies of your completed tax return.

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Resources:
See sample forms and different case scenarios: University of Texas at Austin
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers free advice and answers to international tax questions
IRS resource on Foreign Students and Scholars: Great overview/Q and A on tax issues for international students and scholars

DISCLAIMER: The multicultural and international student services office and its staff are not tax experts. The information provided is for reference only and does not constitute legal advice. For assistance with your tax questions, please contact the resources/assistance/"help line" identified by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (for federal tax returns/questions) or the designated department of revenue or taxation in the state for which you are filing a state tax return. Information on assistance resources is available in each tax entity's publications and website. 

 

 
 

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