Taxes: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


The following are some frequently asked questions. If you find that your question is not answered here, please contact ISS for further clarification.
 
I am an international student and I have no income. Do I need to file taxes?

Most international students are required to file at least one tax form. To determine your filing obligation there are a few things to consider:
  • Residency for tax purposes status
    • This is not the same as residency for tuition or Lawful Permanent Residency
    • F-1 and J-1 Students and their dependents within the first 5 years of non-immigrant student status are automatically considered non-residents for tax purposes.
      •  In these cases, the student or dependent is required to file form 8843 even if they have no taxable income
 
  • Date of entry to the U.S
    • Students or dependents who were present during 2019 would have a filing obligation depending on residency for tax purpose
    • Students who arrived in 2020 would not have a filing obligation this year but would be required to file next year.

How does Sprintax Work?

Sprintax assists non-residents for tax purposes in preparing US tax returns. The process begins with determining your residency for tax purposes, and then walks you step by step through income, deductions/credits and other important issues.

Sprintax also offers assistance with:
  • State taxes
  • ITIN
  • FICA tax refunds
  • Amended tax returns
  • Filing previous years return (up to 3 years from the current tax year)
All of these additional services are optional and the costs incurred by using these services would be your responsibility.

I will be outside the US before I can file my taxes. Do I still need to file?

You should still plan to file your taxes if you were present in the previous tax year. More information can be found by navigating to http://blog.sprintax.com/file-nonresident-tax-return-outside-usa/.

What kinds of taxes are refunded with my tax return?

Typically there are two main types of tax returns: Federal Income taxes returns and State tax returns. 
 
  • Federal tax returns
    • Most common type of return
    • Filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
    • If you received taxable income while in the US you will be required to file a federal tax return
 
  • State tax returns
    • Filed with the state government rather than the IRS.
    • Only applies to taxable income received a particular state
    • Certain states do not have state taxes

I did not file my tax returns for previous years or filed my taxes incorrectly. What should I do?

If you did not file taxes for a previous year, you are still responsible to properly file them. Your options to do so are:
  • Use the Sprintax service to assist in filing taxes for a previous year
    • This only applies to the three tax years prior to the 2019 tax year
    • As a student you would be responsible to pay any fees associated with this Sprintax service. No previous years access codes will be made available.
  If you filed you taxes for the current year or a previous year incorrectly, it is important that you complete an amended return for the tax year filed incorrectly. Your options are:
 
  • Use Sprintax assistance to complete the amended return
    • Only applies if the return is the current year or within the 3 previous years
    • As a student you would be responsible for any fees associated with this Sprintax service.
    •  
  • File the amended tax return on your own
    • This will require you to complete the form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ for the tax year that requires the amended return and complete form 1040-X
    • You would need to complete a 1040-X form for each return that needs to be amended
    • ISS cannot provide direct assistance with filing amended return.

Do I need a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) to file taxes?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors.
 
  • SSN
    • If you have on campus employment or have been employed on Curricular Practical Training (CPT), Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Academic Training you qualify for an SSN based upon employment.
    • If you are a J-1 student or the dependent of a J-1 student you may qualify for an SSN without an employment offer.
    • More SSN information is available at http://iss.tamu.edu/Current-Students/Social-Security-Number
    • If you are eligible for an SSN you do not qualify for an ITIN.
 
  • ITIN
    •  If you have taxable income that is not based on employment and are not eligible for an SSN you may qualify for an ITIN
    • If you are a dependent that is being claimed on a tax return and are not eligible for an SSN, you may qualify for an ITIN
    • See http://iss.tamu.edu/Current-Students/Taxes/ITIN for more information.
An SSN or ITIN is not required if you are only filing form 8843.


As a non-resident for tax purposes, can I file jointly with my spouse or claim dependents?

In general as a non-resident for tax purposes, you would not be eligible to file jointly or claim dependents. There are some exceptions:
 
  • If either you or your spouse is a resident for tax purposes you would be eligible to file jointly
    • If you do so both will be considered residents for tax purposes and be taxed on their worldwide income.
    • You would also be eligible to claim dependents as you would be considered a resident for tax purposes.
  • If neither you nor your spouse are a resident for tax purposes you would not be able to file jointly.
  • If you are a non-resident for tax purposes, you would only be able to claim dependents if you are permitted to do so by a tax treaty.
    • Currently only citizens of Canada, India, Mexico, and South Korea have qualifying tax treaties.

I will not be able to file my taxes by the deadline. What should I do?

If you need additional time to complete the federal tax return, you will need to file form 4868 with the IRS by no later than the tax filing deadline. This form requests an extension of the tax filing deadline.
 
  • Please keep in mind that ISS cannot directly assist in filing this form.

If you have additional tax-related questions, please contact SPINTAX at hello@sprintax.com, e-mail ISS at iss@tamu.edu, or set up an appointment with an ISS advisor by calling 979-845-1824.


You may also utilize the following additional resources: