As a nonresident F-1 international student you are required to file tax forms with the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) every year even if you did not work. The Office of Intercultural Programs (OIP) cannot help you file your taxes, and this page is meant only to be a general introduction. OIP advisors are not tax professionals, so this cannot be considered legal tax advice. You are advised to review the information from the IRS specifically addressed to foreign students and consult with a professional tax service for further guidance. It is your responsibility to meet your tax filing obligations.
If you spent even 1 day in the United States in 2020 you will need to file a tax form, even if you did not work. All students are required to file Form 8843 informing the IRS of your presence in the United States. If you worked or received a taxable scholarship you will need to file additional forms.
Your tax forms must be postmarked (mailed) no later than April 15, 2021. The taxes you file in 2021 will be based on any income earned and your presence in the United States in 2020. OIP will hold a tax workshop in March and we recommend that you attend the workshop before filing.
If you work in the United States your employer with withhold money for taxes from each paycheck throughout the year. However, the amount withheld may not be the exact amount of taxes that you owe. If your employer withheld too much money for taxes, you may be eligible for a refund. If not enough money was withheld for taxes, you will owe money to the IRS. Some scholarships are also taxed in the United States. You will not know if you are due a refund or if you owe money until you complete your tax forms.
To help make filing taxes easier, OIP provides current Northwest College international students with free access to Sprintax. Sprintax is a web-based tax preparation software specifically designed to prepare international student taxes. Sprintax provides step-by-step instructions and helps you prepare the appropriate tax forms. In the spring, OIP will give you information on how to access Sprintax and will provide you with a payment code so you can prepare your federal tax documents at no cost.
Sprintax is provided to you for your convenience and at no cost. You are not required to use Sprintax to prepare your tax return. Tax professionals and certified tax accounts can also assist you with your taxes. If you choose to hire a tax professional or use an alternative tax software make sure to verify that the tax advice you are receiving is for nonresident international students. The tax laws that apply to international students are not the same as those that apply to U.S. citizens. TurboTax, a tax software that is popular with many Americans, does not prepare nonresident tax returns.
Wyoming does not have state income tax so there is no state form to file. However, if you worked in a state that does have income tax, you will need to file a state tax return with that state. Sprintax can also assist you with preparing the state return.
Preparing your tax forms with Sprintax should only take about 30 minutes or less if you have all the necessary information with you. You will need:
W-2 form: You will receive a W-2 from every employer you worked for last year. The W-2 shows how much you earned and the amount that was withheld from your paychecks for taxes. You will only receive this form if you worked in the U.S. Employers are required to issue your W-2 by January 31st. Contact your employer if you did not receive it.
Form 1042-S: You will only receive this form if you have a scholarship that exceeds tuition and fees. This form will be issued by Northwest College no later than March 15th. If you expect to receive a 1042-S form you will need to wait to file your taxes until your 1042-S is issued.
Form 1099: (if you have one)
Social Security Number (if you have one)
Current U.S. address
Contact information for Northwest College: 231 W. Sixth Street, Powell WY 82435, Phone: 307-754-6000
U.S. entry and exit dates for current and all past visits to the United States: You can find this information under Travel History on the I-94 website.
Sprintax will generate all required tax documents based on your answers to their questions. You will need to print the forms that Sprintax generates and then review, sign, and mail them to the IRS. If other documents, such as your W-2, need to be included in the filing, Sprintax will let you know.
Please note that Sprintax does not automatically e-file your tax return. E-filing is not available for nonresidents so you must physically mail your taxes to the IRS.
Remember that you have a legal obligation to file your tax forms for each year you are in the U.S. as an international student. If you do not file it can impact your future immigration status which can include, but is not limited to: denials of future requests for a Change of Status, denials of visa renewals, fines (including interest) on unreported income, etc.
Yes. Sprintax can help you prepare your tax documents for prior years.
If you were in the U.S. as a F-1 international student or on OPT during the tax year in question, you will need to file tax forms. Sprintax can assist you in preparing your tax return but only current Northwest College students will receive the payment code.
Scammers who claim to be from the IRS may contact international students. These scammers may say that you must pay money to avoid tax penalties, or they may threaten to call the police or deport you if you do not comply. Please be cautious of any such phone calls, emails, or letters.