U.S. Tax Information
Please keep in mind that no staff member of ASU is able to provide personal assistance with the completion of tax compliance while in their official roles at ASU, including acting as tax consultants or providing tax advice related to the completion of the forms. The information provided is intended for your benefit. Any questions or concerns should be directed to Sprintax, a certified tax preparer or a local IRS field office.
If you are considered a resident for tax purposes, these free resources can assist you with completing your tax filing requirement.
Tax filing deadline:
April 15, 2021 is generally the last day for residents and nonresidents who earned U.S. income to file federal tax returns for 2020, however extensions of time may be granted. Please review the IRS guideline for further information. The IRS recently announced that they have extended the tax filing deadline to May 17. However, we encourage you to file your tax return as soon as possible.
Tax information for international students
All F-1 and J-1 students will have annual U.S. tax filing obligations while they reside within the U.S., and may owe U.S. taxes on any income they receive. These forms are generally required to be submitted by April of the following year, meaning that if you resided in the U.S. during 2020, you will have required filings due. Submission of these forms are a legal requirement, as well as a requirement to maintain your immigration status. If you owe taxes and do not file, the U.S. Internal Revenue Services (IRS) can assess penalties and interest as well as seize U.S. bank assets for repayment. Fines and penalties can often amount to more than the original tax debt. Even if you did not earn income, it is important to file the IRS 8843 form, because applicants for permanent residency are frequently asked to show proof of tax filing for previous years that they resided in the U.S.
What tax forms you need to file for the 2020 tax season
If you were physically in the U.S. in F or J status anytime between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, you are obligated to send one form, Form 8843, to the U.S. tax agency IRS, even if you had no income. Additional required will be required based on your status as a resident or nonresident for U.S. tax purposes.
Resident or nonresident for federal tax purposes
Generally, most international students and scholars who are on F, J, M or Q visas are considered nonresidents for tax purposes. International undergraduate students on J-1 and F-1 visas are automatically considered nonresidents for their first five calendar years in the U.S., while scholars/researchers on J visas are automatically considered nonresidents for two out of the last six calendar years in the U.S. If you’ve been in the U.S. for longer than the initial time period, the Substantial Presence Test is used to determine your tax residency. If you have a current Glacier account, this test is done for you based on your entries and you will be able to refer to your summary to assist you.
Please note that if you are identified as a resident for tax purposes, this does not change your immigration status. You will still be considered an international student on an F or J visa.
ASU has teamed up with Sprintax to provide you with easy-to-use tax preparation software designed for nonresident students and scholars in the U.S.
After you log in to Sprintax, it will ask you a series of questions about the time you have spent in the U.S. and on what types of visas over a period of years. Sprintax will then determine your tax status. If it determines that you are a nonresident (NRA) for federal tax purposes, you can continue to use Sprintax to respond to a series of guided questions. Sprintax will complete and generate the tax forms you need to send to the tax authorities. If it determines you are a resident for federal tax purposes, you won't be able to continue using the software. The software will direct you to other resources if you are deemed a resident for tax purposes.
In general, nonresidents are taxed only on income that is considered U.S. sourced and residents are taxed on worldwide income.
Types of income that may be included
If you were outside the U.S. but still earned income from a U.S. company, you may not have to file those earnings through your taxes. When looking at the source of income, one needs to understand how it's determined from an IRS perspective. Compensation (wages, salaries, etc.) are determined to be sourced by where the service is performed and where the person is physically present while performing the service. To determine if income earned may be considered U.S. source income, you can refer to the IRS guidance on different types of income.
Step-by-step guide on how to file your nonresident tax forms (F and J visa holders) using Sprintax
1. Gather the documents you may need for Sprintax.
Must be valid at time of filing.
Visa/immigration information, including form I-20 (F-1) or form DS-2019 (J-1)
Please use your most current I-20 or DS-2019.
Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification number (if you have one)
These are not needed if you had no income for the 2020 tax year and the Form 8843 is the only form you have to file.
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. If you were employed by ASU (not including Aramark or ASU Follett Bookstore) for any part of the 2020 tax year, you should receive a W-2 from ASU Human Resources. Your W-2 is also posted on My ASU. Please contact ASU Human Resources if you did not receive a W-2.
If you were employed by another company or an outside vendor such as Aramark or ASU Follett Bookstore, please speak to your human resources representative for your W-2.
This form is used to report:
Stipend, scholarship, fellowship income and travel grants (not tuition reduction or exemption).
Income covered by a tax treaty.
Payment for other types of services (e.g., by the semester as a note-taker).
If you received this type of income, the 1042-S will be mailed to you by March 15 by the issuer.
You may receive a 1042-S from ASU Tax Services if you received tax treaty benefits from ASU during the tax year or you had other taxable money that was not paid through payroll. These forms are posted to your Glacier account, or sent in the mail if you did not agree to receiving electronically. Please contact ASU Human Resources if you did not receive a 1042-S.
Note: Only nonresidents receive this form. If your tax status changes to a resident, you will not get a 1042-S.
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.
This form reports miscellaneous income. This can be interest on bank accounts, stocks, bonds, dividends or earnings through freelance employment. If you received this type of income, the 1099 will be mailed to you by the issuer.
If you receive this form, it is not needed and cannot be used for a nonresident tax return because NRAs are not eligible to claim education expense tax credits. Please keep this form for your records.
*Documents marked with * may not apply to all F and J visa holders. If the document does not apply to your circumstances, you will not need to include it when filing your tax return.
2. Create a Sprintax account:
ASU has arranged for individuals to use Sprintax Tax Preparation, which is a preparation software for federal tax filing. Sprintax, which also has a YouTube channel, will guide you through the tax preparation process, prepare the necessary documents and check if you are due a refund.
You may utilize the link above to access Sprintax to set up your account. Access through your ASU account will provide you a unique code to use on your Sprintax tax return. The code will be automatically added to your Sprintax account at the end of the Sprintax process. This code will cover the cost of your federal tax return. You also will have an option to purchase the required state returns at a discounted rate. ASU does not provide a code for the cost of your state tax return.
You are not required to use Sprintax for your federal or state returns. However, please note that other tax preparation software, such as TurboTax or TaxAct, does not allow individuals to file nonresident tax forms, so many international students are not able to use those programs. Only F and J visa holders that are identified to be residents for tax purposes should use tax preparation software like TurboTax or TaxAct.
If you incorrectly file your tax return as a resident, you will be required to file an amended tax return. Sprintax can assist with this process, however, you will be responsible for the amended tax filing fee.
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). This form must be physically mailed to the IRS. On page 3 of IRS Form 8843, there are general instructions on where you will mail this form. You will mail your tax forms yourself to the address indicated on page 3. Before mailing anything, make copies for your records.
With U.S. Income: Sprintax will generate your tax return documents, including form 1040NR.
4. With U.S. income only, complete your state tax return (if required)
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 Sprintax or to do the state tax return on your own. If you do not wish to use Sprintax to file your Arizona tax return, please see instructions from our VITA Community Council partner on how to complete the AZ 140 NR form.
If you transferred from another U.S. institution and/or earned income in another state, you must file a state income tax return for every state in which income was earned. Forms can be found on the website of each state’s department of revenue. You are responsible for mailing your tax forms to the Arizona Department of Revenue.
5. Read the instructions for filing/mailing your returns
Remember to read the instructions that Sprintax provides. You may be able to e-file your federal tax return directly through Sprintax this season. However, you will still need to print, sign and mail your state tax return forms to the state tax authorities. If you only need to file Form 8843, this will also need to be physically mailed to the IRS.
VITA tax filing workshop
The Tempe Community Council VITA program has arranged for trained volunteers to help international students complete and file their tax forms using Sprintax Tax Preparation, as well as answer any tax-related questions. You can use the VITA program if you meet all three of the following conditions:
If you meet the criteria above, you are eligible to attend a VITA tax filing workshop at which VITA volunteers will guide you through preparation of your federal tax return using Sprintax Tax Preparation and also assist in preparation of your Arizona state tax return.
If you did not earn any income from U.S. sources during the tax year and will be submitting only IRS form 8843, you may not need to attend a VITA tax filing workshop.
To attend and participate in the webinar, please have:
- Your immigration documents: I-20/DS-2019, passport, I-94 form.
- The Social Security number for yourself and all your dependents (if applicable)
- All tax documents you have received, including a form W-2 from all states in which income was earned, Form 1042-S, Form 1099-INT for bank account interest, other tax-related documents and your previous tax returns. (If married, you must also bring all similar documents for your spouse.)
Sprintax educational tax videos and blog
You also have access to the Sprintax YouTube account, where there are a number of educational videos on nonresident taxes to provide further clarity on the subject of using Sprintax.Sprintax YouTube account
There is also a Sprintax blog, which offers information on tax related topics.Sprintax blog
Sprintax nonresident tax webinars - 2020 tax season
Please join Sprintax for their nonresident tax webinars - 2020 tax season. The informational webinars will cover:
- An overview of taxes for nonresident students and scholars.
- Who must file a 2020 U.S. tax return.
- What income forms students and scholars may receive.
- Forms that need to be completed and sent to the IRS.
- Terms like FICA, ITIN and Form 1098-T.
- What happens if students do not file or misfile.
- State tax returns.
- IRS stimulus payments.
- Sprintax overview.
Dates and Times:
Monday, March 29
11 a.m. (Arizona time)
Tuesday, April 6
10 a.m. (Arizona time)
Tuesday, April 13
10 a.m. (Arizona time)
Tuesday, April 20
11 a.m. (Arizona time)
Wednesday, April 28
10:30 a.m. (Arizona time)
Thursday, May 6
9 a.m. (Arizona time)
Tuesday, May 11
11:00 a.m. (Arizona time)
Friday, May 14
9 a.m. (Arizona time)