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2014 Tax Filing Information (Tax Year 2013)

tax information for international students and scholars for the 2013 calendar tax year

Important: This information is provided as guidance only and is not intended to be tax advice. The staff of the OISS is NOT qualified to answer individual questions from international students/scholars regarding taxes. For those non-residents who have to file taxes, the OISS has purchased the Windstar tax preparation software to prepare federal and Massachusetts State forms.  If you have additional questions please consult the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), local and state tax agencies and tax professionals for advice and guidance regarding their individual tax situations.

Since we have a very limited number of Windstar passwords please read the information below very carefully to determine if you need to request access to Windstar.

Step 1: Determine if you are a resident or non-resident for Federal Tax purposes for the 2013 tax year.

F-1 and J-1 Students: Have you been in the U.S. for any part of five calendar years or less (not including 2014)? 

Example-Student who begins study in 2009:
(1) Sep-Dec 2009- non-resident
(2) 2010-non-resident
(3) 2011- non-resident
(4) 2012-non-resident
(5) 2013-non-resident 
= non-resident for tax purposes in 2014 because 5 years or less  

  • If YES: You are considered a non-resident; proceed to step 2.
  •  If NO: You are subject to something called a “Substantial Presence Test" and most likely are considered resident alien for tax purposes and are NOT eligible for Windstar Tax Preparation Software. Please see additional resources section for assistance. 
  •  NOT SURE: See the additional resources section below and if you are still confused contact Diane Cronin in BC Human Resources Service Center at 617 552 4772, diane.cronin@bc.edu or visit the office on the Brighton Campus at 129 Lake St.

 

J-1 Scholars and Researchers: Have you been in the U.S. any part of  two years or less as an exempt (non resdient for tax purposes) individual (such as J-1 scholar or F-1 student) out of the preceding six calendar years? (For example, if you started at BC in September, even though you were only in the U.S. for 4 months, it will still count as a year towards your 2 years).

Example- Scholar:
(1) Visiting scholar Aug 2009- Oct 2009 (counted because it was in the last 6 years).
(2) Aug- Dec 2013 non-resident
= non-resident for tax purposes

  • If YES: You are considered a non-resident; proceed to step 2.
  • If NO: You are subject to something called a “substantial presence” test and most likely are considered resident alien for tax purposes and are NOT eligible for Windstar. Please see additional resources section for assistance. 
  • NOT SURE: See the additional resources section and if you are still confused contact Diane Cronin in BC Human Resources Service Center at 617 552 4772 diane.cronin@bc.edu or visit the office on the Brighton Campus at 129 Lake St.

 

Step 2: Complete Form 8843 - This is required For All Non-Residents (see above) even if you have not received income in the U.S.

All NON-resident international students are required by law to complete form 8843, even if you did NOT earn income in the U.S. Please see OISS instructions for the 8843 for help completing the form. (Note: Students and scholars who were paid by BC will be receiving a pre-printed 8843 from BC Human Resources.) You will NOT need Windstar Tax Preparation software to complete this form if this is the only form that you will complete.

 

 

Step 3: Determine if you will need to file Federal Taxes (This information applies to non-residents only)

In addition to Form 8843, you are required to file a tax return if you have received the following:

  • I have received a scholarship or non-service stipend in 2013  above and beyond tuition remission (to cover living expenses etc.) or a fellowship grant from a U.S. source that exceeded the amount of my tuition and fees. This information is located on the 1042-S form (see information below about the 1042-S form)*
    • If YES, you WILL need to file federal taxes-proceed to step 4. Important: You will need to wait to file your taxes until you have received form 1042-S (however you can still ask for the Windstar password now).
    • If NO, read next paragraph.
  • I have EARNED more than $3,900 in INCOME in the U.S. IN 2013. Income is any U.S. job, on-campus or off campus, including a teaching assistantship or a research assistantship. This information is located on a Form W-2 and the 1042-S form if you have a tax treaty. (See information below about the W-2 and 1042-S form)*
    • If YES you WILL need to file federal taxes (including those with tax treaties who earned more than $3,900: Proceed to step 4
    • If NO to questions 1 and 2  STOP -you are NOT required to file taxes. You are only required to fill out and you are done! You will NOT need a Windstar password.  Note: If you earned less than $3,900 and had federal taxes withheld, you may still file- you may be eligble for a refund using WINDSTAR.

Note: If you only received U.S. bank interest in 2013 and no other income you do not have to file federal taxes). 

*1042-S Form: This form is issued to you if you have worked on campus AND it was covered under a tax treaty between your home country and the U.S. You will also receive the form if you recieved a tuition scholarship or non-service stipend in 2013.  For all students living off campus, the 1042-S form was  mailed to you from the BC Human Resources Service Center in the middle of February  along with the 8843 form (see above). All students living on campus should receive an email to pick up your forms at 129 Lake Street on the Brighton Campus. 

* W-2 Form:  The W-2 form is issued if you have worked in the U.S. The deadline for your employer to send your W-2 form to you is January 31, 2014. Note:  Those who signed a tax treaty will only receive a W-2 if you made over the treaty allowance. Otherwise, you will receive the 1042-S only. 

If you have any questions about the information on your W-2 or 1042-S form or if you have not received these forms by the date indicated, please contact BC Human Resources Service Center at 617 552 4772 or visit 129 Lake St. on the Brighton Campus. Your Boston College W-2 can also be accessed online at https://w2.adp.com.  If you have worked off-campus you should contact your specific employer.

 

 

Step 4:  Based on the information above, I WILL need to complete the 1040NR-EZ or 1040NR as a NON-resident by April 15, 2014.

**Please note that only the federal return is currently available in the software. The Massachusetts State return will be availble in early April**

If you meet the above criteria and will need to file taxes as a NON-resident you will be eligible to use the Windstar Tax Preparation Program to file your federal and Massachusetts State taxes.  Note: Free software programs such as Turbo Tax are for residents only work for those considered residents for tax purposes.

As of 4/14/2014 Windstar is no longer available since the number of licenses have been used.  For more resources, please scroll down to the bottom of this page or please email bcis@bc.edu.

We are only able to offer this service to a limited number of people on a first come first serve basis. Since numbers are very limited, please DO NOT register for Windstar unless you have read through the steps outlined above and meet the criteria. Once you claim a license we cannot give the number to anyone else even if you do not use it. 

To register to use the software please click here. You will be prompted to login with your BC User ID and Password. You will then be given a registration code and the link to the website that contains the Windstar Software. You will create your own username and password on this page that you will use to login to the software from then on. If you created a username and password last year, you will be able to use the same password using the new registration code. Keep your username and password in a safe place.  If you lose your password you can request a new one through the Windstar login site. If you lose your username please contact the OISS and do NOT request a new account.

If you used the software last year:

  • You will use the same username and password again this year. You will simply need to reactivate your login. You can do this by going to the registration page here to receive your new access code. Then follow the link on this page to the tax software webpage. On the right hand side you will see "Did your access code change? Click here to reactivate your account." Click on the link and input your old username and password as well as your new access code. Submit this form. Then you should be able to go back to the tax software homepage and use your old login information.
  • If you used the software last year but have forgotten your username or password, please follow the "forgot username or password" steps from the tax software homepage. After you have retrieved this information, use it to reactivate your account as described in the preceding paragraph.

To access the site in the future: You MUST access the software using this link.  After you are on the Windstar site, click the registration link on the right half of the screen. Then use the registration code that you were given in order to register.

For more information or technical help please e-mail us.

 

Additional Resources:

U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Boston Office: The IRS office in Boston has walk-in help available Monday through Friday, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. The Boston Office is located on the 7th floor of the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Federal Building in Government Center, 15 New Sudbury St. Boston MA.  Phone is 617 316-2850 (only a recording is available).

U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS): You can telephone the IRS national help line at (800) 829-1040. You can also visit their web site at http://www.irs.gov .

IRS VITA Program (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance): There are locations near BC which provide free tax help to those making less than $52,000 in 2013.  There are some locations which offer help in a few other languages such as Spanish and Chinese. If you are considered a non-resident for tax purposes, please call ahead to ensure that there is someone available who can help you with non-resident taxes. To find a location and more informaiton visit the IRS VITA locator page.

Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR): You can telephone the DOR statewide help line at (800) 392-6089 or call the Boston office at 617 887 6367. You can also visit their Web site at http://www.dor.state.ma.us/.

For Massachusetts STATE taxes, international students are most likely considered a resident. Massachusetts does have a FREE user friendly e-filing system https://wfb.dor.state.ma.us/income/Default.aspx   The webpage has a few questions to check your eligiblity for using the program before you create a login. You are generally only required to fill out state forms if you had an income greater than $8000, however everyone who received a W-2 form and had Massachusetts tax withheld on the W-2 form can file to get money back.

Note: If you decide to contact your own tax accountant or attorney or a tax provider such as H&R Block, make sure that they specialize specifically in taxes for non-residents if you are a non-resident. Free online programs such as Turbo Tax do NOT work for non-residents.

 

For Students and Scholars who are considered residents for tax purposes and are not eligible for Windstar:

In additional to the resources listed above, there are many free online programs available for those students and scholars who are considered residents for tax purposes such as Turbo Tax, H&R Block and many more. They will generally be free if you manually enter the information on your W-2 form and file your state taxes separately (see information below on free e-file for Massachusetts state tax filing.

For Massachusetts STATE taxes, international students are most likely considered a resident. Massachusetts does have a FREE user friendly e-filing system https://wfb.dor.state.ma.us/income/Default.aspx   The webpage has a few questions to check your eligiblity for using the program before you create a login. You are generally only required to fill out state forms if you had an income greater than $8000, however everyone who received a W-2 form and had Massachusetts tax withheld on the W-2 form can file to get money back.