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2020 Tax Filing Information (Tax Year 2019)

Tax deadline for federal & state have been extended until July 15, 2020.

OISS staff are not trained tax specialists and cannot provide individual advice on taxes. Instead, we have purchased a limited number of Sprintax access codes to assist students and scholars in filing their federal taxes. Sprintax is a software program specifically for NON-Residents for tax purposes who have earned U.S. sourced income in 2019. Please read the information below to determine if you qualify for Sprintax before requesting access. We have limited access codes, so numbers are offered on a first come, first served basis. You should read all of the information below to determine your residency status and tax responsibilities based on your own personal situation. Additional options are also listed below to assist you in filing state taxes.

IMPORTANT SCAM ALERT! The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will NEVER call you! There are many scams targeting international students and scholars to steal money from them or to obtain their Social Security Numbers. For more information visit the BC security page and the IRS website

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The forms you are required to file are determined by your tax residency status in 2019, as either a "non-resident" or "resident" for tax purposes, as well as whether or not you earned U.S. based income in 2019. Please read the information below to determine if you are a non-resident for tax purposes and for more information about U.S. sourced income. 

Tax deadline has been extended until July 15, 2020

 

I did NOT earn U.S. based income in 2019 and I am a Non-Resident for Tax Purposes: Complete the 8843 form by July 15, 2020The 8843 form is the ONLY form you must complete. It is an informational statement required by the IRS to confirm you were in the U.S. as a Non-Resident Alien in 2019. Please use the OISS instructions for filling out and mailing the 8843 for help completing the form. Please do NOT request Sprintax access to complete this form.

Note: Even though you do not have to file a full tax return, you will still receive tax forms from your bank, health insurance company, or Boston College. Keep these documents for your records. 

 

I DID earn U.S. based income: Complete and Mail Federal and State Tax Return Documents by July 15, 2020You need to file federal and/or state income tax returns if you received any U.S. sourced income in 2019. Filing tax forms will allow you to determine if you paid too much tax (and are owed a refund from the U.S. government) or too little tax (and must pay additional tax). You must file tax paperwork even if you are a beneficiary of a tax treaty.

If you are a non-resident for tax purposes, you will be able to use the Sprintax software program to generate a tax form to mail to the government. Non-residents must MAIL their completed forms and cannot submit them electronically.

If you are a resident for tax purposes, there are many online resources and other free assistance programs available. Please see the Additional Resources section below. 

 

 

"Residency for tax purposes" is NOT based on visa category alone, rather it is based on length of time spent within the U.S. The Sprintax software available through OISS is specifically for filing federal taxes for those who are "non-residents for tax purposes". Some international students or scholars may be considered "residents for tax purposes". 

Determining Tax Residency

F-1 and J-1 Students:

Have you been in the U.S. for any part of five calendar years or less (not including 2020)? 

  • If yes, you are considered a "non-resident" for tax purposes.
  • If no, you are considered a "resident" for tax purposes. You will NOT be able to use Sprintax. Please see the list of 'Additional Resources' below for other programs you can use to complete your taxes.
  • Not sure? Sprintax will ask a series to help determine your status. If Sprintax determines you are a "resident", please stop using the program and see the 'Additional Resources' listed below.

J-1 Scholars and J-1 Researchers:

Have you been in the U.S. for any part of two years or less as an exempt individual during the previous six years?

  • If yes, you are considered a "non-resident" for tax purposes.
  • If no, you are most likely considered a "resident" for tax purposes. You will NOT be able to use Sprintax. Please see the list of 'Additional Resources' below for other programs you can use to complete your taxes.
  • Not sure? Sprintax will ask a series to help determine your status. If Sprintax determines you are a "resident", please stop using the program and see the 'Additional Resources' listed below.

 

 

"Income" for tax purposes refers to any money you received from a U.S. source, including wages, stipends, fellowships, scholarships, etc.

Using Sprintax

OISS has made a limited number of access codes for Sprintax available to international students and scholars. Your access codes will allow you to complete Federal tax documents for free, but does not cover free filing for state taxes.

Sprintax will generate your completed Federal tax return documents, a 1040NR-EZ or the 1040NR depending on your personal situation, along with the 8843. Sprintax software will also determine if you need to file Massachusetts state taxes and will prepare state forms for an additional fee. The Massachusetts Department of Revenue wesite lists many free filing options for your Massachusetts state taxes, if you choose not to use Sprintax for your state forms.

After you log in to Sprintax, it will ask you a series of questions about the the time you have spent in the United States and in which immigration status, looking back over a period of years. Sprintax will then determine your tax status. If it determines that you are a "non-resident alien" (NRA) for federal tax purposes, you can continue to use it to respond to a series of guided questions. Sprintax will complete and generate the forms you need to print, sign, and mail to the Internal Revenue Service.

If Sprintax determines you are a resident alien for federal tax purposes, you won't be able to continue using it. Please see the Additional Resources list below for other services you can use to file your Federal taxes.

 

To use Sprintax, please click here

 

Click here to view a variety of Sprintax-supplied informational videos about the software.

If you're having issues using Sprintax, the best way to reach their customer support services is through the “Meet Stacy” functionality in the software. 

 

Federal Taxes and State Taxes are filed seperately. If you are a "non-resident" who must file a tax return, Sprintax will determine if you also need to file state tax forms. Your Sprintax license from OISS allows you to file federal taxes for free. It does not include state taxes. Sprintax will give you the option of paying $35 to complete your state tax forms. The state of Massachusetts also provides a free tool to file Massachusetts state taxes. Free filing options for Massachusetts state taxes are listed on the Department of Revenue website:

https://www.mass.gov/service-details/e-file-your-personal-income-taxes-for-free

 

If you are a "resident", you can use the programs listed below under Additional Resources to file your state tax forms.

 

Note: If you earned income in any other U.S. state, you may also need to file a state tax return for that state. Consult the state website to see if there is a free filing service.

 

 

 

 

Different forms may be sent to you by your U.S. bank, your health insurance company, your employer, or Boston College at different times. Keep any tax forms you receive for your records. Some common documents international students or scholars will need or receive are listed here. Depending on your personal situation, you may receive other documents not listed below.

Documents You May Receive: 

  • W-2 Form: Mailed to you from your employer at end of January if you worked in the U.S. Those who signed a tax treaty will only receive a W-2 from Boston College if you earned more than the tax treaty allowance. Otherwise you will only receive a 1042-S form. 
  • 1042-S Form: Issued to you in mid-March. You may receive a 1042-S if you worked on campus AND your work was covered under a tax treaty between your home country and the U.S. You may receive a 1042-S if you have a non-service stipend or an athlectic scholarship above and beyond tuition. The 1042-S will be mailed to you if you live off-campus. Students living on campus should recieve an email to pick up forms at Human Resources (129 Lake St. on Brighton Campus). 
  • 1095 form: Mailed to you by you health insurance company at end of January. This form reports which months an individual was covered by health insurance. If you did not received this form contact your health insurance company. 
  • 1099HC form: State of MA health issurance form proving health insurance mailed at the end of January
  • 1099INT form: You will receive this from your U.S. bank if you have an interest earning account at the end of January

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, email hrsc@bc.edu ,or visit the HRSC at 129 Lake St. on the Brighton Campus.  If you have worked off-campus you should contact your specific employer.

If you determine you must file a complete tax return, the deadline to postmark your application is Wednesday, April 15, 2020.

If you determine the only form you must file is the 8843, then the deadline to postmark the application is Monday, June 15, 2020.

What is a postmark? A postmark is a postal marking made on a letter indicating the date and time that the item is sent from the post office. If you are sending your documents close to the due date, we recommend getting a postmark from the Post Office to show that you mailed your documents on time. 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: 

U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS): You can call the IRS free 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 in Brighton and Allston which provide free tax help to those making less than $55,000.  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 information visit the IRS VITA locator page.

U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Boston Office: The IRS office in Boston has appointments 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.  Appointments can be made calling (844) 545 5640. It is recommended that you use all online resources, the IRS help line listed below AND the IRS VITA program before making an appointment with the Boston Office.

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/. Free filing options for Massachusetts state taxes are available at https://www.mass.gov/service-details/e-file-your-personal-income-taxes-for-free

Additional Resources for Residents not eligible to use Sprintax: 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. They will likely charge for the State Return, so if you do not want to pay, Massachusetts has a free  e-filing system.

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. 

Publications:

IRS Foreign Student and Scholar Resource Guide: This IRS guide for International Students and Scholars. 

U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens

U.S. Tax Treaties

Witholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens