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Understanding your Tax Reporting Requirements

As a reminder, your tax reporting requirements depend on your tax residency category, specifically whether you are categorized as a "Resident Alien" or a "Nonresident Alien" for tax purposes. The University's GLACIER software will make this determination for you and print this information on your Tax Summary. Additionally, the Sprintax system will validate your tax residency when preparing your forms. Your tax category can also change over time, so be sure to verify your filing status each year!

Please note that Federal tax forms (requirements below) must be filed separately from US state tax forms.

 

Nonresident Alien for tax purposes

  • You must file Form 8843, the Statement of Nonresident Status, even if you did not receive any type of US income during the calendar year.  
  • You must report all US earnings using Form 1040NR. This form will also allow you to request a refund for any tax withholdings greater than the calculated tax amount you ultimately owe.
  • Filing as a Nonresident Alien for tax purposes, be aware that you will not be eligible for common credits and deductions available to US citizens or Permanent Residents.
  • You are eligible to utilize tax resources & support through Sprintax. If you prefer to complete the form on your own, you may access the IRS website directly.

 

Resident Alien for tax purposes

  • You do NOT have to file Form 8843.
  • You must report US earnings using Form 1040, subject to a standardized threshold. If your income for the calendar year was less than that threshold, you are not required to file a tax return. However, if taxes were withheld from your payments throughout the year, you must file a tax return to calculate any refund amount and to collect this money back from the government.
  • In your FIRST YEAR when you need to count your days of presence in the US to determine your tax residency status, you could be a Nonresident Alien for part of the year and Resident Alien for the other part of the year. This status is commonly referred to as a Dual-Staus taxpayer. Under this status, you may not be eligible for most tax credits. You are also not allowed to file a joint tax return with your spouse, even if they are a US citizen or Resident Alien.
  • Filing as a Resident Alien for tax purposes, you will be eligible for the same credits and deductions as a US citizen or Permanent Resident.  However, Resident Aliens may have many tax items to consider under US tax policy, such as reporting worldwide income. Certain caveats, such as the Foreign Tax Credit and others, can be utilized to lessen the burden of US tax.
  • You are eligible to use a variety of widely available tax preparation tools in the US.

 

Document Retention Guidelines

Whether you e-file or file paper forms by mail, the law requires you to keep paper copies for at least 3 years of the tax forms you submit to the Federal government and any state government agency.  This documentation will be needed if there is any error on your tax forms, or you have a need to verify compliance with tax reporting requirements for immigration or other purposes.