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For the current 2020 U.S. tax filing season (2019 tax year), Cranwell International Center, in coordination with International Graduate Student Services, International Support Services, and the Controller’s Office, is pleased to provide current international students and scholars at Virginia Tech with access to the Sprintax online tax software to assist you with your tax filing obligations. 

In order to receive an access code to use the tax software, you must first complete the Request for International Tax Software Access Form codes will only be sent out once a week on Friday afternoons. Please note that you must provide your VT email address.  If you do not receive your code by Friday at 5:00 pm, please email us at international@vt.edu rather than filling out the form again.  

Please keep in mind that faculty and staff in Cranwell International CenterInternational Graduate Student Services, and International Support Services are not tax experts and are not able to give tax advice. Be sure to review the detailed information on this webpage to help you better understand your tax obligation and how to submit the required tax forms. 

DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this page is intended as general information and should not be considered legal tax advice. Individuals should consider consulting a professional tax advisor of their choosing for an assessment of their individual situation.

The IRS is the U.S. government agency that collects taxes. As a nonresident F-1 or J-1 student, you may need to file forms each year with the IRS, even if you earned no income. It is your individual responsibility to understand and meet your tax obligations. U.S. tax laws can be complex and confusing and the laws that apply to internationals are not the same as those that apply to U.S. citizens. 

Resident versus Nonresident

In legal terms, noncitizens of the U.S. are called "aliens." There are three types of aliens for tax purposes: (1) nonresident; (2) dual-status; and (3) resident. These categories are for tax purposes only and are not related to your immigration status. You may be in F-1 or J-1 nonimmigrant status and considered a resident for tax purposes.

Foreign nationals in a nonresident tax status cannot file Federal tax returns electronically (i.e. e-file; TurboTax, H&R Block; TaxSlayer, etc.). Instead, you are required to file a paper return. Dependents of F and J visa holders in a nonresident tax status must file Form 8843, if they were in the US in 2019.

 

Substantial Presence

Non-Resident aliens generally meet the Substantial Presence Test (days of presence in the U.S.) if they have spent more than 183 days in the U.S. within the last three years and are NOT an exempt individual. Having substantial presence in the U.S. generally means you will be considered a resident alien for tax purposes.

 

Exempt Individual

This includes any person who is temporarily exempt from the substantial presence test. Time spent in this category does not count toward the 183 days in the U.S. that normally will convert a non-resident alien into resident alien for tax purposes. F-1 and J-1 students maintaining status are exempt from the substantial presence test for 5 years. J-1 scholars are exempt from the substantial presence test only if they have been in the U.S. no more than 2 out of the last 6 years.

Even if you pass the substantial presence test, you might still be considered a nonresident for tax purposes if you qualify for The Closer Connection Exception to the Substantial Presence Test for Foreign Students. Form 8843 will need to be submitted to the IRS with your federal tax return if you are in a U.S. residence tax status under the Substantial Presence Test

  • Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement: W-2 forms are mailed to current and former employees. This form shows how much you earned last year and how much was taken out for taxes. You will only receive this form if you have been employed. This can also be accessed through HokieSpa if Virginia Tech was your employer. If you had more than 1 employer in 2018 you will receive multiple W-2s.
  • Passport
  • I-20 (F-1 status) or DS-2019 (J-1 status)
  • Social Security number OR Individual Tax Identification number (generally not required if you will file only Form 8843)
  • Address information (current U.S. address and foreign address)
  • U.S. entry and exit dates (for current and past visits to U.S.)
  • Academic institution or host sponsor information (name, address, phone)
  • Scholarship/fellowship grant letter (if applicable)
  • A copy of last year's federal income tax return (if filed)
  • Form 1042-S (if applicable): The 1042-S form will only be given to nonresident alien students who have received scholarship or fellowship money that exceeds tuition and related fee charges. You will not receive a copy of the 1042-S form if you only have a tuition waiver on your account and do not receive any checks. If you expect to receive a 1042-S form, wait until it is issued before filing your tax return. You should receive this by mail before March 15th.
  • Form 1099 (if applicable): The 1099 form documents miscellaneous income. For example, if you had CPT authorization to work as an independent contractor, rather than as an employee of an organization, you might receive Form 1099 instead of Form W-2 to document your earnings.

If you did not receive an income from a U.S. source in 2019 and you are a nonresident alien, you must file Form 8843 (Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition) and mail it to the address below by June 15, 2020:

Department of the Treasury

Internal Revenue Service Center

Austin, TX 73301-0215

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I file online? Filing online is not an option at this time. 
  • What if I forgot to file my Form 8843 in a previous year? Complying with U.S. tax law is a part of maintaining your immigration status. You should file the previous year's Form 8843 as soon as possible.

If you did receive wages or taxable scholarships from a U.S. source in 2019 and you are a nonresident alien, you must file the following forms:

1. Form 1040NRU.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return

This form should be mailed to one of the following addresses by July 15, 2020:

FOR REFUND RETURNS (you are not enclosing a payment):

Department of the Treasury

Internal Revenue Service

Austin, TX 73301-0215

FOR TAX DUE RETURNS (you are enclosing a payment):

Internal Revenue Service

P.O. Box 1303

Charlotte, NC 28201-1303

* Do not use Forms 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ.  

2. Form 760: Virginia Resident Individual Income Tax Return

This form should be mailed to one of the following addressed by May 1, 2020:

FOR REFUND RETURNS (you are not enclosing a payment):

Virginia Department of Taxation

P.O. Box 1498

Richmond, VA 23218-1498

FOR TAX DUE RETURNS (you are enclosing a payment):

Virginia Department of Taxation

P.O. Box 760

Richmond, VA 23218-0760

3. Form 8843: Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition 

This form should be submitted along with your Federal tax return by June 15, 2020.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I file online? Filing online is not an option at this time. 
  • What if I forgot to file my Form 8843 in a previous year? Complying with U.S. tax law is a part of maintaining your immigration status. You should file the previous year's Form 8843 as soon as possible.

IMPORTANT UDPDATE (April 2, 2020): The Commissioner of Revenue's Office in Christiansburg, VA has notified VT that due to COVID-19 they will not be available to assist with Virginia tax returns until further notice. Please be aware that offices usually open may have limited access due to COVID-19 restrictions.

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The Commissioner of the Revenue office in Christiansburg, VA is open to assist taxpayers with completing their Virginia state tax returns. If you need assistance with this, you can visit their office Monday - Friday from 9:00 - 11:30 AM and 1:30 - 3:30 PM. They are located at: 

 

Montgomery County Government Center

755 Roanoke Street, Suite 1A

Christiansburg, VA 24073

 

Phone: +1.540.382.5710

Email: royalhp@montgomerycountyva.gov

Web: https://www.montgomerycountyva.gov/Elected-Officials/commissioner-of-the-revenue-intro/commissioner-of-the-revenue

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that any foreign national claiming tax treaty benefits on wages or salary earned in the United States file a Form 8233 each year they wish to claim the tax treaty.  The Payroll Office is now preparing 2020 tax treaty documents.

In order to claim this exemption you need to go to the Payroll Office, North End Center, 300 Turner Street NW, Suite 3300 between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm to complete the appropriate forms.  There is no deadline for completing the forms.  Tax treaty benefits will begin in 2020 with the first payroll processed after the form has been signed.

Bring a copy of this information and your original passport, visa, I-94 card, I-20 or DS-2019 document and Social Security card, with you when you go to the Payroll Office.  If you do not bring these original documents they will not be able to complete the tax treaty documents for you.

PLEASE NOTE:

If your country of tax residency is not on the tax treaty list you will not be eligible for tax treaty benefits.  Students from India do not have any tax treaty forms to complete

Please reference the PDFs below for detailed tax treaty information.

If you have any questions, please contact Janet Kunz, International Tax Specialist, at 231-3754 or by email at jakunz@vt.edu.

 

*
2019 Scholarship Tax Treaties.pdf
*
2019 Student Tax Treaties.pdf

If you are not a current international student or scholar, please be sure to choose a software specifically for Non-Resident Tax Preparation when filing. A few examples of available software include:

You are also able to file your taxes without any software by downloading the necessary forms and instructions directly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website

You may be eligible to receive a payment if you meet all of the following qualifications:

  • Are a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or qualifying resident alien;
  • Cannot be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return;
  • Have a Social Security number (SSN) that is valid for employment (valid SSN); and
    • Exception: If either spouse is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the taxable year, then only one spouse needs to have a valid SSN
  • Have adjusted gross income below an amount based on your filing status and the number of your qualifying children.

 

Additional information can be found on the following IRS.gov websites: