Taxes

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has announced that it will begin accepting tax return filings for income earned in 2020 on February 12, 2021.

The Center for International Services specializes in immigration matters, not taxes. If you require additional information or have specific questions about taxes, please direct your inquiries to an international tax professional or call the IRS International Customer Service at (267) 941-1000.

Everybody in F or J status has a tax filing requirement.  If you were physically present in the U.S. in F or J status anytime between Jan. 1, and Dec. 31, 2020, you are required to send a Form 8843 to the Internal Revenue Service (the U.S. tax agency), even if you had no income. Completion of Form 8843 is relatively simple and you do NOT need to use a tax preparation software program to complete it. You should be able to complete Form 8843 on your own and mail it to the IRS.

Who has to complete Form 8843?

ALL non-resident aliens must fill out Form 8843 even if you did NOT earn any income, if they were:

    • In the US during 2020.
    • In F, M, J, or Q status (including dependent statuses-  F-2, J-2, etc.)

Ho do I learn more about completing the Form 8843?

  • You may find this  Tutorial  from the IRS helpful in completing your Form 8843

Mailing Form 8843:

  • Mail Form 8843 to the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service Center, Austin, TX 73301-0215.

Item 9: Academic Institution Information:

When asked to provide the Name, Address, and Telephone number of the academic institution that you attended during the 2020 academic year, please enter:

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY 13244

315-443-1870

Item 10: Academic Program Information:

When asked to provide the Name, Address, and Telephone number of the Director of your academic program, you should list the dean of the school/college in which you are currently studying. Please refer to the list below:

School of Architecture
Michael A. Speaks, Dean
204 Slocum Hall
Syracuse, NY 13244
(315) 443-0790

The College of Arts and Sciences
Karin Ruhlandt, Dean
300 Hall of Languages
Syracuse, NY 13244
(315) 443-3940

School of Education
Joanna O Masingila, Dean
230 Huntington Hall
Syracuse, NY 13244
(315) 443-4752

L.C. Smith College of Engineering & Computer Science
J. Cole Smith, Dean
223 Link Hall
Syracuse, NY 13244
(315) 443-4341

David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics
Diane Lyden Murphy, Dean
440 White Hall
Syracuse, NY 13244
(315) 443-5582

School of Information Studies
Rajiv Dewan, Dean
343 Hinds Hall
Syracuse, NY 13244
(315) 443-2736

College of Law
Craig M. Boise, Dean
440 College of Law
Syracuse, NY 13244
(315) 443-9580

Whitman School of Management
Eugene Anderson, Dean
Whitman SOM, Suite 415
Syracuse, NY 13244
(315) 443-3751

Maxwell School of Citizenship
and Public Affairs
David M. Van Slyke, Dean
200 Eggers Hall
Syracuse, NY 13244
(315) 443-2252

S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
Mark J. Lodato, Dean
400 Newhouse 1
Syracuse, NY 13244
(315) 443-1909

College of Visual and Performing Arts
Michael S. Tick, Dean
200 Crouse College
Syracuse, NY 13244
(315) 443-5889

  • If you had income (salary, stipend, prize money, etc.) during the 2020 tax year (January 1-December 31, 2020) you are also required to file a tax return (Form 1040 NR) to reconcile your accounts with the IRS.  Filing a tax return is how you will receive a refund of any taxes withheld above the amount you owe or determine if you owe any additional taxes.
  • There is no minimum dollar amount of income that triggers a filing requirement for a nonresident alien, including a foreign student or a foreign scholar.
  • Income that is not taxable because of an income tax treaty must be reported on a U.S. income tax return even though no income tax is due on the U.S. income tax return.
  • An income tax return (Form 1040 NR) is NOT required to be filed by nonresident alien students and scholars who have income ONLY from:  foreign sources (family funds, home country scholarship, etc.); interest income (from a U.S. bank, U.S. savings & loan institution, U.S. credit union, U.S. insurance company; an investment that generates portfolio interest; a scholarship or fellowship grant that covers tuition only.  However, these individuals must file a Form 8843 .

NOTE:  In general, most (but not all, you must determine your resident vs. non-resident filing status) F-1 and J-1 students and scholars who are non-residents for tax purposes and cannot use tax software programs designed for residents for tax purposes.   

  • The Center for International Services has purchased access to an online tax preparation software program called Sprintax to make your U.S. tax filing obligation easier for you. Sprintax will guide you through the tax filing process through a series of questions about your situation.  It will assist you in filing your federal tax return electronically.  If you use Sprintax to file your state tax returns, you will need to print them out and mail them.
  • Sprintax will help you determine if you are a nonresident for tax purposes.  If you are a nonresident for tax purposes, Sprintax will prepare your federal tax forms for free by using the ACCESS CODE that will be provided in an email sent to all students registered in 2020 and students with approved OPT and STEM OPT.   Look for an email from international@syr.edu with the subject line Sprintax Preparation Software Program to be sent in mid February, 2021.  Additional services for state tax filings will be available to you for a fee ($25.95 per state return) paid directly to Sprintax.

Students who are determined to be residents for tax purposes CANNOT use Sprintax and will be referred to another preparation program.

Filing deadlines

  • If you earned income and received a Form W-2 reporting wages and had federal taxes withheld from your pay, Thursday, April 15, 2021 is the deadline to submit your U.S. income tax return to the IRS.
  • If you did not receive a Form W-2 but only a Form 1042-S, June 15, 2021 is the deadline to submit your U.S. income tax return to the IRS.

What documents do you need?

  1. Your passport
  2. Your I-20 or DS-2019
  3. Your Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN); if you do not have an SSN or ITIN, you will need to apply for one.
    • An ITIN may be applied for at the same time as filing your tax return. You should follow the instructions in Sprintax and make an appointment at the Taxpayer Assistance Center (in downtown Syracuse) to have your immigration documents authenticated so that you do not have to mail your original passport to the IRS.
    •  A Social Security Number may be applied for only if you are currently working.
  4. Your U.S. entry and exit dates for current and all past visits to the U.S.- you need to refer to the exit and entry stamps in your passport; a print out of the travel history page of your I-94 may be helpful
  5. If you received wages, the W-2 form(s) you received from your employer(s); if you received wages from Syracuse University, see your MySlice record for the W-2 form.
  1. If you received a scholarship or fellowship grant in excess of tuition, claimed tax treaty benefits, or received other non-payroll payments, the 1042-S form you received from the payor;  if you received such payments from Syracuse University, your 1042-S form should be mailed to you through the U.S. Postal Service or uploaded to the FNIS website by March 15th.
  2. If you are using Sprintax to complete a state tax return, a copy of your already completed federal tax return.

  1. Access Sprintax
  2. Create a Sprintax account
  3. Complete the questionnaire
  4. Use the access code you will receive in an email from international@syr.edu on or around February 15, 2021 when requested at the payment stage
  5. Sprintax will prepare your tax return and determine if you are owed a refund or owe more in taxes
  6. Sprintax will allow you to file your federal tax return (Form 1040NR) electronically.  The deadline for filing is April 15, 2021.  State tax returns will likely need to be printed out, signed and mailed.  It will depend on the state.
  7. If you are due a refund, you will be able to indicate whether you want it deposited electronically into your bank account or if you want a paper check mailed to you.  If you owe money, you will need to pay it at the time you file your tax return.
  8. Mail your state tax documents (and if necessary, payment of additional taxes) to the address instructed by Sprintax by April 15, 2021

For Further Assistance

Free Sprintax Tax Webinars for Non Resident Students and Scholars

The informational webinars will cover:

  • An overview of tax for nonresident students and scholars
  • Who must file a 2020 US tax return
  • What income forms students/scholars may receive
  • Forms that need to be completed and sent to the IRS
  • We cover terms like FICA, ITIN and Form 1098-T
  • What happens if students don’t file, or misfile
  • State tax returns
  • IRS stimulus payments
  • Sprintax overview

Dates of the webinars and registration:

Determine whether you are a resident or non-resident for tax purposes.

If I am a non-resident for tax purposes:

I earned income in 2020

If you earned a scholarship or held a fellowship with a stipend in 2020, Or if you claimed benefits of a tax treaty on wages or any other type of payment, Or if tax was withheld from a non-payroll payment received in 2020, you will receive form 1042-S to use to prepare your tax return. Syracuse University will mail this to you or it will be uploaded to the FNIS website by March 15, 2021. If you are unsure if you need to wait for form 1042-S to prepare your tax return please contact the Payroll Office at nratax@syr.edu.

I did NOT earn income in 2020

File your taxes by the deadline - April 15, 2021

Tax Preparation Resources