For International Students in F-1 Status (Spring 2021)
The Office of International Student Affairs (OISA) has prepared the following information for Emerson College international students as a courtesy service. Information presented is not intended to be, nor should it be construed as, legal and/or tax advice.
Tax advising is a complex area of U.S. law separate from the College’s immigration compliance functions. As such, the Office of International Student Affairs (OISA) is not authorized to provide any type of advising on individual international tax questions.
International students may follow Sprintax instructions to prepare federal forms online. If you have questions, you may also consult the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), local and state tax agencies, and tax professionals for advice and guidance regarding individual tax situations. While Emerson College has arranged for the services of Sprintax as a support service, it is your responsibility to meet all U.S. tax filing obligations and you may choose how you wish to complete and submit your tax forms.
Tax Filing Information for the 2020 tax year
U.S. federal and state tax filing requirements can be difficult to understand. The following information is provided to clarify the process of preparing your 2020 tax year returns.
All international students in F-1 status (as well as dependents in F-2 status) who were physically in the U.S. between January 1 and December 31 of a given year must submit some type of federal tax form the following year. International students in other immigration classifications may also need to submit a tax form depending on the length of time you have been in the U.S., the type and amount of income you received, and other factors.
Filing a tax form allows you to outline the amount and type of income you earned, specify the amount of taxes you have paid, and determine whether you owe taxes to the government or whether you will receive a tax reimbursement.
The filing deadline for each year is April 15 unless that date falls on a weekend or holiday. This year’s deadline to file most U.S. tax forms is Thursday, April 15, 2021.
Sprintax Tax Preparation System
Emerson OISA has purchased licenses for Sprintax, a web-based tax return preparation system designed exclusively for non-residents for tax purposes to help international students to determine “tax residence” status for tax purposes. If you qualify to file your tax forms as a nonresident, it is very likely that Sprintax will be able to help you prepare your tax forms.
OISA will distribute a unique code for the 2020 tax season via email that will enable you to create a login for Sprintax. Using the code will cover the cost of Sprintax for your U.S. federal tax forms. If you have earned income in the US, you will also be offered an option to use Sprintax to complete state nonresident tax forms for a small fee. Follow the Sprintax Step-by-Step guide for specific instructions. Please contact OISA if you have not received the 2020 Sprintax Emerson discount code via email.
General Information about Tax Filing for International Students
For general information about filing a tax return as an international student see the following Internal Revenue Service (IRS) resources:
- IRS Publication 4011 Foreign Student and Scholar Resource Guide
- IRS Publication 519 U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens
- IRS Publication 901 U.S. Tax Treaties
You may pick up printed copies of tax forms and publications at the Boston Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office, or any public library, including the Boston Public Library located at 700 Boylston Street, Boston MA 02116.
Most forms are also available online as follows:
- Federal: U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- Massachusetts Department of Revenue
- California Franchise Tax Board
- Other states
We hope you find this resource helpful to assist you in meeting your tax filing responsibilities.