All international students and each of their dependents in the US must file Form 8843. If you earned income during the previous calendar year you must also file a tax return. Filing a tax return can be a confusing process- especially as an international student. If you're not sure how to get started or what forms you will need, watch our short videos and get the answers you need before the deadline.
Thank you for attending our “Kickin’ it Oldschool” Classroom Series. I’m Bryanna Davis with internationalstudent.com and today we are going to look at US taxes. First thing is first, do international students need to file taxes? The answer- yes! All international students along with each of their dependents must file their taxes before the deadline of April 18th.
Now if all you know about taxes is the phrase nothing is certain but death and taxes- you’re more likely really scared since you now know you have to file. BUT- go ahead and take a deep breath because for most of you it’s going to be a pretty painless process.
So what do you need and how do you file your taxes?
The most common option for international students is to file them yourself, which we suggest that most of you do if your situation isn’t too complicated, as it will save you the most money.
All non-residents are required to file a form 8843 to declare nonresident status. So if you didn’t have any income in the past year, this is the form you will need to complete. For this you don’t need a SS number nor a taxpayer ID number - so it’s very simple.
Now, if you did have income, you will need to fill out a form 8843 along with a 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ. This document declares your income and how much taxes you owe on that income. The 1040NR-EZ is just as it sounds- the easy version of the 1040NR. Most students will be able to use the 1040NR-EZ and we recommend that you do so.
If your taxes seem to be a bit more complicated than what you can handle, that’s ok, you have a couple of options other than doing them yourself. Of course these remaining options you’ll have to pay for, but you have them available if needed. 1st, you have the option of using a program right online or by downloading software for assistance.
Next you have the option to hire a certified public accountant, or CPA. This will be the most expensive option, so unless your situation is fairly complex, you’re not even going to want to consider hiring a CPA. If you start do to your own taxes, then realize it’s a bit over your head or you have no idea what is going on, a CPA might be a good option for you. You will need to ensure you do your taxes correctly and that they are in on time- if you need to hire a CPA to do this, then there is nothing wrong with that.
Just to recap- step 1: know what forms you need to complete. Step 2. Fill them out and step 3. Print them off then mail them in. Make sure to print off a copy for yourself to keep for your own records as well.
If you’re still confused on this process or what documents you need to use, you can visit www.internationalstudent.com/tax/ for more information.
Hopefully you have learned more about what you need to do to file your taxes and you will be able to now get them in before May 17th.