Frequently Asked Taxed Questions

Basic Questions

What are tax returns?
Each Spring, individuals who lived in the United States the previous year file tax returns to report their total earned income to the Office of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If the IRS determines you have paid more taxes in the previous year than necessary, you can receive a full or partial tax refund.

Should I file a tax return?
All international students who were in the United States in the previous year should file at minimum the Form 8843. International students who received income, either through employment or through a scholarship, will file the 1040NR. Note: Nonresident students must file the 1040NR rather than the 1040 or 1040EZ. These latter forms are only for permanent residents.

Will I get money back?
If you did not receive income and are only filing the Form 8843, you will not receive a refund because you did not pay any income taxes throughout the previous year. If you received income, you have already paid taxes on that income. Based on your tax return, you may be able to receive a full or partial refund. You will find out the amount of refund you are eligible for when you file your tax returns with Sprintax.

Will I owe money to the IRS?
If Sprintax determines from your situation that you did not pay enough taxes throughout the previous year, you may be required to pay more income taxes. This is rare for international students. If the software tells you money is owed to the IRS, please make an appointment to see the student services coordinator.

Do I have to use Sprintax to file my tax return?
We highly recommend you use Sprintax to file your tax return. Sprintax will make sure the return is correct. If an audit shows you have filed your tax returns incorrectly, you may be subject to financial penalties, as well as difficulties receiving a future visa.

I am now a resident alien. How do I file my tax returns?
If you have been in the United States for more than 5 years, you may be considered a resident alien for tax purposes. If this is the case, you will not be able to use Sprintax and you will need to find an alternative tax preparation software or service.

I am a former student who is now on OPT. Can I use Sprintax?
Yes. If you are a student on OPT, but who still has a valid I-20 issued from UCA, you may use the Sprintax software.

Questions about Form 1098-T

My friends said I could get $1,000 back from a tax service with the 1098-T. Is this right?
No! Nonresident students are not eligible for the education tax credit associated with the 1098-T. Some tax preparation offices may offer international students the refund without understanding the differences between resident and nonresident aliens.

I’ve already received $1,000 from my 1098-T. What should I do?
If you have already received the refund, return to the tax preparation office and explain that they incorrectly filed the Form 1040. Tell them to file an amended return and include the refund check along with this amended return. Do not let them charge you for the amended return. This was their mistake, but you still need to act to correct it.

Tax Forms

What is a Social Security Number (SSN)?
An SSN allows the government to keep track of taxes individuals have paid, owe, and are owed. All students who have been employed will have a social security number. This number is how you will receive your refund.

What is an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)?
An ITIN is given to students who have received a 1042-S for a taxed scholarship and who do not have an SSN. Students will not be able to receive their refund for their taxed scholarship without an ITIN. These students should contact the student services coordinator who will help them apply for an ITIN.

What is the Form 8843?
All international students in the U.S. in the previous year must file the Form 8843. Students without U.S. income can file this on their own. This form lets the government know you did not receive income during the tax year. Students with income will file it along with the 1040NR. Sprintax will assist students in filing the 1040NR and the Form 8843 at the same time.

What is a Form 1040NR?
The Form 1040NR is used to file income tax returns for nonresident aliens. Sprintax will provide and fill out the 1040NR for you. If you worked on campus in the previous year, you will receive an Access Code in your UCA email in February or March. If you have not received an access code, email the student services coordinator.

What is a W-2?
A W-2 is a statement from the employer to employee that proves how much income you earned in the previous year and how much you paid in taxes. UCA employees can access their W-2 through myUCA beginning in January each tax season. Use this form to complete the 1040NR tax returns.

What is a 1042-S?
Students who have had their scholarship taxed will receive a 1042-S from Student Accounts during the Spring semester. Use this form to complete the 1040NR tax returns in Sprintax. Students who receive a 1042-S and who do not have a SSN or ITIN will need to contact the student services coordinator to apply for an ITIN.

What is a a 1098-T?
The 1098-T is a statement from a university that indicates how much you have paid in tuition in the previous year. U.S. citizens and permanent residents can use this to receive a tax credit or reimbursement. Nonresident aliens are not eligible to receive this tax credit. If you have already received the refund, return to the tax preparation office and explain that they incorrectly filed the Form 1040 rather than the Form 1040NR. Tell them to file an amended return and include the refund check along with this amended return. Do not let them charge you for the amended return. This was their mistake, but you still need to act to correct it.

Filing Tax Returns

Can I get help filing my tax returns?
Yes! International Engagement offers access to Sprintax for all international students.. You will need an access code to be able to use the software at no cost to you.

How can I get an access code?
International Engagement will email the access code to students in February or March. If you are on OPT or transferred from another university this year, you can also request an access code.

Can I get help using the Sprintax software?
Yes! IE will offer a series of workshops between Spring Break and the tax day deadline to help students use the Sprintax software. An email will be sent out in February or March with the exact times, dates, and location.

What should I do about state tax returns?
If you received income in the state of Arkansas in the previous year, you may need to file state tax returns. However, our office only provides an access code for federal taxes. Students filing state tax returns will have to pay for the service themselves.