International Student Taxes

Each spring, individuals who lived in the United States the previous year are required to report their total earned income to the Office of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These reports are known as tax returns. After reviewing an individual’s tax return, the IRS determines whether a person has paid too much or too little in taxes during the previous year. Students studying at UCA on an F or J visa are also required to file tax returns for the years they were studying in the U.S.

If a person has not paid enough taxes, the individual is required to pay that amount to the IRS. If a person has paid too much in taxes, the individual will receive a refund of the extra amount from the government. This is known as a tax refund.

International Engagement (IE) offers the following information about filing taxes in the US. The staff of IE are not tax experts and cannot directly answer any personal or specific tax questions. However, we do provide two different services to assist our students in filing their tax returns: the Sprintax Tax Prep Software and Arkansas Asset Builders’ free tax assistance program.

Both services are provided so that students can easily and correctly file their tax returns on-time and with as little stress as possible. Please see below for more information on your tax responsibility.

Should You File A Tax Return?

All international students have a responsibility to file tax returns if they were in the United States for the previous year. However, not all students file taxes in the same way. Please look at the below options to see what your situation requires.

1) I did not work or receive a scholarship covering more than my tuition while in the United States last year.

2) I received U.S. income through employment while in the United States last year (received W-2 Form).

3) I received a U.S. scholarship that paid more than my tuition while in the United States last year (received 1042-S Form).

Note: Every student’s tax return is different. International Engagement cannot guarantee that every student who files a tax return will receive a tax refund.

Filing Your Tax Return

International Engagement will be offering two different types of free resources to assist students in filing their tax returns:

Sprintax Prep

All international students at UCA are welcome to use the Sprintax prep software to file their tax returns. While the software usually costs money, IE provides a discount code to students each year so that they may use the program free of charge. This access code is emailed out to students in February or early March. If you have not received an access code for your tax return by Spring Break, please contact the student services coordinator.

To use the Sprintax software:

  • Make sure you have the following documents:
    • Passport
    • Visa
    • I-20 or DS-2019
    • I-94
    • W-2 (if you worked during the previous year)
    • 1042-S (if you received a U.S. scholarship which paid for more than your tuition during the previous year
  • Register following the simple instructions.
    • If you have used Sprintax in the past, you may log on to your previous account.
  • Answer the software’s questions using your above documents.
  • Enter the access code provided by the student services coordinator in the box on the “Review Your Order” page.
  • Print out and mail your tax return! Sprintax does not send your tax return to the IRS. You will need to print out your tax return and mail it yourself. The printed tax return will give you directions on how to do this.

Arkansas Asset Builders

For the first time, International Engagement is partnering with Arkansas Asset Builders to provide FREE on-campus assistance with trained volunteers certified by the IRS to assist international students with their taxes. We will numerous on-campus sessions where students can come by with their required documents and receive assistance in filing their taxes. IE will send out the times, dates, and locations of these sessions as soon as possible.

Caution!

  1. Do not use a tax service other than the two resources listed above. Many local businesses are not familiar with non-resident tax returns and may file your forms incorrectly! If an audit shows you have filed your tax returns incorrectly, you may be subject to financial penalties, as well as create difficulties in receiving a future visa.
  2.  International students are not eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, and do not receive a 1098-T Form. Please do not attempt to file a 1098-T form, as it may subject you to financial penalties, as well as create difficulties in receiving a future visa.

State Tax Returns

The Sprintax software requires students to complete their Arkansas state tax return. However, students are not required to file a state tax return unless you owe the state of Arkansas money. You may also file your state tax return if the state of Arkansas owes you money. It is very rare that international students either owe the state tax money, or receive a state tax refund though.

Resources

Frequently Asked Questions about Taxes