Tax Filing Information for International Students
Filing taxes in the US can be confusing. While the U.S. government has complex tax laws, the purpose of this information is to help identify UGA International Students/Scholars if they must file tax forms, what to file, when to file by and what resources we offer to answer tax filing questions and complete and file federal and state tax returns. Please read the entire page as it will help you to complete the appropriate tax documents that are a part of maintaining your visa status within the US.
The U.S. federal and state governments tax income, taxable scholarships and other types of monetary gain. Tax is generally withheld before a payment is made and individuals are expected to file tax reports by a specified deadline after the end of the tax year as a mechanism to reconcile all tax withheld against what the federal and state government identifies should have been withheld. At the end of the year, if the tax payments that were made were not enough to cover the total income tax due, you must pay the federal and/or state revenue department. Conversely, if you paid too much over the course of the tax year (more than what you owe in tax), then the federal and/or state revenue department will send back your excess payment in the form of a tax refund.
Registering with UGA's International Tax Assistance Program (ITAP)
The ITAP program for Spring 2017 will begin in late January. Be on the lookout for an email in the spring semester from ISL regarding your filing obligations!
Every F-1 student, J-1 student, and J-1 scholar is highly encouraged to register for ITAP. Registering allows International Student Life to help determine your next steps. To receive assistance from ITAP, you must be either an F-1 student, J-1 student, or J-1 scholar. If you fit into one of these visa categories, please follow the steps below to register to receive tax assistance for your 2016 tax paperwork.
If it is determined that you need to file Federal and State tax returns, you will be provided the opportunity to access a service called Sprintax* at a discount for $10; additionally, there will be a fee for state tax filing that must be fully covered by the student. Georgia state filings will cost $25.95; additional states will be an additional charge. The Federal filing code you will purchase from ITAP for $10 is greatly discounted from the regular price of $35.95. The State filing fees of $25.95 at Sprintax are very competitive and it is highly recommended that you consider using Sprintax for both your Federal and State filing purposes as Sprintax guarantees the accuracy of all filings.
Sprintax will determine your tax residency. If you are a nonresident for tax purposes and earned taxable income, then use Sprintax to help you through the process of completing your Federal and State tax return documents. If the software identifies you are a resident taxpayer then please follow instructions available on IRS.gov for individual resident taxpayer filing.
Note: UGA will continue to use Glacier for employer payroll compliance and record keeping. Sprintax tax preparation software, however, is for individual non-resident taxpayers to complete tax returns.
* Sprintax software is provided by International Student Life, with additional support from the Office of International Education and the University System of Georgia.
Step 3: Start the Sprintax ProgramPlease only proceed to Sprintax after you have purchased a code from the ITAP program. Proceeding before purchasing your code will result in your Federal tax filing fee being significantly higher.
Form 8843 InstructionsPlease use this resource if, after registering with ITAP, it is determined that you DO NOT need to use Sprintax.
ITIN Request InstructionsPlease use this resource if, after registering with ITAP, it is determined that you or your spouse needs an ITIN.
International Tax Assistance Program (ITAP)
The University of Georgia
210 Memorial Hall
Athens, Georgia 30602-3108 USA
Phone: +USA 706-542-5867
Fax: +USA 706-583-0006
8 a.m. - 5 p.m. EST
Monday-Friday (excluding holidays)
ITAP Frequently Asked Questions:
Do I have to file tax paperwork?
Yes! Every international student in the United States is required to file tax paperwork, even if they have not worked.
Can I use another software program to help me with my tax paperwork?
The discounted Sprintax software provided by ISL is the only tax software that UGA's non-resident international students should use. Other programs are not as advanced and may give you incorrect paperwork.
Why does ITAP cost money? Why is there a fee?
Due to the large volume of international tax assistance requests in years past, ISL, along with the other universities in Georgia, have determined that providing the Sprintax program was the most cost and time effective approach to providing quality and accurate assistance to international students and scholars. As such, the cost of providing Federal filing codes and running the ITAP program with workshop volunteers requires financial resources. The $10 fee assessed by ITAP helps ISL offset the costs associated with this service. It is important to understand that tax assistance for anyone typically costs some sort of fee. ISL is committed to keeping this fee as low as possible while also accounting for expected costs with running this service.
The Sprintax software is telling me I am a resident for tax purposes. What do I do?
You will need to file resident forms. Unfortunately, ISL cannot assist students who need to file resident tax forms. Resident tax forms are available online or at local libraries. There also are free online tax software programs at the federal IRS website for resident tax issues. Please contact ISL for a list of local resources.
Can I get help using Sprintax after I purchase my code?
Yes! ISL has trained volunteer who will assist you with completing your tax paperwork using the Sprintax software. After registering for ITAP and purchasing a Sprintax code, you will receive information on how to sign up for Sprintax workshops.
Why are my tax return results different from my friend's?
Each student's situation is unique. Tax return results can vary due to income differences, tax treaty details, and days present in the USA. ISL strongly advises you from comparing your results with others, as it will often lead to confusion and unnecessary concern.