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It's Tax Time!

April 15, 2016 is the deadline for taxes in the United States.

International students and scholars must prepare tax returns if they earned any income while in the United States, and received a W-2 from an employer.

There are three types of taxes that you may have paid, FEDERAL, STATE and LOCAL - (most likely City of Pittsburgh). You must file a return to each if you received a W-2. In addition, even if you did not receive a W-2, you are required to complete a Form 8843 form and submit it to the federal government.

If you were in the United States during 2015 and did not earn any income you will still have to file Form 8843. This includes scholars, students and dependents regardless of whether any income was earned.

If you were not in the United States at all during 2015, you do not have to file anything at all.

Form 8843 can be found at https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8843.pdf

  • If you entered the United States more than 5 years ago, then you are considered a "resident" for tax purposes. If you had earned income, you would file your taxes like a US citizen and you would use a system like Turbo Tax.
  • Students in F-1 status or research scholars in J-1 status who have earned income will receive a tax form. The tax form can be a W-2. A W-2 from your employer shows your earnings during the 2015 year and what taxes have been withheld from your pay.
  • You may also receive a 1042-S. This form is issued for "non-qualified scholarships", where funds would cover any costs over and above the cost of tuition, fees, books and materials required for the academic program.
  • Should you receive any other tax form, you can always stop by our office and we will assist you. The majority of students will just receive the W-2.

If you earned income and received a W-2, you are required to:
1. File a Federal Tax Return
2. File a PA-40 (2015) Tax Return
3. File a local (Pittsburgh) Tax Return
4. File form 8843 

*Please note, if your wage income is less than $4,000 for tax year 2015, you are not required to file a federal, state, or local return. However, if there were any taxes withheld, the only way to get a refund of the withholding is to file a return. Should you choose not to file, you are still required to file form 8843.  

Form 8843 can be mailed directly to: 

Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Austin, TX 73301

Sprintax Tax Prep for Duquesne Students

Filing the Federal Tax Return

Duquesne University has purchased Sprintax which is an online tax service to assist international students with their tax return. This system has all the treaties between certain countries and the United States that will benefit international students. The site is: https://sprintax.com/duquesne

To gain access to this website, you can email Rachael English at english6@duq.edu.  She will provide you with a personal access code. There is no charge to our students for using Sprintax.

Filing the State Tax Return

Sprintax also provides assistance with the Pennsylvania Tax return. To file your state tax return with Sprintax, you will have to pay a charge of $25.95.

Filing the Local (Pittsburgh) Tax Return

If you live or work in Pittsburgh and have an earned income from 2015, you must complete and submit the local tax form,"2015 Taxpayer Annual Local Earned Income Tax Return". The form is available from the city website: http://pittsburghpa.gov/finance/tax-forms

Use "2015 Tax Forms" and us the form for Allegheny County Central (70). Make sure you include copies of your visa documents along with your return.:

Filing Independently

For those of you who do not wish to use the Spintax system, please follow the instructions below:

Steps for submitting your taxes:

1.  Please go to the IRS website and look under "Forms" for Federal tax forms.

2. Print out Form 8843

This should be completed by each international student and each dependent.  If you did not earn any money in 2015 then you are done once you have completed that form.

3.  The majority, 99.99%, of international students who must file taxes will be completing form 1040NREZ. You can print this form from the IRS website along with directions.

 Additional Tax Forms and Information

How International Students Can Get Tax Treaties information:

The IRS's Income Tax Treaties page provides access to tax treaties in force. The IRS also has an FAQ on Income Tax Treaties.

How Can I Get Help Filling Out My Tax Forms?

The IRS has eliminated positions in their Pittsburgh office. You can check with your local public library to see if VITA volunteers will be available. To locate the nearest VITA site, call 1.800.829.1040.

Local IRS offices do offer face-to-face tax assistance, including the office at the Federal Building downtown:
1000 Liberty Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Monday-Friday - 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
(412) 395-5667

You can also call the IRS for telephone tax assistance, Monday Friday, 7:00 a.m. 10:00 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time). When calling, you may ask questions to help you prepare your tax return, or ask about a notice you have received.
Telephone Assistance for Individuals
Toll-Free, 1-800-829-1040 Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.