It's Tax Time!
The 2017 US Tax deadline is Tuesday, April 17, 2018.
If you were not present in the United States during 2017, you do not need to file anything.
In the United States, taxes for a calendar year are filed between January - April of the following year. During the 2018 tax season (January - April 2018), individuals must file taxes for income earned between January 2017 - December 2017.
If you did not earn any income in 2017:
If you were in the United States during 2017 and did not earn any income you will have to file Form 8843. This includes scholars, students and dependents regardless of whether any income was earned. Form 8843 can be found online here: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8843.pdf
If you have been in the United States for 5 years or more:
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.
If you earned income in 2017 and received a W-2:
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. You may have had income withheld for the following taxes: Federal (US government), State (Pennsylvania), and Local (most likely City of Pittsburgh).
If you earned income and received a W-2, you are required to:
- File a Federal Tax Return
- File a PA-40 (2017) Tax Return
- File a local (Pittsburgh) Tax Return
- File form 8843
Students in F-1 status or research scholars in J-1 status who have earned income will receive a tax form, most likely a form W-2. A W-2 from your employer shows your earnings during the 2017 year and what taxes have been withheld from your pay.
You may also receive a form 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.
If you receive any other tax form, you can always stop by our office and we will assist you. The majority of students will only receive the W-2.
If your wage income is less than $4,000 for tax year 2017, 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.
Sprintax Tax Prep for Duquesne Students
Duquesne University has purchased access to Sprintax, an online tax service to assist international students with their tax return. This system takes into consideration all of the tax treaties between certain countries and the United States that will benefit international students. You can use the Sprintax software to complete both federal and state tax returns.
To file your taxes using the Sprintax software, follow the steps below:
- Email Rachael (email@example.com) to get a personal access code for one free federal filing on Sprintax
- Register for Sprintax and follow the simple instructions
- Complete the online questionnaire
- Enter your Sprintax code in the box on the ‘Review your order’ page
- Sprintax will prepare your tax return and even check if you are eligible for a refund
- Print, sign, and mail your documents to the address provided by Sprintax
You can also use Sprintax to file the Pennsylvania state tax return. Students who choose to file their state taxes throught Sprintax will need to pay the filing fee, which will be approximately $25-30.
Filing the Local (Pittsburgh) Tax Return
If you live or work in Pittsburgh and have an earned income in 2017, you must complete and submit the local tax form,"2017 Taxpayer Annual Local Earned Income Tax Return".
The form is available from the city website: http://pittsburghpa.gov/finance/taxes/tax-forms.html
Use "2017 Tax Forms" and use the form for Allegheny County Central (70). Make sure you include copies of your visa documents along with your return.
If you do not wish to use Spintax, please follow the instructions below:
Steps for submitting your taxes:
1. 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 2016 then you are done once you have completed that form.
The IRS's Income Tax Treaties page provides access to tax treaties in force.
How Can I Get Help Filling Out My Tax Forms?
If you are using the Sprintax software, representatives from Sprintax will be available to help you by using the Live Chat feature on the website. You can also email their representatives at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions.
The IRS has a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program that offers free tax help to people who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals. Visit the following site for more information and to locate a VITA site near you: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/free-tax-return-preparation-for-you-by-volunteers
Local IRS offices do offer face-to-face tax assistance, including the office at the Federal Building downtown. You must call ahead (844-545-5640) to set up an appointment.
1000 Liberty Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Monday-Friday - 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
You can also call the IRS for telephone tax assistance, Monday Friday, 7:00 a.m. 10:00 p.m. 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: 1-800-829-1040