Do I have to file a U.S. tax return?
Many of you may not realize that every year you will have to submit at least one tax form. Federal and state income tax forms are completed annually in the United States and submitted to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) between January 1 and April 18 for the previous tax year (2016 tax forms will be due by April 18, 2017). Tax forms must be completed (even if a tax treaty exempts you from paying any U.S. taxes) if you were in the United States during any part of 2016 on any visa other than a tourist visa.
What if I didn't work in 2016?
If you didn't work in 2016, then you will need to complete form 8843. Form 8843 must be completed by everyone in your family, including your dependent children. If you did not work in 2015 then the form 8843 is due by June 15, 2017. If you did work in 2016, you must still submit the 8843 with your tax returns by April 18, 2017.
I worked in 2016, but I only made $5,000. Do I still need to file a tax return?
Yes, you will need to file a federal tax return and submit the form 8843.
I need to file a federal return, but I don't know how. What do I do?
Suffolk University will be offering free tax preparation services during the months of February, March and April for all students who worked in 2016 and earned less than $54,000. Site operating hours to be determined.
What else do I need to know about U.S. taxes?
The first step with filing taxes is to figure out if you are a resident or nonresident for tax purposes. Generally if you were in the U.S. less than 5 months in 2016, you are a non-resident.
What documents do I need?
If you are employed in the United States, your employer will send you a statement of earnings, called a Form W-2, by the end of January that details your income and any taxes withheld during the previous year. If you receive benefits of a tax treaty for employment, scholarship or fellowship income, you will receive a Form 1042-S by mid-March that details your income and treaty benefits.
When do I have to finish my taxes?
If you were present in the United States during any part of 2016 on a visa other than a B visa, there is at least one tax form you must complete. Federal tax forms are due to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by April 18, 2017. Massachusetts state tax forms (if necessary) are due to the Department of Revenue by April 18, 2017. Please note that if you had no U.S. based income you have until June 15, 2017 to file your form 8843.