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Taxes: Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Plus IconI am an F-1 or J-1 student and I had no income during 2019. Do I need to file any tax forms?

Yes. You need to file Form 8843. This is the only form you will need to complete if you earned no income or only earned bank interest. You will find resources for filing Form 8843 in International Student Services.

FAQ Plus IconWhere do I send Form 8843?

If you do not have to file a 2018 tax return, mail Form 8843 to:
The Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service Center
Austin, TX 73301-0215

FAQ Plus IconI arrived in 2020. Do I need to fill out any tax forms?

No. The tax forms required in April report on the previous year, which ended December 31.

FAQ Plus IconI worked last year, but then graduated and went home. Do I have to file tax forms this April?

Yes. You should if you have plans to ever return to the U.S. Ask your employer to mail your wage statement (form W-2) to you. The IRS can mail you a check outside the U.S if you are owed a refund.

FAQ Plus IconWhat is the deadline for filing tax forms?

April 15, 2020.

FAQ Plus IconCan the ISS Office file my tax forms for me?

The ISS staff members are not able to complete your tax forms for you. While we are not tax experts, we do want to assist you with this responsibility. The Sprintax software will allow you to complete your U.S. tax forms in an easy and efficient way.

FAQ Plus IconWhat is Sprintax?

Sprintax is easy-to-use software that will guide you through the tax-filing process. The software will generate and fill-in all the forms for you. You will then follow simple directions to print them out and mail them to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). RIT has arranged for free access to Sprintax for RIT international students for filing federal tax forms. In addition, students may purchase Sprintax to complete state tax forms for $29.95

Note: You will hear various tax prep software advertised to Americans during tax season such as “Turbo-Tax”, “H&R Block” etc… but these are inappropriate for you if you are a non-resident for tax purposes. They may take your money, but will also cause errors and problems for you later.

FAQ Plus IconWhat does it mean to be a resident or non-resident for U.S. income tax purposes?

Your tax status (nonresident or resident) is separate from your immigration status.You may be a resident for tax purposes even though you are still a nonresident for immigration purposes. You become a resident for tax purposes when either you get a green card or you "pass" what is called the "substantial presence test."

The Sprintax software will determine your tax status for you.

Your tax status determines which tax forms you need to complete, and therefore determining your tax status is the first step in completing your forms.

FAQ Plus IconWhat if the software determines that I am a resident for tax purposes?

Residents for tax purposes are not able to use Sprintax. Instead, they may file taxes in the same manner as U.S. citizens using various tax preparation products you will see advertised.


FAQ Plus IconWhat is GLACIER?

GLACIER is a comprehensive tax compliance system used by the RIT Payroll Office. RIT foreign nationals are automatically enrolled in GLACIER once they start working on campus. Login details and a temporary password are delivered by email when you arrive on campus. It is important to keep your GLACIER record updated at all times. RIT relies on this system to identify your appropriate tax status, monitor payments, and declare eligible tax treaty benefits.

You will not file your taxes using GLACIER. The tax-filing software used by RIT international students is Sprintax.


FAQ Plus IconHow do I use Sprintax to complete my tax forms?
  1. Register and follow the simple instructions
  2. Complete the online questionnaire
  3. Enter your unique code (emailed to you in late February or early March) in the box on the ‘Review your order’ page
  4. Sprintax will prepare your tax return
FAQ Plus IconWill Sprintax file my tax forms electronically for me?

No. Sprintax will fill-in the forms and allow you to print and save them. You will need to mail the forms in an envelope with correct postage to the IRS at the address indicated. The envelope must be post marked by the deadline to avoid penalties and fees.

FAQ Plus IconWhat is the difference between the 1040 NR and the 1040 NR-EZ?

The “NR” means nonresident for tax purposes. The 1040NR is a longer, more detailed tax form, totaling five pages, which can be used by any nonresident. The 1040NREZ is a simplified version of the same form, which can be completed by nonresidents who meet certain requirements. Just remember EZ stands for “easy” or a less-detailed form. Sprintax will determine which form you need to use.

FAQ Plus IconMy friend filed Form 1040 and received a larger refund. Can I do that too?

Though it is tempting to try to get a bigger refund by filing this form if you are a nonresident for tax purposes, you cannot do so legally. If you are a nonresident for tax purposes you must file form 1040 NR or 1040 NR-EZ. Failure to file the correct form is considered tax fraud and can place your immigration status in jeopardy. The additional money you may receive is not worth this risk.

FAQ Plus IconWhat is a W-2 form?

Form W-2 shows how much you earned from working during the year. It also shows how much tax you have paid in that year. You need information from the Form W-2 to complete your tax forms and must attach a copy of it to your tax return form. If you worked in the U.S. and have not received a Form W-2, contact your employer for a copy. RIT W-2 forms are mailed by the Payroll Department by January 31st or available to self-print through Student Self Service.

FAQ Plus IconI received a 1042-S form but not a W-2 form. What should I do?

A 1042-S is used by RIT and other sponsors to report taxable scholarships and income exempt from tax under a tax treaty. 1042-S forms may be accessed through GLACIER after March 15th. If you did not work in the U.S. in 2019, or if all your income was exempt under a tax treaty, you will not receive a W-2 form.

FAQ Plus IconWhat should I put in item #10 on the 8843 that asks for me to contact information for my "academic or other specialized program?"

You should put the following:

Jeffrey Cox
Director, International Student Service
Rochester Institute of Technology
42 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623

FAQ Plus IconWhat are FICA Taxes?

Also called Social Security and Medicare taxes, F.I.C.A. stands for the Federal Insurance Contributions Act which is taxation on income earned where the funds are used for federal programs that provide benefits for U.S. citizens and permanent residents when they retire, are disabled, or are the children of deceased workers. Funds withheld for F.I.C.A. are reflected on paycheck stubs and also in boxes 4 and 6 of your W-2.

FAQ Plus IconDo I have to pay F.I.C.A. taxes?

F-1 and J-1 student visa holders are typically exempt from paying F.I.C.A. taxes for their first 5 years in the United States and these taxes should not be deducted from paychecks. J-1 scholars and researchers are typically only exempt for 2 years. The mechanism for the exemptions are found under Internal Revenue Code 3121 (b)(19) and is available to persons in F-1, J-1, M-1 and Q immigration status.

FAQ Plus IconWhat can I do if FICA taxes were taken from my pay check?

If your employer has mistakenly withheld F.I.C.A. taxes, you must work with him or her directly to request a reimbursement. If they will not assist you, you would file Internal Revenue Service (IRS) forms 843 AND supplemental form 8316 to request reimbursement. Please note that J-2s with work authorization are not exempt from FICA taxes.

FAQ Plus IconSo what happens if I don’t file any IRS forms?

Filing tax forms is not optional; it is required by law. One of the conditions of your visa is to comply with US law. If you never plan to enter the U.S again in your life, nothing will happen.

FAQ Plus IconWhat are state tax forms?

In addition to filing a federal tax form, many individuals need to complete a state tax form. Tax forms and regulations vary by the state where the income was earned. Depending on where you have earned income, you may need to file several different forms. For example, if you worked on campus at RIT and did a summer co-op in California, you may need to file:

  • A federal tax return for all U.S. earnings and income
  • A New York State return for the money earned at RIT
  • A California return for the money you earned on your co-op.

The Sprintax software will determine if you need to file state tax forms.

ISS recommends RIT international students consider using Sprintax for filing their state tax forms. The cost to use Sprintax to file New York State taxes is $29.95.

FAQ Plus IconHow do I complete New York State tax forms?

See "State Income Tax Filing" on our Taxes webpage.

FAQ Plus IconWhere do I send my completed New York State tax forms?

If you are enclosing a payment (check or money order), use the following address:
PO BOX 15555
ALBANY, NY  12212-5555

If you are not enclosing payment, use this address:
PO BOX 61000
ALBANY, NY  12261-0001

FAQ Plus IconI did a co-op in a different state. How can I get help in completing that state’s tax forms?

On the ISS Taxes webpage under State Income Tax Filing you will find a link to Other State Tax Forms. For a fee, Sprintax may be used to file tax forms for any state in the United States.



FAQ Plus IconIs it possible to have my tax forms completed by a professional for a fee?

Yes! Some students decide to hire a professional tax preparer to file their taxes. This is especially helpful for students who are unable to use GLACIER Tax Prep, or students who have complicated tax issues, or would simply prefer to have a professional complete their tax forms for them.

Please see Paying an Outside Vendor to Have Your Tax Forms Completed in the Taxes section of our website.

FAQ Plus IconI've lost my RIT W-2 form. How can I get another one?

If you haven't graduated, you may print a copy of your RIT W-2 form by logging into If you have not set up your myinfo account, the process is easy:       

1. Go to

2. Enter username: SIS username

3. Enter password: SIS password

4. If this is your first time accessing this application, your account will be set up within an hour.

5. When you log back in, you can set up direct deposit, access your pay slip, and update Federal tax withholding. (State Tax withholding must be done via paper form submitted to payroll).                            

If you have graduated call the Payroll Office for help at 585-475-2381 or 585-475-2382

If you worked for another employer, you will need to contact the company for a copy of your W-2 form.

FAQ Plus IconMy roommate told me I can get a 8863 education credit because I paid for my education last year. How do I do this?

The 8863 education credit refers to the American Opportunity Tax Credit. Unfortunately a student cannot claim the credit if he or she was a nonresident alien for any part of 2018 and did not elect to be treated as a resident alien for tax purposes. If, after taking the Substantial Presence Test, you determine that you are a resident for tax purposes, please read the information on the IRS website about the education tax credit.



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