All international students and scholars are required to report to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) each year — even if they did not work during the prior year. You will not necessarily need to pay taxes; but reporting your presence in the US is a legal requirement.
Although the OGS cannot advise on tax issues, we hope to give you basic information here as a helpful starting point.
If you were present in the US even for 1 day during 2014, then you have tax filing obligations.
The deadline is April 15. The earliest we recommend you file your taxes is February 1. If you are unable to file your forms by the deadline, you must submit an application for Automatic Extension of Time to File Your Tax Return to the IRS.
(You may not have or need some of these; this is a list of all documents you might need)
GTP will help you easily fulfill your tax obligations by asking you a series of questions and filling in all necessary forms for you. It will also inform you of any tax benefits that may apply to you.
2. Print the forms GTP generates. Review, sign and mail them no later than April 15. (GTP will tell you the mailing address)
3. If GTP determines that you are a resident for U.S. tax purposes, it will ask you to file 'resident tax returns' instead.
Resources for this include:
(State taxes may have different residency guidelines then US taxes. You can use Sprintax to file your state taxes at a discounted rate. Scroll below to "outside vendors for expert guidance" for more information)
You must file a NY Tax Return if:
a. You are a NY resident and you filed a US tax form (other than Form 8843) for 2014; or
b. You had NY income greater than $4,000 in 2014; or
c. You want a refund of NY State or City taxes withheld from your paycheck in excess of what you actually owed.
These workshops by University of Buffalo should be used as additional resources and a point of reference only. The videos cover only Federal tax filing.
For most students and scholars the advice on this page is enough to successfully file their taxes. But if you have complex tax circumstances you may want to contact one of these companies:
Call 212-268-2038 and ask to schedule an appointment and identify yourself as foreign national.
Call 310-440-5557 or email Gary@englercpa.com to schedule a time to meet. Again, this is not a free service. You can also visit http://www.englercpa.com/international.html for more non-resident tax information.
Sprintax is an online software that allows you to file your state tax return as a nonresident. For information how to get started review this Sprintax information guide. When you're ready, file at Sprintax. The fee to file the state tax alone is $25.
The United States has over 50 tax treaties with different countries. The treaties vary in terms of the benefits they offer to students, the types of income covered, the total amount of the exemption, and the number of years you could claim the benefit. If you file your tax forms with a tax software, the software will automatically factor in any benefit offered through a tax treaty with your country.
For more information on tax treaties, including a list of the countries that the United States has tax treaties with, see IRS Publication 901, US Tax Treaties. Note that tax treaties vary in their implications for state taxes.