International Student and Scholar Tax FAQ

Disclaimer: OSU International Programs staff are not tax professionals. The information below is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute tax advice.

1. Why do I need to file U.S. tax forms?

Filing tax forms each year is very important for international students and scholars because properly filed tax forms are required for some immigration status applications. By filing the required tax forms correctly each year, you will be following U.S. laws and ensuring that tax filing requirements are not an issue for any potential future immigration benefits.  

2. What is Sprintax and how do I use it?

Sprintax is an online tax preparation software which will help you prepare your tax return and provide you with step-by- step instructions of when to file, how to file, and where to file your taxes.

International Programs has purchased a subscription to Sprintax to assist OSU students and scholars with filing federal income taxes. ISAS/ISFS will send you a payment code via your ONID email account by late-February to use at Sprintax (www.sprintax.com). If you have not received a Sprintax access code by late-February, please e-mail Sarah Lane at sarah.lane@oregonstate.edu.

The OSU Sprintax Code can be entered in at the very end by clicking on "use access code" in the lower left of the payment section.

Click here to view an online video explaining Sprintax. For more information on taxes, you can also see our Tax Handout.

3. I did not have any U.S. income in 2013. Do I need to complete a tax return?

Even if you did not earn any income during 2013, you will still likely need to file at least one tax form: Form 8843. Sprintax will complete this form for you based on the information you provide and will give you instructions on how to mail it in, even if you do not file any other tax forms.

We encourage all international students and scholars who were in the United States at any point during 2013 to create an account at  Sprintax to determine what forms they should file.

4. I am no longer in the United States. Do I need to use Sprintax?

Tax filing requirements are different for every student, so it is difficult to provide general advice to a specific situation. Because of this, no matter what your situation, if you were a student or scholar in the U.S. during any part of 2013 we encourage you to create a Sprintax account. The Sprintax software will then evaluate for you what forms you may need to file.

5. What do I do if I have questions about taxes and filing a return?

Because ISAS staff are not tax experts or able to provide tax assistance, ISAS has purchased the online software, Sprintax, to assist with tax preparation. Once you create an account at Sprintax, you will have access to a live messaging chat where you can message tax experts. You can start chatting by clicking on ‘expert help’ on the lower left part of the screen once you are in your account.

The IRS also offers telephone assistance to answer general tax questions (1-800-829-1040). If you prefer to seek information from the IRS in person, you may make an appointment for free tax filing assistance through an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.

You can also find specific tax information for International Students and Scholars on the IRS website.

If your tax situation is complicated, you can also choose to hire a tax professional. To find a professional tax preparer in Oregon, you can use the search tool at the Oregon Board of Tax Practitioners website.

6. What is a 1098-T?

The 1098-T is a tax form provided by your school showing your tuition, scholarships, and other academic tax information for the year.

According to information provided by Sprintax , the Form 1098-T concerns US nationals and residents only and non-residents do not need it to use Sprintax.   

The Sprintax software can help you determine if you are a resident for tax purposes. Please note that Sprintax is only able to prepare tax returns for non-resident students and scholars.

7. What is the deadline for filing my tax return?

The deadline for filing a U.S. tax return is April 15, 2014, unless you apply for an extension. If you only need to file Form 8843 and no other tax forms, then the deadline is June 15th.

8. What is an ITIN?

An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a number that can be used instead of a Social Security Number on your tax forms. If you do not have a Social Security Number, you may need to apply for an ITIN. For more information see the IRS ITIN website. If you need to apply for an ITIN you might need a letter from our office. Please come and see an International Student Advisor.

9. I have completed my information in Sprintax. Now what?

Once you are done and have entered the OSU payment code, Sprintax will create a PDF of your tax return. This document will include instructions, your completed tax return, and a copy for you to keep.

You will need to print the tax return, sign the bottom of each form (there should be a pen icon where to sign), and mail the signed return to the address shown on the instructions. Don’t forget to add a stamp or mail your return at the Post Office via Certified Mail.

Please note that there may be multiple tax returns you need to sign and mail. For example, you might have a Form 8843, a Form 1040NR, and a Form 40N.

10. I have my federal return completed already, but Sprintax has not yet sent me my State tax return. What should I do?

The state tax return can take a few days longer than the federal return to show up in your email. You should get an email with your State Tax Return from Sprintax within 72 hours of submitting your information. If you have trouble getting your state tax return, please contact info@sprintax.com or use the Live Messenger tool in your Sprintax account.

11. Sprintax has told me that I am a Resident for tax purposes. Now what?

If you are a Resident for tax purposes, you cannot use the Sprintax software to file your taxes. Instead, you may choose to prepare your own return, use a commercial tax software (such as H&R Block, TurboTax, or other), or hire a tax professional. To find a professional tax preparer in Oregon, you can use the search tool at the Oregon Board of Tax Practitioners website. In addition, lower-income Residents may want to look into the Free-File information available on the IRS Website.

12. Sprintax helpful hints:

  • If you have a spouse or children, you may need to have separate Sprintax accounts for each in order to use the OSU Sprintax code. You, your spouse, and children should each file a separate Form 8843.
  • The OSU code is entered at the end in the payment section. The OSU code will cover the cost of the federal tax return (including the Form 8843), but not state or other returns.
  • When asked for the last date you were in the U.S., you may use either 12/31/2013 or the future date you expect to leave the U.S. The future date can be an estimate.
  • For the visa end date, use the expiration date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019 (Per Sprintax’s Advice).
  • When entering your address, make sure to check the box for if you want to have the IRS send “correspondence and any refund check" to either your U.S. address or your home country address.
  • Information for the “About Your College” section should be available on the first page of your I-20 or DS-2019.