Filing Your US Taxes

Income taxes are often complicated, even for those living in the United States their whole lives International student advisors and staff at CSU do not have the proper training or legal authority to offer direct assistance with the completion of tax returns, but we can provide you the resources below. 

Who Must File Tax Forms

Almost everyone, including dependents.  Nonresident aliens in the U.S. in any nonimmigrant status, including a dependent status, must file Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 8843, even if no income was earned. Nonresidents who received U.S. source income in a given year must also file federal and state tax returns. Income may include wages, scholarships, fellowships, graduate assistantships, etc.  For nonresident aliens, income does not include bank interest.  Nonresidents who received U.S. source income during a particular tax year should file Form1040NRby the filing deadline of the following year.  Individuals with tax treaty benefits or otherwise expecting to receive Form 1042-S from CSU should wait until that form is received (usually in March) before attempting to prepare a tax return. 

Am I considered a “nonresident” for tax purposes?

  • Generally, F-1 and J-1 students (and their F-2/J-2 dependents) are considered tax nonresidents for the first five calendar years. 
  • J-1 scholars (and J-2 dependents) are usually considered tax nonresidents for two calendar years (if not previously exempt). 
  • H-1B employees are usually residents or dual residents after holding H-1B status for more than 183 days. 
  • If you are married to a tax resident, you may choose to be a tax resident. 

For specific information on determining your tax residency status, see IRS publication 519 (downloadable from www.irs.gov).  For  Sprintax users, Sprintax will determine your tax residency status. 

Where Can I Receive Help With My Tax Forms?

Sprintax is available free of charge for international students, faculty, staff and visiting scholars who were associated with Colorado State University at any time during the calendar year.  Sprintax is a web-based program that completes nonresident tax forms based on the information you provide. Sprintax is expected to be available starting in mid-February. 

Sprintax is not the same as the GLACIER Online Tax Compliance software used by the CSU Tax Office for calculating tax withholding nor is it the same as GLACIER Tax Prep if you have used that product in the past. Sprintax is accessed by visiting their websiteand entering your User ID and Password from last year (only if you used Sprintax last year) or creating a new account. 

Individuals that used Sprintax last year can use the same User ID and Password again and retrieve a copy of last year’s returnIf you are new to Sprintax, you will be prompted to create your own unique username and password. After completing your tax return, you can enter the CSU common access code at checkout so you will not have to pay for the preparation of your federal income tax return. Sprintax does charge a separate fee if you are also required to file a state tax return. The ISSS Office at CSU will make the common access code available by mid-February.  Please send a message to ISSS@colostate.edu if you need the code.  Please do not share the code with individuals not associated with CSU.

After completing your tax forms, be sure to follow the included instructions for submitting your forms to the appropriate tax authorities. E-filing will be available through Sprintax for some individuals depending on the specifics of your tax filing situation. 

What If I Still Need More Help?

Sprintax offers a number of resources to answer your tax questions. You can find useful tax information on the Sprintax website which includes the frequently updated Sprintax blog.   If you prefer videos, you can access the Sprintax YouTube channel.

Sprintax will also be hosting an information tax webinar to provide an overview of some of the main areas you may need to know about nonresident tax. Topics include: who must file tax forms as a nonresident, residency for tax purposes, when is the filing deadline, FICA taxes, tax forms you may receive or need to complete, as well as an overview of how Sprintax can help to prepare your tax returns via its online software.

Sprintax Open Tax Webinars for Filing Season 2021: 

Additional Resources

 Information contained on this page is intended to provide general information and does not constitute legal advice.  Anyone with specific tax-related questions are encouraged to seek the advice of competent expert in the field.