If you were a Student who have done MS or MBA in US on F1 Visa and changed your visa status to H1B utilizing the OPT period, there may be scenarios where you were working with multiple companies in multiple states. If that was the scenario during, OPT you may have got multiple W2 Forms and you may be confused how to deal with this. I will address few of the thing that you have to keep in mind for tax filing. I was exactly in the same boat and confused…If you are not on OPT and just on F1 Visa, you read : Should all F1 students file taxes? When ? Information on International students (F1 Visa) tax filing?
OPT to H1B Multiple Tax forms
If you were to work for multiple companies during OPT period, you should have got multiple W2 Forms. Legally, you are supposed to get the W2 Forms. If you have not got W2 Forms from your previous employer or you have lost it in mail or any kind of issues, you MUST get in touch with your previous employer and make sure you have all those W2 forms. If a company took your SSN and had your pay check running on your SSN and you do not get a W2 Form from them, then there is something wrong. You have to fix that. IRS will not forgive you, it is your duty to make sure you file taxes for all your employment pay period. Do not be confused if you have multiple W2 forms.
How to file taxes with Multiple Tax forms on OPT :
It is nothing different from tax filing perspective. It is just regular tax filing. You use the same forms. There are no special rules. If you were on OPT you do not need to pay Social Security and Medicare. If your employer has held or cut money for these you can ask for the refund for the OPT period for Medicare and Social Security.
OPT and Multiple companies in Different States Tax filing:
If you have worked for multiple companies and supposedly they are in different states, you have to do separate state tax filing for every state. From Federal tax filing perspective nothing is different, but from State tax filing perspective, you have to file individually and mail to each state with Tax filing forms for that particular state. For some states like Texas, you do not need to file state taxes. For states other than like Texas, you have to do state tax filing. You should check the state tax website for clarifications as such.
Should you use Tax Consultant or do it yourself for OPT to H1B tax filing ?
This is kind of debatable question. If you know how to do everything and put in all your deductibles like Tuition fee, eco friendly car, donations, and all other items that are exempt form taxes, you can do it on your own. But, if you do not know all this, you should go to a tax consultant. Personal opinion, I went to a tax consultant when I was on OPT and changed to H1B visa, because I had 4 states tax filing to do and I was confused. H&R block and others charge you more. You should ask your friends for some Desi or International tax consultant who can help you file taxes better from an international student or H1B holder tax filing perspective. It is up to you do decide, Also if your income is less than $57,000 in 2009, you can use the free e-filing from IRS website by selecting a provider . Be careful and seek advice if you do not know. Taxes are very important and do not mess with taxes.
Moving from states and Domicile claims for Tax filing
You have to be careful when you claim Domicile for tax benefits. Do not get confused by reading this term Domicile, just make sure you put in the correct dates you have stayed in a state or you have started to stay in a state. It is important from state’s perspective to tax you as a resident or non-resident. So, be careful here. I got a letter from state that I had claimed wrong, in fact I messed up the dates, then I had to re-send the tax forms and I got more money back… The point is, be careful when putting in the dates and claiming domicile, if you are not sure, go to a good tax consultant at least for this year for more info as you have OPT and H1B status and multiple states. This can be very important to claim additional benefits like In-state tuition for studying on H1B visa and live in a state for more than one year .
Do you have anything to share about OPT and H1B visa status change and tax filing.
Image Credit : http://www.flickr.com/photos/alancleaver/4122172006/