I still remember those days of my first time student days in US when I was on F1 visa and trying to file taxes during the last minute. There was a lot of confusion, finding information asking seniors and school officials. I will try to put in some of my key experiences, questions and answers and try to point to right places so that you get right idea. I am not a tax expert and not writing anything here. These are just experiences and resources links.
Is tax filing Free for F1 Visa International students? Whom to ask ?
Depending on the school, Universities enroll in some kind of tax programs that let international Students on F1 visa to file taxes for free. For instance, American University at Washington DC has purchased license of Free ONLINE CINTAX ( CINTAX – Complete International Tax Preparation Software for International Students.) You should ask your particular School’s international students office to get full information about the Tax filing information and if the School is enrolled in any of that kind of program. You can also ask the Financial Aid or Cashier’s office for some direction on whom to contact. Bottom-line, don’t just keep searching online, it is worth to call and ask quickly and get information. In fact, some schools bring in certified tax professionals to help international students with tax filing.
What if your school or University is not enrolled in any free tax program?
The school I studied in did not enroll in any kind of tax program. So, we had to look for other choices. In fact there are many volunteer organizations that have certified tax assistants to help out students, seniors and low income holders. Best place to check for these kinds of opportunities are local PUBLIC libraries. Public libraries of county or city will have certified volunteer sessions to help students. For instance, Volunteer org AARP provide free tax prep services . You should check the Public libraries Calendar to see any events. For instance, Harris county libraries free tax sessions 2010
General last date to file taxes of year 2009 in 2010 ?
April 15th, 2010.
Should I file taxes as a student even if I did not work?
Yes and NO. If you did not work and did not get paid, you do not need to file taxes. But, you still NEED to file form 8843. Check IRS Site for form 8843
Taxes are very sensitive issues and IRS will not tolerate if you miss to pay something to them or if you fail to inform them. I do not want to write much as I am not a tax expert. You SHOULD read the below articles from few Universities Websites which are written by professionals to help International students on F1 Visa to get full Information :
- Filing Taxes for F1 Students : Indiana University – Bloomington
- Carnegie Mellon University – International Students Tax filing
- American University Washington DC- F1 student Tax filing info
- IRS Tax filing information for International Students
- University of California Berkeley – Tax filing info International Students
Do NOT mess with taxes, they are very important for your future in USA either Green Card or Working on H1B visa.
Image Credits : http://www.flickr.com/photos/ovlov/3445751512/