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All international students must submit tax forms to the federal government each year, even if you have not made any income.
From January through March you will receive important tax documents about the prior calendar year. Make sure to store these in a safe place until you receive further instructions from the ISSO.
By the end of March, the ISSO will send you more information about filing for taxes. Each year, we also purchase Glacier Tax Prep (GTP), a software program that will help you prepare your taxes for filing with the federal government. Login information for that program will be sent to you by email in March, and the cost of federal filing is covered by the ISSO. This information will go out to any international student who was enrolled during the prior calendar year (including graduated students, students on leave, and students studying abroad).
If you do not want to utilize GTP, there are other options!
Sprintax is another company that will help you to prepare your non-resident taxes online, and they can process MA state tax returns, too. A federal tax return starts at $35.95, and state tax returns start at $25.95. Massachusetts state returns are generally required for students living off-campus, or for those who have earned income exceeding $8,000 in a given tax year. Smith scholarship money reported on a 1042-S form is generally considered exempt as MA state income.
UMass' Isenberg School of Management offers free in-person tax preparation services from February through early April. Find more information about their Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program here.
Alternatively, you can hire a Certified Public Accountant locally to prepare your taxes. Just make sure they're familiar with non-resident tax preparation, and be aware that their services can often cost $150-300+.
Lastly, you can prepare your taxes on your own. All necessary forms are publicly available on the Internal Revenue Services website.
Common Tax Forms
Listed below are common tax forms you may receive in the mail.
Form W-2 is provided to you by each of your employers and documents your wages and earnings if you were employed or had a paid internship at any point during the tax year. It shows how much money has been withheld from your paycheck. If you were employed by Smith, this form can also be accessed and printed via BannerWeb. Save this form for when you file your taxes.
Form 1042-S documents any scholarship earnings that count as income for federal taxes. Save this form for when you file your taxes.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Forms (1095 B and 1099 HC)
Forms 1095 B and 1099 HC document your health insurance coverage if you have Smith health insurance with Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthcare.
You will likely first receive a letter asking you to report your Social Security Number, after which you will receive a state form, the 1099 HC, and a federal form, the 1095 B. Both of these forms report your coverage for the year. Follow the instructions in the initial letter to report your Social Security Number online if you have not already done so, and keep these forms for when you file your taxes.
Form W8-BEN is often sent from your bank and documents any interest that your bank account may have accrued. You will need to sign the form and return it to your bank.