FILING TAXES WITH ISP
All international students must file taxes by law, even if you did not work or receive income. To file taxes with ISP you need to
1. Determine your residency status.
2. Complete Glacier Tax Prep (GTP), THE DAY BEFORE you come to ISP (federal taxes).
3. Schedule an appointment with an ISP tax tutor. Complete an Intake Form 15 MINUTES BEFORE your appointment.
4. File taxes for other states as needed.
5. Check whether Social Security and Medicare were wrongly withheld from you.
6. Check whether you are eligible for a rental refund.
1. Determining Residency Status
ISP staff is only trained to assist Non-Resident Aliens for Tax Purposes, which include:
- F-1 students whose presence in the U.S. does not exceed 5 calendar years (this often applies to current students and alumni one year after graduation, unless they were in the U.S. before Macalester).
- J-1 students/scholars whose presence in the U.S. does not exceed 2 calendar years.
If your presence in the U.S. exceeds the time frames mentioned above and you are a Resident Alien for Tax Purposes, see the green box below. Glacier will tell you what your tax residency status is. If you are still unsure, check with ISP.
2. Completing Glacier Tax Prep (GTP) Before ISP Appointment
- GTP is an online tax preparation site to prepare your federal taxes. It does not file your taxes for you--it only prepares the documents to be sent by mail.
- You should have registered for Glacier in the fall of your first year and created your username/login. If you don't remember it, click "forgot login."
- Use a password that is easy to remember or write it down.
What forms do I need to complete Glacier Tax Prep?
- W-2 (income statement): If you worked in 2016 (any paid job in any state), you will most likely have received a W-2 from your employer(s). If you worked at Macalester and chose to receive your W-2 electronically, log into 1600Grand>Employment tab>Tax Forms>W-2; print 1 copy. Make sure you print landscape or part of the form might get cut off; otherwise bring the one that you got in your SPO. Contact your employer if you have not received your W-2.
- 1042-S (income statement): If you have room and board scholarships, this form will be available on the first page of Glacier Tax Prep under a red button named "Print/View my 1042-S." If this button is gray or do not see this button, you do not have a 1042-S. If you worked at Macalester and confirmed that your country has a tax treaty with the U.S., you may receive a 1042-S instead of a W-2.
- Taxable Grant Memo and/or scholarship tax information: Depending on your financial aid, this might have been sent to your SPO or the home address that Macalester has on file. Just make sure to check your SPO and bring these with you when you come to ISP.
- Travel Documents: passport, I-20, travel history from I-94 site.
- Social Security Number (if you have one, i.e., if you've ever worked for money in the U.S.)
- Any other income statements you may have received (e.g., 1099). You should have one per employer (e.g., one for Macalester and one for your internship).
- Bank account information (account and routing number), in case you will receive a refund.
How do I complete Glacier Tax Prep?
2. Click the green button "Complete my US Tax return using GTP."
3. Click through and complete all personal information.
4. For country of tax residence, most students will put the country of your passport. If in doubt, talk to ISP.
5. On the page "Information about your visits to the US," refer to your passport stamps or I-20 to get arrival dates. Yes, you must put accurate dates. You can also look up your travel history from the I-94 site, although it may not be complete. After you submit it, GTP will tell you your residency status on a page that says "You are a Non-Resident/Resident for Tax Purposes." You are not able to put 2016 dates because this is only relevant up to the 2016 tax year.
6. On the page "Income Statements" copy all your tax forms into the appropriate yellow fields, exactly how they appear on paper. Most students have a W-2 and a 1042-S, but you may also have only one or the other, or none. If you had paid internships in Minnesota or out of state, you will have one W-2 per workplace. If your employer considered you an independent contractor, then you may receive a 1099-MISC. You should have one income statement from each employer. You may have also received another type of 1099.
If you don't know where to find these forms, see "What forms do I need to complete Glacier Tax Prep?" above.
7. On the next page, when asked about your tax treaty, click "I want to claim the maximum amount of exemption." You may also want to check the summary of your tax treaty to make sure it is the best option for you. If your country doesn't have a tax treaty, this page may not appear.
8. On the page "Institution that Sponsored your Immigration Status," put Aaron Colhapp as the designated school official and telephone number 651-696-6078.
9. On the page "Additional Information" (you can check your previous federal tax documents on Glacier):
- Did you ever make estimated tax payments? No.
- Have you ever filed a previous tax return? If you didn't file US taxes last year, no. If you did, yes. Most students completed the 1040NR-EZ.
- On your 2015 Form 1040NR-EZ, were you eligible for a tax refund that you instructed the IRS to keep the money and apply to any refund that you may have in 2016? No.
- Did you claim the tax treaty benefit? If you haven't filed taxes before, no. If you did, hopefully you put yes last time, so yes.
- Do you have any dependents? No, unless you have children or a spouse.
- Did you pay any interest? This may apply to those of you who graduated and started paying interest on your student loans. Check Form 1098-E that you should have already received.
10. If you are due a refund, GTP will ask you how you would like to receive your tax refund. We recommend direct deposit as a faster and easier route. Make sure you know your account and routing numbers. This may take any time between a month and a year.
12. Click the green button that says "print forms." Print 1 SINGLE SIDED copy. You cannot print in Kagin or ISP. If you have a 1042-S, print ONE COPY SINGLE-SIDED from Glacier. Note: These are NOT the "Tax Summary" forms.
Congratulations! You have finished your federal forms through Glacier Tax Prep.
3. Scheduling an appointment with ISP Tax Tutor
You need to come to ISP to review and file your federal taxes (which were prepared on GTP) as well as file state taxes (MN for all, other states for some). Open the tax calendar to see available appointments:
- Click on an available slot. If you worked in another state during 2016, book two consecutive slots with the same tax tutor (and look in the next tab for more details).
- Replace "(add your name here)" with your first and last name. Do not delete the name of the tax tutor. For example, it should read "Alexa with Kofi Annan."
- In the Description field, write the state(s) where you earned income in 2016. If you did not work anywhere in 2016, write "did not work."
- Click Save.
- Make sure you have finished Glacier THE DAY BEFORE your appointment.
- BEFORE YOUR APPOINTMENT complete and bring the intake form. Either complete it online and print it out, pick one up from ISP, or come 15 minutes early to your appointment and fill it out at ISP. If you are unsure about any of the questions, you can ask your Tax Tutor at the start of your appointment.
- Bring the following to ISP to your appointment:
- 1 SINGLE SIDED COPY of your Glacier forms
- Any applicable tax forms (W-2, 1042-S, 1099, etc)--see where to find these above
- Social security number
- Financial aid letters (memos) you might have received in your SPO
- Bank account information (account and routing number), in case you will receive a refund
- The intake form (OR come in 15 minutes earlier to fill it out at ISP)
- Show up to your appointment on time at ISP! If you are late, you will have to reschedule. If you are unable to finish your taxes in 30 minutes, you will have to schedule another appointment.
MAKE SURE YOU DO GLACIER THE DAY BEFORE YOUR APPOINTMENT.
IF YOU DON'T COMPLETE THE INTAKE FORM BEFORE YOUR APPOINTMENT, COME TO ISP 15 MINUTES EARLY TO DO THAT.
4. Filing Taxes for Other States
If you worked in any other state during 2016 (e.g., Explo in Massachusetts) you may need to file taxes for that state as well. In that case, book two consecutive slots (for an hour total) with the ISP Tax Tutor designated for that state.
5. Social Security and Medicare Refunds
Non-residents for tax purposes, or F-1 students who have been in the US for less than 5 calendar years are not subject to Social Security and Medicare tax withholding. If your employer accidentally withheld Social Security and Medicare from your pay, you are entitled to a refund claim. Always check your W-2 for that! Sometimes even Macalester does it by mistake. You should FIRST contact your employer for reimbursement. Read the "Withholding Social Security and Medicare Taxes" sheet and feel free to share it with your employer. If you are unable to get a refund from the employer, file a claim for refund with the following completed forms and supporting documents:
Important: In form 843, line 6 (labeled "Original Return") is a common place for error. Note that the appropriate box to be checked in that item is 941 and NOT 1040. Similarly, the "Type of tax" in line 3 should be "Employment" and not "Income."
2. Attach photocopies of:
- Form 1040NR-EZ or 1040NR for the tax year in question
- Form I-94 front and back
- Form I-20 pages 1-2 (1-3 for the old I-20), with page 2 (3 for the old I-20) showing the name and address of the employer that withheld social security and Medicare from you
- Valid visa
- If relevant, the Employment Authorization Document of your OPT or Severe Economic Hardship work permit
3. Mail to Internal Revenue Service Center, Austin, TX 73301
6. Rental Refund
If you paid rent in 2016, depending on your income and many other variables, you may be eligible for a Renter's Property Tax Refund. This is very rare for Macalester students since they don't usually meet the income requirements (scholarship, loans or money from families may be considered income). See more information on the Renter's Property Tax Refund page of the Minnesota Revenue website.
W-4 FORM INSTRUCTIONS
If you accept paid employment through on-campus work-study or off-campus job (with the required immigration authorization through ISP), then your employer will require you to complete a W-4 form. This form will enable your employer to figure out how much income tax to withhold. When completing the W-4, it is important that you consult the following list of instructions. Also, be sure to understand your tax status, explained below, as an international student.
Non-Resident Aliens (NRA) for Tax Purposes, which include:
- F-1 students whose presence in the U.S. does not exceed 5 calendar years (this often applies to current students and alumni within the calendar year of graduation, unless they were in the U.S. before Macalester).
- J-1 students/scholars whose presence in the U.S. does not exceed 2 calendar years.
Non-residents for tax purposes, or F-1 students who have been in the US for less than 5 calendar years are not subject to Social Security and Medicare tax withholding. If your employer accidentally withheld Social Security and Medicare from your pay, you are entitled to a refund claim. Always check your pay stub and/or your tax income statements for accidental withholding by your employer! Sometimes even Macalester does it by mistake. You should FIRST contact your employer for reimbursement. Read the "Withholding Social Security and Medicare Taxes" sheet and feel free to share it with your employer. If you are unable to get a refund from the employer, file a claim for refund with the the forms and supporting documents noted in the section above, "Filing Taxes: Step 5. Social Security and Medicare Refunds"
Important Information for Completing Your W-4
Line 2: You are required to enter a social security number (SSN). If you do not have an SSN, you must apply for one through Form SS-5, the Application for a Social Security Card. Access the SS-5 Form through the Social Security Administration (SSA) website, or contact any SSA office for more information. Note: you cannot enter an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN).
Line 3: Check the single box regardless of your actual marital status.
Line 5: Generally, you should claim one "withholding allowance." The more allowances you claim, the less income tax will be withheld from your paycheck. If you are a resident of Canada, Mexico, or South Korea, a student or business apprentice from India, or a U.S. national, you may be able to claim additional withholding allowances for your spouse and children (if applicable). See Publication 519 for more information. If you are completing Form W-4 for more than one "withholding agent" (for example, you have more than one employer), write down the total number of allowances you are entitled to claim. Your withholding usually will be most accurate when all allowances are claimed on the Form W-4 for the highest-paying job and zero allowances are claimed on the others.
Line 6: Write “nonresident alien” or “NRA” on the dotted line. If you would like to have an additional amount withheld, enter the amount on line 6.
Line 7: Do not claim that you are exempt from withholding on line 7 of Form W-4 (even if you meet both of the conditions listed on that line).
If you are contracting with your employer, then you need to complete the W-8BEN. U.S. citizens use W-9s in this situation.
For more information, consult the IRS website.
You MUST schedule an appointment with a tax tutor to file your taxes with ISP. Print and complete your Intake Form beforehand OR come 15 minutes early to complete it!
Filing for 2016 taxes deadline has passed. Deadline for filing 2017 taxes is April 15, 2018.
For more information on why you file taxes, residency status, tax treaties, Glacier and more, see the Employment Services International Visitor Tax Instructions (FAQs).
Publication 519 - U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens is also a useful source of information for preparing your tax returns.