The Questions

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  1. Can Berkeley International Office help me file my taxes?
  2. Do I have to file a tax return?
  3. What is the deadline to file tax forms?
  4. What should I do if I am unable to file my tax form by the deadline?
  5. There is a tax treaty between the U.S. and my country. Should I file a tax form?
  6. How can GLACIER Tax Prep help me file taxes?
  7. How do I access GLACIER Tax Prep?
  8. Does GLACIER Tax Prep offer software support?
  9. What are some of the typical forms I may receive for tax filing purposes?
  10. Do I qualify as a resident alien or nonresident alien for federal tax purposes?
  11. I'm an F-1/J-1 student with no U.S. income or scholarships for 2016. Should I file?
  12. I arrived in the U.S. in December 2016 and didn't work. Should I file Form 8843?
  13. Does my F-2 or J-2 dependent need to file a tax form?
  14. Do I need to file a Form 8843 for my US citizen child?
  15. I worked in 2016 but returned to my home country. Should I file taxes in the U.S.?
  16. What should I do if I didn't receive Form W-2 from my employer(s)?
  17. Who will receive the form 1042-S from the University?
  18. What should I do if I didn't receive Form 1042-S from the University?
  19. Can I submit my tax forms electronically through GLACIER Tax Prep?
  20. Do I have to file taxes with the state of California?
  21. Do I have to file taxes in California if I did not earn income?
  22. What are the consequences of not filing?
  23. I filed my tax report and am expecting a refund, but haven't received it.

The Answers

1. Can Berkeley International Office help me file my taxes?
Berkeley International Office staff are not tax experts and cannot provide tax advice. To assist our clients, Berkeley International Office has purchased GLACIER Tax Prep (GTP).  GTP is a user-friendly tax preparation software created specifically for international students and scholars who are nonresident aliens for tax purposes.  GTP will help you navigate U.S. federal tax forms, residency status, tax treaties, exemptions, and deductions.  GTP is accessible from around the world.

2. Do I have to file a tax return?
International students and scholars who have been in the U.S. for any portion of 2016 must file an annual tax report by the following year's tax filing deadline. International students and scholars should access GTP to determine their tax filing requirement. You may be required to file taxes with the State of California as well. Income that is taxed includes wages, scholarships and earnings on investments. (A complete list of taxed income may be found in IRS and state tax guides.) The most common type of income is wages; the money withheld from each paycheck is an estimated payment of the federal and state income tax obligation. This money is sent by the employer to the IRS and Franchise Tax Board in the employee's account (the account number is the Social Security number). Taxable scholarship payments may have some amount withheld similar to wages. Investment income (not including bank interest) rarely has an amount withheld in advance, the applicable tax is paid when filing the tax forms.

3. What is the deadline to file tax forms?
If you received taxable income, the deadline is April 18, 2017. If you had no US income and are only filing IRS Form 8843, the deadline is June 15, 2017.  The deadline refers to the date the envelope is postmarked by the post office.

4. What should I do if I am unable to file my tax form by the deadline?
If you need more time, you can file Form 4868 to request an automatic extension of time until August 15. You will not be notified if the extension request is approved, it is automatic.  If you owe any taxes, you must still mail the estimated tax payment by April 18 or you will be assessed penalties and interest as of April 17 on any payment owed. Be sure to sign and date the forms and keep copies for your records.

5. There is a tax treaty between the U.S. and my country. Should I file a tax form?
Yes, since you were present in the U.S. during 2016 you are required to complete and file a tax form.

6. How can GLACIER Tax Prep help me complete my tax forms?
GLACIER Tax Prep includes a tax resource library AND a comprehensive tax preparation program that:

  • Calculates the substantial presence test to determine the foreign national's U.S. tax residency status
  • Checks each type of payment against any applicable tax treaty to ensure that the individual takes advantage of any tax treaty benefits
  • Completes the correct U.S. federal income tax form - either Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ
  • Prepares any additional statements or attachments, as applicable - Form 2106, Form 8843, Schedule C, and/or Scholarship/Fellowship Grant Statement
  • Prints the federal tax return and all additional attachments (please note, the IRS does not allow nonresident aliens for tax purposes to file a tax return electronically)
  • Provides detailed instructions about how, when and where to submit the tax forms, as well as information about the required documents to attach and complete the tax return filing process.

7. How do I access GLACIER Tax Prep?

  • Current students or scholars who received a 1042-S from UC Berkeley:  
    Follow the instructions in the email sent from glacieradmin@berkeley.edu.
  • Students or scholars who never received funding from UC Berkeley, received a 1042-S but are no longer in the U.S. or only received a W-2:
    Request access with our Google Form.

  • Students or scholars who never received any income from a U.S. source:  Follow the online presentation.

8. Does GLACIER Tax Prep offer software and tax support?
Yes.

9. What are some of the typical forms I may receive for tax filing purposes?
Some of the forms you may receive from UC Berkeley, your employer or other sources are: 1042-S, W-2, 1099-INT, 1099-MISC, 1098-T. For more information about the specific forms, see Tax Forms

10. Do I qualify as a nonresident or resident alien for federal tax purposes?
The GLACIER Tax Prep program will ask you a series of questions based on the substantial presence test to determine your residence status for federal tax filing purposes. If you qualify as a nonresident alien for tax purposes, you can use the GTP program to assist you with federal tax filing. If you qualify as a resident alien for tax purposes, you cannot use the tax preparation software in GLACIER Tax Prep but you can still use the resource library to navigate filing your taxes as a resident alien. You can also file your taxes with a tax preparation company such as H&R Block or Turbo Tax. Generally, tax treaties do not apply to individuals who qualify as resident aliens for tax purposes, there are of course, exceptions. For more information on exceptions consult the GTP library regarding closer connections. Resident aliens for tax purposes file taxes in the same manner as U.S. citizens and residents. See also nonresident vs. Resident

11. I'm an F-1/J-1 student with no U.S. income or scholarships for 2016. Do I need to file anything?
All nonresident aliens for tax purposes, in F or J status, are required to complete Form 8843 with the IRS regardless of whether payment was received or not. This also includes dependents in F-2 and J-2 status regardless of age. This form can be completed by participating in one of the "nonresident Taxes for F and J Visa Holders with No Income" workshops and webinars. For dates and times, see Tax Workshops Schedule.

12. I arrived in the U.S. in December 2016 and I didn't work. Do I still have to file Form 8843?
All nonresident aliens for tax purposes, in F or J status, are required to complete Form 8843 with the IRS regardless of whether payment from an employer was received or not.

13. Does my F-2 or J-2 dependent need to file a tax form?
Yes, anyone in F or J status, present in the U.S. and a nonresident for tax purposes are required to complete a tax form. If your F-2 or J-2 dependent did not earn any income, they would be required to fill out the Form 8843. J-2 dependents who received an EAD, and earned an income, may be required to complete additional tax forms. They would be eligible to gain access to GLACIER Tax Prep to assist in the federal tax form process.

14. Do I need to file a Form 8843 for my US citizen child?
No, if your child is a US citizen and did not earn any income, no tax forms need to be completed.

15. I worked in 2016 but returned to my home country. Must I file taxes in the U.S.?
Yes, all students or scholars who were in F or J status, a nonresident for tax purposes and were present in the United States in 2016 must file a tax report for that year. Ask your employer to mail the Form W-2 to your home country address or explain how you may access it online. If you overpaid federal tax, the IRS can mail a refund check overseas.

16. What should I do if I didn't receive or if I lost the Form W-2?
If you have not received Form W-2 or Form 1099-R, or received an incorrect form or information, contact your employer. You may not have received the form because of an incorrect or incomplete address. Be sure to verify the address used if already mailed. If the form was returned to the employer because of an incorrect address, or never mailed, and the employer intends to issue or re-mail, allow a reasonable amount of time for this action to occur before calling the IRS for help.  Students or scholars who were employed at UC Berkeley and did not receive their W-2 Form should email payhelp@berkeley.edu.

If you have requested the W-2 from the employer but have not received your Form(s) W-2, the IRS will help you obtain the missing form(s). Call 1-800-829-1040. Be prepared to provide your name, address (including zip code), phone number, Social Security Number, and dates of employment and the name, address (including zip code), and phone number of the employer. For additional information, see Tax Topic 154, "Form W-2 - What To Do if Not Received" on the IRS website.

17. Who will receive the form 1042-S from the University?

  • A student or scholar who was employed and was exempt from tax withholding under a tax treaty.
  • Any nonresident alien student or scholar who received a taxable fellowship/scholarship/grant stipend.
  • Any nonresident alien who received a non-employee service payment.

18. What should I do if I didn't receive Form 1042-S from UC Berkeley?
The UC Berkeley payroll office will distribute Form 1042-S no later than March 15. If you currently have a GLACIER record you should be able to find your 1042-S within the record.  If you expect to receive a Form 1042-S and have not received it by March 15, please contact the Payroll Office by emailing glacieradmin@berkeley.edu. Not all students and scholars will receive a Form 1042-S.

19. Can I submit my tax forms electronically through GLACIER Tax Prep?
No, nonresident aliens for tax purposes cannot file tax reports electronically. Once you provide GLACIER Tax Prep with all of the required information, the system will auto-fill the appropriate tax forms. To complete the tax filing requirement, you must print the forms and mail them to the address provided on the instruction sheet on GLACIER Tax Prep. The address will depend on the form(s) you are filing. California state taxes must be filed with the California Franchise Tax Board.  The address is available on the appropriate California tax form.

20. Do I have to file taxes with the State of California?
The State of California (through the Franchise Tax Board) requires an annual report of income, and assesses tax on the same type of income that is taxed by the federal government. Individuals who earned less than the minimum filing requirement do not have to file, however if any tax was withheld by the employer the individual would want to file a return in order to be refunded for the withholding.

21. Do I have to file taxes in California if I did not earn income?
Unlike federal rules, California does not require an annual tax report from those who made less than the minimum filing requirement or had no income at all. Visit the Individual Filing Requirements section of the California Franchise Tax Board for more information.  If you do not have a filing requirement but had taxes withheld from your income, the only way you can get your money back is to file a California tax return and get a refund.  A California Franchise Tax Board representative will present a tax workshop and online webinar in March. Students or scholars who are considered a resident for California state tax filing will complete and file California Tax Form 540.

22. What are the consequences of not filing?
Payment of income tax due is not voluntary, it is required by law. One of the conditions of your visa is to comply with US law. If you owe taxes and don't file, the IRS can assess penalties, interest and seize U.S. bank assets for repayment. Fines and penalties can often amount to more than the original tax debt. There can also be immigration consequences for failing to file taxes. Applicants for permanent residency or "green cards" are frequently asked to show proof of tax filing for previous years in the U.S.

23. I filed my tax report and am expecting a refund, but haven't received it.
Go to Where's My Refund? to track your refund. Where's My Refund? will usually have information about the refund three to four weeks after filing a paper return. Check weekly, on Wednesdays, for any updates to your refund information.