Tax Filing Instructions

Complete Your 2020 U.S. Tax Filing Obligations

If you were physically present in the United States in 2020, you are required to file at least one federal tax form to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

In addition, if you earned U.S. source income in 2020, you may be required to file a state tax return to the state tax agency of where you resided in 2020.

OGS has purchased a license for Sprintax to help F-1 and J-1 students and scholars complete their tax forms. Sprintax can assist you in determining which federal tax forms you need to prepare and if you are required to file a state tax return.

Read the steps below to complete your 2020 tax filing obligations.

Before proceeding with the steps below, please be sure to visit the 2020 Tax Year Unique Considerations section of the OGS Tax FAQs page to see if your 2020 tax filing obligations were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Steps to File

Georgetown international students and scholars who held active F-1 or J-1 status anytime in 2020 received an email from OGS on Monday, February 22, 2021 titled “OGS Tax Website Now Live! Complete Your 2020 Legal U.S. Tax Filing Requirement”. Included in the email was your Sprintax promo code.

Sprintax promo codes are available on a first come, first-served basis and will be applied during payment checkout. Students and scholars are responsible for paying the Sprintax state tax return preparation fee on their own, if they are required to file a state tax return.

If you were never in the United States in 2020 and are either 1) still outside the United States or 2) received active F-1 or J-1 status after January 1, 2021, you may not have any 2020 U.S. tax filing obligations. But, you may be subject to taxation in your country of residence in 2020.

If you held another U.S. immigration status in 2020, you will need to refer to your sponsor or consult with a tax preparation specialist (PDF) for more information to learn more about your 2020 U.S. tax filing obligations.

If you held active F-1 or J-1 status anytime in 2020 and are not able to find the above referenced email or think that you are eligible for a Sprintax promo code, please contact internationalservices@georgetown.edu.

If you are unsure of your 2020 U.S. tax residency status, or if your U.S. immigration history is complex, please use Sprintax to determine your U.S. tax residency status.

If you were physically present in the United States and earned no income in 2020
Collect the following documents:

  • Copy of Form I-20/DS-2019
  • Copy of Passport Information Page
  • Copy of Visa
  • Most Recent I-94 Record

If you earned any U.S. source income in 2020
Collect the same documents listed above.

Additionally, you may receive one, multiple or all of the forms below. Be sure to have all income forms collected before preparing your federal and state tax returns. For more information on what each form represents or how to receive a form, please click on the corresponding link below:

For more information about income document issuance in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit the OGS Tax FAQs 2020 Tax Year Unique Considerations section.

Note: If you are a resident for tax purposes, income earned anywhere in the world is subject to U.S. taxation. You will need to collect supporting foreign source income documents in addition to the applicable U.S. source income documents mentioned above when preparing your federal and state tax returns.

If you were physically present in the United States and earned no income in 2020, it is not required to have a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to file the Form 8843.

If you received U.S. source income in 2020, you need to have either a SSN or ITIN to file your federal and state tax returns.

SSN: If you were ever a paid employee in the United States, you should already have an SSN. If you were a paid employee in the United States but do not have an SSN, please contact your IS Advisor for assistance. Additionally, please visit the OGS Tax FAQs 2020 Tax Year Unique Considerations section.

ITIN: If you received U.S. non-employment income (e.g. non-service stipend, scholarship award above tuition and fees, honoraria, etc.), then you will not be eligible to apply for an SSN and will need an ITIN. Sprintax can assist you with filing an ITIN application (Form W-7) in tandem with your federal tax return.

Use Sprintax to determine your 2020 U.S. tax residency status and file tax forms. First-time users will need to create a new account. If you have used Sprintax before, please login with your existing account.

Nonresidents and residents have different tax forms to file, as well as different tax credits and deductions. Residents do not have access to tax treaty benefits, but there are exceptions. Please visit the OGS Tax FAQs U.S. Tax Residency Statuses section for more information.

Sprintax will ask for your U.S. immigration history to determine if in 2020 you were a nonresident for tax purposes or resident for tax purposes. 

Access Sprintax Now (new window)

If Sprintax determined in 2020 you were a: 

Nonresident for Tax Purposes: Please continue using Sprintax to complete your U.S. tax filing obligations.

  • If you earned U.S. source income in 2020, please have your U.S. source income documents ready to compile your Form 1040NR (federal tax return). In addition to your federal tax return, you may be required to submit a state tax return to the state where you resided in 2020. 
  • If you were physically present in 2020 and earned no U.S. source income, please have your U.S. immigration history ready to compile your Form 8843.

For nonresident tax filing assistance, contact Sprintax at hello@sprintax.com or log into your Sprintax account to chat live with an agent. Additionally, you may contact the IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center or a qualified tax specialist (PDF).

Note: Nonresidents for tax purposes have different tax filing obligations than U.S. citizens and residents for tax purposes. Due to this, do not use U.S. commercial tax preparation software like TurboTax, H&R Block and TaxAct to assist with federal and state tax form filing. Using software designed for U.S. citizens and residents will prepare the wrong tax forms. If you earned U.S. source income in 2020, the aforementioned software will calculate your income tax liability incorrectly.

Resident for Tax Purposes: Sprintax will refer you to its resident tax preparation partner, TurboTax, to complete your U.S. tax filing obligations. However, any U.S. commercial tax software such as TurboTax, H&R Block and TaxAct can be used to complete your U.S. tax filing obligations.

  • If you earned income in 2020, please have your U.S. and any foreign source income documents ready to compile your Form 1040 (federal tax return). In addition to your federal tax return, you may be required to submit a state tax return to the state where you resided in 2020. 
  • If you were physically present in 2020 and earned no income, then as a resident for tax purposes, you do not have any tax filing obligations.

For resident tax filing assistance, please contact the U.S. commercial tax software company directly. Additionally, you may contact the IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center or a qualified tax specialist (PDF).

While Georgetown does not have any partnerships with U.S. commercial tax preparation software companies, the IRS has partnerships with the above and other companies to prepare federal tax returns free of charge if qualifications are met. Some companies also offer free state tax return preparation; others may charge a fee. Residents can visit the IRS Free File page to research if they qualify for free federal/state tax return preparation.

Based on your 2020 tax residency status, how you file and send your tax forms will be different. Be sure to make a copy of your tax form submissions before sending to the IRS and state tax agency, if applicable.

Nonresident for Tax Purposes
If you earned U.S. source income in 2020:

  • Federal Tax Return: You must send your federal tax return to the IRS by May 17, 2021. Please refer to the Sprintax instructions to e-file* or mail your federal tax return to the correct address. If being sent by mail, your documents do not need to be received by that date. Keep a copy of your federal tax return for your personal tax records.
  • State Tax Return: You must mail your state tax return and supporting income documents to the corresponding state tax agency by May 17, 2021**. They do not need to be received by that date. Keep a copy of your state tax return for your personal tax records. Please refer to the Sprintax instructions to send your state tax return to the correct address.

If you were physically present in the United States and earned no income in 2020:

  • Form 8843 and supporting documents should be mailed by June 15, 2021. to the below IRS address. They do not need to be received by that date. Keep a copy of your Form 8843 for your personal tax records. Please refer to the Sprintax instructions to send your Form 8843 to the correct address.

Resident for Tax Purposes

  • Federal Tax Return: You must e-file* your federal tax return to the IRS by May 17, 2021. Be sure to have a confirmation email from your tax preparation software that the IRS has received your return. Keep a copy of your federal tax return for your personal tax records.
  • State Tax Return: You must e-file* your state tax return to the corresponding state tax agency by May 17, 2021**. Be sure to have a confirmation email from your tax preparation software that the state tax agency has received your return. Keep a copy of your state tax return for your personal tax records.

Notes

*If the tax preparation software believes that there may be a problem or discrepancy in your federal or state tax return, you will receive an email to correct the error. That email is not a confirmation that the IRS or state tax agency has received your tax return.

**Maryland state tax return deadline is July 15, 2021.

Additional Resources