Tax Preparation for International Students and Scholars: An Introduction

A Brief Introduction to Tax Preparation and Filing in the United States

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the U.S. government agency which collects taxes. It is the responsibility of each student/scholar to understand and meet their tax obligations in the United States. Understanding, preparing, and filing taxes can be challenging, even for most Americans and U.S. residents.  Many in the U.S. rely on the work of tax specialists and tax-preparation software, to help prepare their tax forms.  

To address these challenges International Place provides access to Sprintax, a specialized online software, to help prepare tax documents for international students and scholars.

The tax preparation information on this website is meant to provide a simple introduction to tax preparation for international students and scholars at The Claremont Colleges, as well as to provide free resources for our students and scholars. The staff of International Place are not tax specialists; and are not able to provide qualified advice on these matters. If the information offered below (including that which is available through Sprintax) does not meet your needs, we strongly encourage you to contact a qualified tax professional who specializes in taxes for “non-residents for tax purposes”.

An Introduction to Sprintax: Non-Resident Tax Preparation

Each year International Place provides software to help our international students navigate the challenges and intricacies of tax preparation. Sprintax Non-Resident Tax Preparation is software designed specifically for international students, scholars, teachers and researchers in the U.S. on F, J, M and Q visas, to make tax preparation easy and to ensure they are fully compliant with the IRS tax rules.

We encourage all international students and scholars at The Claremont Colleges to take advantage of Sprintax to prepare their taxes. Please note that each person is unique and Sprintax may not be suitable for a small number of our international students who have been in the United States for longer than 5 years.All international students and scholars should log-on to Sprintax to determine eligibility.  

This semester, Sprintax professionals will visit campus on March 27 and present a workshop to help international students navigate the use of Sprintax to prepare their taxes. See more info below.

Eligible Claremont Colleges international students and scholars may request an access code to file their 2018 taxes from International Place starting February 15, 2019. See below for more information.

How To Use Sprintax

Using Sprintax is easy! For a general overview of how to use Sprintax, please click here. The first step will be to request a Sprintax Access Code from International Place (starting in mid-February).  Next, you will be required to create an account (if you are a new user), or log into your existing Sprintax account. If you are having trouble accessing an existing Sprintax account, or creating a new Sprintax account, please contact Sprintax directly for assistance.

Once you have logged-on to Sprintax the software will ask you a number of questions to customize your experience, and to help accurately populate the documents that may be produced for you.  It will also determine if you are eligible to use Sprintax to prepare your taxes, or if you need to use a different type of software (for those considered “residents-for-tax-purposes”).

International Place provides complimentary access to Sprintax Non-Resident Federal Tax Preparation and Form 8843, only.

A note on State Taxes: Sprintax will help determine whether or not you are responsible for preparing and filing state taxes.  If you are directed to prepare state taxes, you may choose to pay Sprintax to prepare your state taxes, on your behalf. Please note that International Place only provides access to Sprintax Non-Resident Federal Tax and Form 8843 Preparation.

A note on the “Credit Card” payment to Sprintax: For students simply preparing their Federal Taxes and/or the Form 8843, there will be a field to enter the Sprintax Access Code, which you will receive from International Place. No additional fee will be charged.

How Sprintax Works: Introductory Video

The video below provides a quick overview of how Sprintax works. It lasts only a few minutes and demonstrates how easy it is to use Sprintax.

What Sprintax Can Do For You

All Claremont Colleges international students and scholars may access Sprintax for the following:

  • Determine your “residency for tax purposes”
  • Non-resident federal tax preparation
  • Built-in knowledge of over 350 different types of tax deductions
  • 65 international tax treaty agreements and exemptions covered
  • Maximum legal tax refund for federal, state & medicare (*Please see note regarding state taxes below).
  • US tax compliance guaranteed

State Tax Preparation: Sprintax can also conduct non-resident state tax preparation, for an additional fee paid by the student.  The majority of Claremont Colleges international student are not obliged to file state taxes.  Please use Sprintax to determine your State Tax Filing obligation.

ITIN Application Information: For students who are not eligible for a Social Security Number Sprintax can help prepare the ITIN application, for an additional fee paid by the student.

Request a Sprintax Access Code from International Place

International Place provides complimentary access to Sprintax Non-Resident Federal Tax Preparation and Form 8843 for current international students and scholars of The Claremont Colleges, as well as international students and scholars who have completed their program in 2018.

International students and scholars from the following colleges may request an access code: Claremont Graduate University, Claremont McKenna College, Keck Graduate Institute, Pitzer College, Pomona College, Scripps College.

International students and scholars at Harvey Mudd College will be receiving support from HMC on tax-filing. Please contact Evelyn Real at for more details.

The deadline to request an access code is Friday, April 12, 2019.

Please note that the access code from International Place does not cover the cost for filing state taxes. If you are directed to prepare state taxes, you may choose to pay Sprintax to prepare your state taxes, on your behalf.

What Information Might You Need To Prepare Your Tax Return

  • Passport
  • US Entry and Exit Dates for current and all past visits to the US
  • All tax forms (if you received any), including Forms W-2, 1042-S and/or 1099
  • Visa/Immigration Status information, including Form DS-2019 (for J visa holders) or Form I-20 (for F visa holders)
  • Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
  • If you do not have an ITIN, Sprintax can help you get one!
  • If you are using Sprintax for State Tax Returns(s) preparation only, you will need a copy of your already prepared Federal Tax Return (for the current and previous years, if you filed any)
  • Please note that you do not need Form 1098-T in Sprintax.

Residents for Tax Purposes

If Sprintax determines that you are to be classified as a “resident-for-tax-purposes”, and therefore ineligible to use Sprintax, you may consider the following options:

Please note: Only use the options in this section if Sprintax determines that you are a “resident-for-tax-purposes.” Using the options listed in this section may not take your international student/scholar status into account, and may incorrectly calculate your tax liability.

Where to Find Additional Help

*Please note that it is far easier to contact Sprintax in the early part of tax season, when fewer people may be doing the same.  The closer to Tax Day, the more congested their Live Chat and telephone lines.  We recommend preparing your taxes as soon as you are able.

Helpful Links

Sprintax Access Code Request Form

Sprintax Non-Resident Tax Preparation

Sprintax Frequently Asked Questions – International Student Taxes

The International Revenue Service (IRS) International Tax Payer Page

California State Taxes