Different from the U.S., there’s no policy-oriented tax refund for individuals in my home country. That’s why I always look forward to April 15th. However, “whomever said that truth never hurts never had to fill out a Form 1040”. Filing tax forms can be really frustrating. Although I was able to make it with the guidelines provided by International House for many years, it’s still rewarding to come to the workshop about taxes this week, presented by SangHee Jeong, program coordinator at IHouse.
The U.S. taxes include taxes on income, payroll, property (cars are counted as property in North Carolina), sales, capital gains, etc. Taxes are collected by the federal government, states, and some local governments. In North Carolina, we need to file two tax forms: the federal tax form and the state tax form.
* Non-residents vs Residents
Once we pass the substantial present test, we are considered to be residents in the States. This may include the situation that a F1 student visa holder stays in the U.S. for more than 5 tax years or a J1 scholar visa holder stays in this country for more than 2 tax years. Tax year is counted from January 1st to December 31st. That is, if we first arrived in August 2015, then the first tax year would be from August 2015 to Dec. 31st, 2015. Tax forms are different for non-residents and residents. The information provided by International House are mainly for non-residents.
* Who Needs to File Federal Tax Return?
All non-resident (NR) for tax purposes, whether or not have taxable income, are required to file tax return forms. No-taxable-income NRs only need to file Form 8843. If we have any taxable income, we need to file both Form 8843 and Form 1040NR/1040NR-EZ.
* Tax Treaty
The U.S. has income tax treaties with some countries that provide benefits to their residents. Duke Corporate Payroll Service provides full detailed instructions and tax treaty forms. We may fill out these forms at the end of every year to claim tax exemption for the next tax year, or claim them on tax refund forms. Tax treaty forms are not filed to Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
* Checklist (include but not limited to the followings)
1. Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
2. W2 form (issued by January 31st after the tax year we file for)
3. 1042-S form (issued by March 15th after the tax year we file for)
4. 1099 forms (issued by January 31st. These include forms for interest, dividend income, sales of stock and other property. The most common one we may receive is 1099-G for state tax refund.)
North Carolina State Tax
* Who Needs to File NC State Tax Return?
If we meet the filing requirement chart or if we believe we are eligible for a refund from NC State, we are supposed to file NC State tax refund.
* State tax form – D-400
No matter we are non-residents or considered as residents, all of us file the same state tax form: D-400. There are a couple individual income tax changes made after the tax year 2014, such as the amount of standard deduction. And the state tax rate will be different for each year. Be sure to have a printout of 1040NR-EZ/1040-NR, W-2, and/or 1042-S before we start.
* International house websites provide comprehensive information on both federal tax and state tax. IHouse will give out free Sprintax access codes on a first-come-first-serve base starting from March 2016.
* Duke Corporate Payroll Office (contact Debbie Endsley, International Tax Payroll Coordinator at email@example.com)
* Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
* North Carolina Department of Revenue.
“America is a land of opportunity. Everyone can become a taxpayer.” While you’re seeking every opportunity on this amazing land, don’t forget to keep an eye on your mailbox and mark down the tax day on your calendar.