All about Taxes

Taxes and International Students/Scholars

Confused by taxes? You are not alone. Taxes and Internal Revenue Service regulations can be confusing for U.S. citizens, too.

But don’t worry.

To help you meet your obligations, the International Student and Faculty Office makes available a third-party software (Sprintax). For NIU-affiliated international students and scholars who use the software, NIU pays the cost of filing the 1040NR (i.e. any individuals who received US-based wages) and the cost of filing form 8843 (all international students in the U.S. must file the form 8843). Watch your email for information about filing.

Payment of costs for using the software to file any other tax forms (including Illinois state taxes and the ITIN request form) is the responsibility of the individual filer. If you want to avoid those charges, you can file those forms independently of Sprintax. 

How Sprintax Works

The Sprintax video offers a quick introduction to the getting started.

Before you get started, you will want to have available any tax-related forms (W-2, 1042-S, etc.) sent to you by NIU, any employer, or any form related to a US sourced scholarship.

After you register, you’ll respond to a series of questions and Sprintax will populate the necessary forms for you. If you earned U.S. wages during 2015, you can also choose to have Sprintax help you complete a state income tax return.

Once all of your forms are complete, you must print and mail them to the appropriate IRS address. 

FORM 8843

All international students/scholars residing in the U.S. must file the Internal Revenue Service form 8843. Form 8843 establishes the number of days that you have resided in the U.S. during the previous calendar year to determine when and if you meet the substantial presence test.

You do not need a social security number or ITIN to file a Form 8843.

To file your Form 8843:

  1. Register and follow the simple instructions
  2. Complete the online questionnaire
  3. Enter the following code in the box on the “Review your order” page: NIU2016B
  4. Sprintax will prepare your document and check if you are due a refund.

Individual Taxpayer ID (ITIN)

The ITIN is a federal tax payer identification number used by the Internal Revenue Service for any individual who is not eligible to apply for a social security number but who is required to file tax document. (You do not need an ITIN to file Form 8843).

Who needs an IITN?

Individuals who do not have a social security number but who are

  • F-1 or J-1 students receiving fellowship, grants, or other NON-wage payments (for example, scholarships) from NIU or any other U.S. source.

Applying for an ITIN

  1. Use Sprintax to complete your W-7 form and print it or download and fill out the W-7 form on the U.S. Internal Revenue Service website.
    • If you use Sprintax, you will be responsible for paying a $15.95 with a credit card. 
  2. You will need to get the documents (W-7 and supporting documents) certified by a certified acceptance agent. You can google certified acceptance agent and it will give you a list of locations in Illinois. ISFO cannot certify the documents any longer.
  3. Mail all documents to:
                             Internal Revenue Service
                             ITIN Operation
                             P.O. Box 149342
                             Austin, TX 78714-9342