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Get Ready to File Your Tax Documents


All tax filers with U.S. source income (including scholarships and fellowships, as well as on or off campus employment) will need either a Social Security Number (SSN) for employment based income or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) for income not based on employment, to file a tax return.  

Reporting your SSN or ITIN to UNC. If you have (or when you get) an SSN or ITIN, students must report your number in person to the Registrar’s office or Payroll, who will update your student record, which will in turn update your information in the payroll system. Do not every email a copy of your SSN card or put your number in an email!

Collecting Your Documents

Before you begin to prepare your tax return, you will need to collect all applicable IRS forms (e.g, W-2 form, 1042-S form, etc.). If you did not receive any U.S. source income in 2019, you will not receive an income statement and can complete submit the IRS form 8843 with or without help from Sprintax If you are a non-resident for tax purposes.

If you had U.S. source income you will get one or more forms that show the type, source and amount of income. Do not file your 2019 tax return until you have received all of your income statements.

  • Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement - issued by the end of January for wages earned.  This may be mailed or available from your employer online.  Questions about your UNC W-2 can be referred to Payroll.
  • Form 1042-S, Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding - issued by March 15, 2020 for stipend, non-qualified scholarship, fellowship income, prizes and awards, as well as for income covered by a tax treaty.  UNC's General Accounting office issues 1042-S forms in early to mid-March in most years.  If you have not received yours by about March 21st, or if you have questions, please reach out to our Tax Accountant.
  • Form 1099-MISC - issued by the end of January for certain payments made to U.S. Citizens, U.S. Permanent Residents and Resident Aliens for tax purposes. Yale will send you your 1099-MISC by email. (Note that some companies may issue this instead of a 1042-S for some income, as the rules have recently changed, and companies may not be aware)
  • Form 1098-T -  Nonresident aliens for U.S. tax purposes (those individuals filing an 1040NR or 1040NRWEZ form) are generally not eligible to claim any of the education related tax credits or deductions for which the Form 1098-T is intended.  For nonresident aliens, it serves as documentation only.
  • 1099INT, for interest earned on checking/savings accounts.  This is not reportable income for nonresident aliens for tax purposes, so does not need to be reported on your tax forms.

If you are eligible for a W-2 and a 1042-S form, you must wait until you have all your income statements before you begin preparing your tax return. Depending on your individual circumstance, you may have more than one type of income statement or multiple forms of the same kind (for instance, if you have two employers during the year, you may would have 2 W-2 forms).

When you receive any tax related forms, check that your name and SSN/ITIN are correct on these income statements. If they are incorrect, you will need to contact the issuer.

Tax Treaties

The U.S. has income tax treaties with several other countries. Under these treaties, citizens or residents of foreign countries may be eligible for a reduced income tax rate or be exempt from U.S. income tax on some U.S. sourced income. These reduced rates and exemptions vary among countries and specific items of income.

If you take advantage of tax treaty benefits, it is important to be aware that you will be liable for taxes on your U.S. based income in the treaty country.  Since U.S. tax rates are lower than many countries, you should carefully consider whether or not using the tax treaty benefits is actually to your advantage.  We recommend discussing it with a tax professional.

Preparing Your Federal Tax Return

Sprintax tax preparation software for UNC international students and scholars who are nonresident tax filers. The software helps users prepare all of the paper forms needed for federal tax filing, which will need to be printed out and shipped to the IRS.   It is important to make a copy of your documents before shipping.

If you are a nonresident for tax purposes:

If you received no U.S.-based income in 2019, you will need to fill out only form 8843. Print, sign and mail to the address indicated in the instructions.  Each F-2 or J-2 dependent must also complete an 8843. You do not need an SSN or ITIN to file form 8843 unless you are a J-2 or F-2 dependent eligible to be claimed as exemptions on a U.S. income tax form.

If you had U.S. source income, you will need to fill out a 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ form AND the 8843 form.
Form 8843 Information & Form
Form 1040NR Information & Form
Form 1040NR-EZ Information & Form

Preparing Your State Tax Return

You may also be required to file taxes in Colorado any other states where you received income.  We are unable to provide guidance on state returns, however, Sprintax can prepare your Colorado return and/or returns for other states.  The additional cost to you is about $30 per state return.

More information about Colorado income taxes is available from the Colorado Department of Revenue.

Print, Sign, Copy, Ship

Whether you use Sprintax to generate your forms or fill out the forms yourself, you must print, sign and date the forms, attach the appropriate copies of your income statements, make copies for your records, and follow the instructions given to ship them to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If you owe money, make your check payable to the United States Treasury. IF you have income, the deadline for filing the 2019 return is Wednesday, April 15, 2020.

Keep Copies!

It is important to make and keep copies of what you file every year.  If your return is audited and there is a problem, in case it is lost, in case the IRS makes a mistake.  You can save the PDFs to your computer or print an extra copy .  Keep all of your U.S. tax records for a minimum of 7 years, however, if you think you might ever want to become a permanent resident or U.S. Citizen, we recommend keeping copies forever.

Where's My Refund?

If your tax forms indicate you should get a refund for federal income tax purposes, it will take the IRS some time to process your refund--sometimes 16 to 20 weeks) before receiving your refund or a notice. You can check the status of your refund online at the IRS website.  We have found it is often quicker to use direct deposit rather than receiving a paper check in the mail from the IRS.


This information is intended only for international students and scholars who are nonresident alien taxpayers with income sources and level typical of students and scholars . Although the information contained in this site has been reviewed carefully and should be adequate to assist most international students and scholars, it is not a substitute for advice obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or a qualified tax professional. If your visa status has changed in the past year, or you believe you have a complicated tax issue, please consult the IRS or a qualified tax professional.

In addition, while the tax preparation software, Sprintax is being provided to help you with your tax filing obligations, you are individually responsible for verifying that the correct information has been entered into the tax preparation software and included on all forms and/or other documents printed or derived from the tax preparation software, and ultimately responsible for any errors or omissions.