An electronic news service for international students and scholars, owned by the Office of International Student and Scholar Services at Binghamton University, State University of New York
Visit ISSS on the Web! http://isss.binghamton.edu
Editor’s Note: Happy Valentine’s Day! Next Monday, February 21 will be Presidents Day in the United States, a federal holiday. Banks and Post Offices will be closed. BU classes will not be in session and most University offices will re-open on Tuesday, February 22.
The Office of International Student and Scholar Services has opened access to CINTAX, the income tax preparation software for filing your federal tax forms. E-mail messages were sent out last Friday. If you did not receive an e-mail message, go to the following link to read the message text and request a CINTAX access code: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/taxes/cintax.html
The ISSS will soon receive its supply of income tax forms. However, if you are using CINTAX, it will print all the necessary Federal forms. New York State tax forms for non residents can be accessed on line at this link: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/taxes/nysformit.html You are urged not to attempt to file the New York State income tax forms until the tax webinars are posted, which will be later this week. The tax webinars will take you line-by-line through each of the three required New York State forms. For more information on tax filing, read today’s income tax articles, below.
1. Professor Donald Quataert, Distinguished Professor of History, Has Died
Binghamton University mourns the passing of Professor Donald Quataert, Distinguished Professor History and an internationally known scholar of Ottoman labor and social history. Professor Quataert died on February 10, 2011 after battling prostate cancer. A memorial service celebrating his life is planned on campus for April 2011.
An obituary has been published by the Press & Sun-Bulletin, at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/pressconnects/obituary.aspx?n=donald-g-quataert&pid=148524390 There is also an on-line guest book at this page where those who knew Professor Quataert may write a message.
Each semester, awards of up to $500 are made to a small number of international students who have a severe financial need. To be eligible, students must be in F-1 or J-1 status, have been in attendance at Binghamton University at least one year (began their studies at Binghamton University in Spring 2010 or earlier), document need, have no outstanding obligations to the university, and be full-time students in good standing.
Some students may find themselves in financial difficulty through no fault of their own. Examples can include reduced support from a sponsor, or unanticipated expenses. Applicants are strongly advised to carefully document their financial situation when submitting the application form, as there are always more students seeking assistance than there are funds.
Students with outstanding balances in their student account with the University should note that based on BU policy, any scholarship award will first be applied towards the balance on their student bill. Applications are available now in the Office of International Student and Scholar Services and must be submitted no later than Monday, February 28, 2011.
Are you familiar with the fact sheet that the Office of International Student and Scholar Services has prepared that summarizes various sources of financial assistance for BU international students? Copies are available in the ISSS, or you can read the fact sheet on line at:
The fact sheet on financial assistance mentioned in the previous article includes information on “Off-Campus Employment Due to Economic Hardship.” This is an employment benefit available to F-1 students based on an application filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Here is a brief summary of the benefit and the requirements:
Take Note! There is a significant level of documentation that USCIS requires for this application, including:
The regulations require that students make a good faith effort to locate employment on campus before applying for employment authorization based on economic hardship.
The regulations offer examples of unforeseen circumstances which may cause economic hardship, including:
For more information, visit http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/employment/econempl.html
Now that it is February, students who have been in F-1 status for at least two complete consecutive semesters and who are interested in applying for this benefit will want to file their applications this month so that they will receive their Employment Authorization Cards from USCIS in May, in time for Summer employment. These applications must first be reviewed and processed through the ISSS.
F-1 students who believe that they meet the requirements for this employment benefit and who can furnish the detailed documentation that is required to apply are encouraged to contact the ISSS to schedule an appointment with Ms. Karen Keefe-Guzikowski, Associate Director. Questions? Send your email message to firstname.lastname@example.org
On Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 8 pm, the Opole National Philharmonic of Poland brings an exciting classical program to Binghamton University’s Anderson Center stage as part of their first American tour. The program includes works by Meniuszko, Wieniawski, Liszt and Chopin
The Opole, National Philharmonic of Poland was founded in 1947 and is considered one of Poland’s leading orchestras. The Opole has participated in many festivals and cultural events and has toured extensively throughout Europe. The orchestra was the only Polish orchestra invited to participate in the Gala Concert in Rome for the 80th birthday of Pope John Paul II.
Ticket prices: Students, $21; BU Faculty & Staff, $36; Seniors, $36; General public, $41 (Discounted tickets for groups of ten or more). For tickets and information, call 607- 777-ARTS or order on-line http://anderson.binghamton.edu
In an emergency, Binghamton University participates in the RAVE Mobile Alert System to provide students, staff and faculty emergency messages during critical incidents, including when classes are suspended due to weather conditions. Registration is voluntary and can be done through the BU-Brain portal.
This system allows you to receive emergency messages via email or as a text message to your cell phone. You choose the options for receiving messages. The system is only used for essential communication during critical incidents and is not used for other purposes. If you do not register for this system, you will not receive emergency messages. You are strongly encouraged to register for RAVE to stay informed during urgent situations. Visit
https://www.getrave.com/login/binghamton For more information on RAVE, visit:
You must register for the service to receive it. Registration is free of charge!
If you’re like many Binghamton University ESL students, you may find that, for a variety of reasons, you have few opportunities outside of class to hear English being spoken and to speak it yourself. This lack of opportunities to practice English may slow down your learning of the language and perhaps prevent you from doing your best work in your courses. What can you do about this situation? One answer is to participate in the English Conversation Pairs Program.
In this program, a native English speaker and a non-native English speaker will join to form a conversation pair. Each pair will meet together approximately once a week, perhaps over lunch. These meetings will give the non-native speakers opportunities to practice spoken English and to ask questions about puzzling aspects of the language and American culture. In return, the native speakers will get a valuable chance to learn more about a culture different from their own.
There will be one organizational meeting Wednesday February 23rd at 4:45pm in the Old University Union Room 111, where you will meet your partner. After that, each pair will decide when and where they will meet. If you join this program, you should be committed to spending one hour a week in conversation with your partner, even if you are busy. You should also plan to call your partner sometimes to arrange your meetings; don’t let your partner do all the work!
To fill out an application online visit http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YRFZRSW
If you have any questions about this survey please contact the English Conversation Pairs Director Shannon Hilliker-VanStrander at email@example.comApplications are due by Tuesday, February 15th!
Are you an undergraduate student who loves Binghamton University and want to tell others about it? Applications to become a campus tour guide are now available at the Undergraduate Admissions Office, front desk in Academic A. are due by 5 p.m. Friday, March 4. If you have questions: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
The international health insurance team has developed a PowerPoint presentation to help you better understand your health insurance. The presentation is used during international student orientation and is very well received. To view the presentation, visit the Health Insurance web pages at: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/health-insurance/index.html
Or click on this direct link.
Do you have questions about your international health insurance? Please contact the ISSS health insurance team at email@example.com
Have you received an e-mail that is similar to the one below?
We offer the opportunity for home workers, nationwide to perform entry-level assignments. Our company is committed to providing quality, professional services to our clients.
We seek honest, self - motivated people with a desire to work in the home typing and data entry field area. The preferred applicants should be at least 18 years old. No experience is needed. Average weekly earnings start at $1000 to $3000 in the first couple weeks and increases as you continue to work with our agency.
You will not have to devote full time hours. These assignments can be done on your time. They may be done in Internet cafes or where ever you can get Internet access.
If you are interested in making money using your computer at home or at school just reply to my email!”
Work from home job postings are everywhere. There are listings for data entry jobs, research positions, multi-level marketing opportunities, and a variety of other ways to make a lot of money fast. In fact, there are so many of them that work at home schemes are on the (U.S.) National Consumers League's list of Top 10 Frauds.
Most work-at-home jobs don't guarantee regular, salaried employment. Many neglect to mention that you have to work many hours without pay. Others require that you spend your own money for products or instructions before finding out how the offer works. And the "work" may entail getting others to sign up for the same job--which continues the fraud. Work-at-home scams have cost victims thousands of dollars.
For international students, “working from home” even if the opportunity was from a legitimate company, requires prior authorization. Since federal regulations governing F-1 and J-1 students only permit employment if certain criteria are met, the vast majority of F-1 and J-1 students cannot accept employment that involves “work-at-home.”
If you have a question whether or not a job opportunity is legal, always contact the Office of International Student and Scholar Services, firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Office of International Student and Scholar Services is frequently asked by students about the H-1B “specialty occupations” visa and the special US Master’s quota of 20,000 H-1B visas available each year. This quota is in addition to the usual 65,000 H-1B visas available.
To be eligible to use the US Master’s quota, you must have been awarded your US Master’s degree at the time your H-1B petition is filed, or have completed all of your graduation requirements at the time your H-1B petition is filed. If you will not have all of your graduation requirements completed before the April 1, 2010 H-1B filing date, then you will not be eligible to use the US Master's quota for H-1B visas. You are still eligible to be considered under the larger, regular visa quota if you have at least a Bachelor’s degree at the time of filing.
If you are a currently enrolled graduate student who has not yet been awarded the Master’s degree, but you will have all of your Master’s degree requirements completed before April 1 (including thesis or project), then your department will need to submit the necessary certifications to the Graduate School on or before that date, and then the Graduate School's secretary for Graduate Degree Completion will be able to provide you with a letter verifying that you have completed all requirements for your degree.
The ISSS will be offering its annual workshop on “Post Graduation Employment Issues” on Friday, April 8 at 4:00pm in Academic A Room 08. Our guest speaker will be nationally known immigration attorney Stephen Yale-Loehr from the law firm of Miller Mayer in Ithaca, New York. Watch for an upcoming announcement in ISSS-BU News.12. Income Tax Information: Using CINTAX
Remember that the deadline for filing tax forms this year is April 18, 2011.
Why isn’t the deadline April 15? It is because this year, “Emancipation Day” in the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C. falls on April 15. Therefore, the entire country receives an extra 3 days to file their income tax forms.
A number of students have asked questions about CINTAX. This is a web-based tax preparation product designed for use by international students and scholars who are attending US-colleges and universities. Several hundred US schools provide CINTAX for their students’ use. The ISSS purchases a yearly license for CINTAX and then makes it available free of charge to eligible international students and scholars. CINTAX is for any international student or scholar, and their dependents, who was in the United States for some portion of calendar year 2010 and needs to file an income tax form as a non-resident for tax purposes.
Non-residents are F-1 and J-1 students who have been in the United States for five or fewer years in that status (entered the United States in F-1 or J-1 status in 2006 or later), and J-1 scholars/faculty who have been in the United States for two or fewer years (entered the United States in J-1 scholar/professor status in 2009 or later).
Even if you earned no U.S.-source income during 2010, you still need to file an income tax form. Non-residents with no U.S.-source income just need to file federal form 8843. Non-residents with U.S. source income will need to file either federal form 1040NR EZ or federal form 1040NR (CINTAX will automatically select the correct form for you). All of these federal forms can be completed by using CINTAX.
If you have not yet requested your CINTAX access code so that you can start using CINTAX, just visit the following link: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/taxes/cintax.html
In the January 24, 2011 issue of ISSS-BU News, we cautioned our readers to not be hasty in filing their income tax forms. You can read the article at: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/isss-bu-news/2011/jan242011.html#eleven
Be sure you have Wage and Tax Statements (form W-2) from all of your 2010 U.S. employers before filing your income tax forms. Also, if you will be issued form 1042-S, you cannot file your income tax form until the 1042-S arrives.
If during calendar year 2010 you were employed in New York State and had state income tax withheld that you would like to have refunded to you, OR if you were employed in New York State and earned more than $7500 from all income sources (even jobs outside of New York State) during 2010, you must file a New York State tax return as well. The New York State forms that non-residents file are form IT-203, IT-203B and IT-2. In the next week, ISSS will be posting income tax webinars that provide line-by-line instructions for completing the New York State forms.
The ISSS website contains helpful information on income tax. Visit http://isss.binghamton.edu and click on “taxes.”
The ISSS has received some excellent questions from students who have started to use CINTAX. Since the answers may be of interest to our readers, we are presenting edited versions of those questions below.
I thought I could fill and send income tax forms on-line. Do I have to come to the ISSS? Why should I use CINTAX if I need to come to the ISSS?
Non-resident income tax forms (for those in F or J status for five or fewer years, since 2006 or later) cannot be filed on-line. The U.S. government offers the on-line filing option for resident tax payers only. CINTAX computes your tax liability, pre-fills the required federal income tax forms, allows you to print the forms for postal mailing, and provides instructions for mailing the forms. The ISSS will have the paper versions of the non-resident income tax forms available, for both federal and New York State filing. But, if you use CINTAX, you will not need the paper federal forms. Plus, CINTAX does all the tax computations for you.
I did register for CINTAX, but I don't understand what CINTAX is. How will CINTAX help me submit the required tax forms. Do I need to pay to use CINTAX? Can I just submit my tax forms myself?
CINTAX is a non-resident tax preparation software that is used by students and scholars at hundreds of colleges and universities in the United States. Binghamton University purchases a license each year so that BU international students who are eligible to file as non-residents can comply with their income tax obligations. CINTAX is offered to BU international students and scholars for free, and removes much of the complexity of completing income tax forms by taking the income tax information you provide and doing all the work for you. While you can attempt to complete your income tax forms yourself, most students find it to be a very complicated process and appreciate the convenience of using CINTAX.
Last semester I received a tuition scholarship as part of my funding as a graduate assistant. Will I receive a form 1042-S for the tuition scholarship? Do I need to report the tuition scholarship as income on my tax return?
Tuition scholarships are neither taxable nor reportable as income. So, you do not report your tuition scholarship as income, nor will you receive any tax form for your tuition scholarship. At Binghamton University, students do not receive a tuition scholarship as income. Instead, it is listed as a credit on your student semester bill.
I am a research assistant and I filed my tax return for 2010 using CINTAX software. The calculated tax that I have to pay is $256.00. Why do I need to pay more federal tax when such tax was already withheld from my paycheck?
There may be several reasons why a student may owe additional income tax. If the student is from a country that has no tax treaty with the United States, then depending upon the amount of money earned, the student may owe additional tax. Or, if too little tax was withheld from a student’s earnings during the year, the student may owe tax. Lastly, if a portion of a student’s earnings came from income that was not taxed at all, then taxes may now be due on that portion of earnings that were not taxed at the source.
Students who have already obtained a CINTAX access code and are using the product and find that they have technical questions are encouraged to write to the CINTAX help desk at email@example.com Replies are usually received within 48 hours.
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Last Updated: 3/13/12