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ISSS-BU News 05 March 2012 ISSS-BU News


An electronic news service for international students and scholars, owned by the Office of International Student and Scholar Services at BinghamtonUniversity, State University of New York

Visit ISSS on the Web!   http://isss.binghamton.edu

 

Editor’s Note: Next Sunday, March 11, 2012 begins “Daylight Savings Time.” So, you’ll want to remember to set your clocks ahead one hour before going to sleep on Saturday night, March 10, so that you’ll be all set for the start of Daylight Savings Time on Sunday, March 11.

Photos from the Spring 2012 New Student Welcome Dinner have been posted on the ISSS Facebook page. Check them out and see who you recognize! While you’re there, please “like us.”

CONTENTS:
1. This Week’s Travel Question: If my F-1 student visa stamp is expiring, do I need to go home?
2. Important Workshop on Post-Graduation Employment Issues Wednesday, March 21
3. 2012-13 Scholarship for BU Undergraduate International Students: Preference for South Korean Students
4. Income Tax Information: Using GLACIER Tax Prep
5. Income Tax Information: Students’ Questions About GLACIER Tax Prep
6. Public Speaking Skills Lab Now Open
7. Two Important Income Tax Reminders!
8. Important Notice From Student Accounts Regarding Fall 2012 Early Registration
9. Applications are Now Available for The Rosa Colecchio Travel Award for Dissertation Research Enhancement
10. Email Scam - Avoid Green Card Lottery Fraud

1. This Week’s Travel Question: If my F-1 student visa stamp is expiring, do I need to go home?

Staff in the Office of International Student and Scholar Services are frequently asked this question. In many countries, the visa stamp inside the passport controls not only your ability to enter the country, but also the length of your stay. But, in the United States, the rules are different. A F-1 or J-1 student visa stamp can expire, but students may legally remain in the United States as long as they have an unexpired passport, unexpired I-20 and are registered full time at the school they are authorized to attend, or on authorized post-completion Optional Practical Training (F-1) or Academic Training (J-1). A new visa is required only if you will travel outside the United States and plan to return.

Here is the actual U.S. government regulation as written by the U.S. Department of State. “CFR” stands for Code of Federal Regulations.

22 CFR

§ 41.112 Validity of visa.

(a) Significance of period of validity of visa. The period of validity of a nonimmigrant visa is the period during which the alien may use it in making application for admission. The period of visa validity has no relation to the period of time the immigration authorities at a port of entry may authorize the alien to stay in the United States.

So, you do not need to worry about your visa stamp expiring as long as you are in the United States.

2. Important Workshop on Post-Graduation Employment Issues Wednesday, March 21

What may be the most important immigration workshop offered this year will be held Wednesday, March 21 at 5:00pm in Academic A, Ground Floor, Room G08. Will you be seeking employment in the United States after graduation? Do you have questions regarding H-1B visas, labor certification, PERM and employment-based permanent residency? Are you confused about the H-1B “cap” and the “cap gap?” How long are H-1B visa numbers likely to last, and what is the earliest date for submitting an H-1B petition with an October 1, 2012 start date? What about those 20,000 extra H-1B visa slots for those with U.S. master’s degrees or higher? What is going on with H-1B placement agencies, the deemed export attestation requirements, and are there any issues if you travel into the United States with a new H-1B visa? You do not want to miss this workshop!

Learn about your options under U.S. immigration law from special guest and featured speaker, immigration attorney Rosanne Mayer from the law firm of Miller Mayer LLP in Ithaca, New York. This workshop is sponsored by the Office of International Student and Scholar Services.

3. 2012-13 Scholarship for BU Undergraduate International Students: Preference for South Korean Students

The Office of Financial Aid Services announces that applications are now being accepted for the 2012-13 Stanley Prep Scholarship for BU undergraduate international students. The scholarship is sponsored by Stanley Prep. To apply, students must meet the following criteria:

1) Be an undergraduate student enrolled full-time at BU with demonstrated academic merit (GPA of 3.5 or higher)
2) Preference for a student of South Korean descent (others may apply but students from South Korea are given first preference)
3) Must participate actively in school activities. Candidates are required to submit an essay describing their involvement in student activities at BU, along with a copy of their resume. You will also be asked which (if any) Korean Studies coursework you have taken at Binghamton University.

Go to this link for the required application cover sheet, which must be submitted with the essay and resume: http://www2.binghamton.edu/financial-aid/pdf/stanley-prep-scholarship.pdf

Deadline for submitting: Friday April 6, 2012 at 4:00pm to the Financial Aid and Student Records Office, Student Wing Room 109, or by fax to 607-777-6897 or by email to finaid@binghamton.edu

4. Income Tax Information: Using GLACIER Tax Prep

Remember that the deadline for filing tax forms this year is April 17, 2012.

Why isn’t the deadline April 15? It is because this year, April 15 is on a Sunday (not a “business day” in the United States), and “Emancipation Day” in the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.) falls on April 16. Therefore, the entire country receives an extra 2 days to file their income tax forms.

A number of students have asked questions about GLACIER Tax Prep. 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 GLACIER for their students’ use. The ISSS purchases a yearly license for GLACIER and then makes it available free of charge to eligible international students and scholars. GLACIER is for any international student or scholar, and their dependents, who was in the United States for some portion of calendar year 2011 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 2007 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 2010 or later).

Even if you earned no U.S.-source income during 2011, 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 (GLACIER will automatically select the correct form for you). All of these federal forms can be completed by using GLACIER.

If you have not yet requested your GLACIER access code so that you can start using GLACIER, just visit the following link for instructions: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/taxes/glacier.html

In the January 23, 2012 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/2012/jan232012.html#link9

Be sure you have Wage and Tax Statements (form W-2) from all of your 2011 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 2011 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 2011, 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. The ISSS has posted income tax webcasts that provide line-by-line instructions for completing the New York State forms at this link: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/taxes/webworkshp.html

The ISSS website contains helpful information on income tax. Visit http://isss.binghamton.edu and click on “taxes.”

5. Income Tax Information: Students’ Questions About GLACIER Tax Prep

The ISSS has received some excellent questions from students who have started to use GLACIER Tax Prep. Since the answers may be of interest to our readers, we are presenting edited versions of those questions below.

Question
I thought I could fill and send income tax forms on-line. Do I have to come to the ISSS? Why should I use GLACIER if I need to come to the ISSS?

Answer
Non-resident income tax forms (for those in F or J status for five or fewer years, since 2007 or later) cannot be filed on-line. The U.S. government offers the on-line filing option for resident tax payers only. GLACIER 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 GLACIER, you will not need the paper federal forms. Plus, GLACIER does all the tax computations for you.

Question
I did register for GLACIER, but I don't understand what GLACIER is. How will GLACIER help me submit the required tax forms. Do I need to pay to use GLACIER? Can I just submit my tax forms myself?

Answer
GLACIER 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. GLACIER 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 GLACIER.

Question
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?

Answer
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.

Question
I am a research assistant and I filed my tax return for 2011 using GLACIER 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?

Answer
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 GLACIERaccess code and are using the product and find that they have technical questions are encouraged to write to the GLACIERhelp desk at support@glaciertax.com Replies are usually received within 48 hours.

6. Public Speaking Skills Lab Now Open

The Binghamton University Public Speaking Skills Lab has re-opened!

Sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs, this lab is available for students to practice and improve their public speaking skills. Students are encouraged to use the lab to prepare for presentations in both classroom and professional settings. Our new state of the art equipment allows trained undergraduate interns to videotape each student and provide an immediate oral and written assessment about their performance. Following their appointment, students are sent a digital copy of their video recording. The Public Speaking Skills Lab provides a unique opportunity for students to improve their proficiency in this much needed skill area.

Students can make half hour appointments for a maximum fifteen minute presentation, leaving the rest of the time for assessment. Students may come with a prepared presentation or visit the lab to practice impromptu speaking skills. Feedback includes evaluation of all areas of the presentation including structure, body language, filler words and more. Our main focus is not on the content, but rather the delivery of the presentation.

The Public Speaking Skills Lab is located in the Chenango Champlain Collegiate Center (C4) building, Discovery Center, room 101B. More information about the lab is available through the webpage : www.binghamton.edu/public-speaking. Students may make appointments by clicking on the front page link.

Please contact speakinglab@binghamton.edu

7. Two Important Income Tax Reminders!

The Office of International Student and Scholar Services reminds students and scholars that if you are filing non-resident tax forms (forms 8843, 1040NR EZ or 1040NR), you cannot e-file (electronically file)! You must print your non-resident tax forms and mail them by post. If you use GLACIER Tax Prep, the web-based income tax preparation product for non-residents, GLACIER will provide a pdf file containing your tax forms and instructions for mailing.

Remember that once you do your federal forms by using GLACIER, and if you need to file New York State income tax forms, use the ISSS income tax webcasts that take you line-by-line through the three required NYS forms for non-residents (IT-2, IT-203 and IT-203B). Since you cannot e-file your federal, non-resident tax forms, you also cannot e-file New York State forms.

The ISSS website has the link to the New York State tax forms needed by non-residents, as well as the webcasts to show you how to fill them out! Although GLACIER does provide a link to the New York State Income Tax website within their product, you will find it much less confusing if you use the ISSS web links:

New York State Tax Forms and Publications: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/taxes/nysformit.html

Income Tax Webcasts: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/taxes/webworkshp.html

8. Important Notice From Student Accounts Regarding Fall 2012 Advance Registration

Any outstanding balance on your Student Account the must be paid or cleared at least 24 hours prior to your Fall 2012 early registration time. Please do not wait until the last minute to resolve any outstanding debts in order to ensure that you will be able to register at your priority time. You can view and/or pay any balance due by visiting http://bubrain.binghamton.edu. Find the "Student Tools" menu. Click on the "Student Accounts" menu. Click on the "QuikPAY-Web Payments" and re-enter your username and password.

9. Applications are Now Available for The Rosa Colecchio Travel Award for Dissertation Research Enhancement

Programs are invited to encourage students to apply for the Rosa Colecchio Travel Award for Dissertation Research Enhancement. Only doctoral students who have been admitted to candidacy are eligible to apply. The travel award must enhance the dissertation in a way that would not be accomplished otherwise. Supported activities may include travel for research dependent upon:

* library materials not obtainable through regular channels
* archival materials
* other original source materials
* techniques, equipment, and methodologies not available on this campus
* opportunities to carry out extraordinary field research

This program cannot be used for travel to a professional meeting.

Applicants may request up to $300. One or more awards, depending on availability of funds, are made each year. Requests are reviewed by an Advisory committee of faculty appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School. Awards are based on consideration of well-presented and justified need, and the merit of the project. Application forms are available on the Graduate School website and are due in the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School by March 28. Awards are announced April 20.

This program is funded through an endowment established by the family of Rosa Romano Colecchio with the Binghamton University Foundation.

10. Email Scam - Avoid Green Card Lottery Fraud
Have you or someone you know recently received an e-mail claiming you’ve won the Green Card lottery and asking you to send or wire money?

Don’t fall for it – the sender is trying to steal your money!

Fraudsters will frequently e-mail potential victims posing as State Department or other government officials with requests to wire or transfer money online as part of a “processing fee.” You should never transfer money to anyone who e-mails you claiming that you have won the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery or been selected for a Green Card.

Read the Fraud Alert at:

http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_1749.html

DV-2013 applicants will not receive a notification letter from the U.S. government but must check their status online. DV Entry Status Check will only be provided through the Department of State secure online site, http://www.dvlottery.state.gov.

Learn more at: http://blog.uscis.gov/2011/03/e-mail-scam-avoid-green-card-lottery.html

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Last Updated: 12/13/12