Until now, all of ISSS-BU's income tax resources have focused on F-1 and J-1 students who are non-residents for tax purposes; those who have been in F or J status for five years or less. This information is for those F-1 and J-1 students who entered the U.S. in 2007 or earlier, or J-1 scholars who entered the U.S. in 2010 or earlier, and therefore file as residents for tax purposes.
Need assistance with your resident tax forms? There are a number of resources available to you. If your total earnings for 2012 were less than $57,000, you can file both your Federal and your New York State income tax forms for free using special income tax software. Access Free File at http://www.irs.gov or http://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/efile/freefile_eligibility1.htm
Free assistance with resident tax forms only is offered through the VITA volunteer program of AARP at the Broome County Public Library, 185 Court Street in downtown Binghamton. The hours are: (by appointment only) Monday – Saturday (closed Sundays) from 10am to 1pm. To request an appointment, call 211 or (800) 901-2180 from 8:30am to 4:00pm. There is also walk-in assistance available at the Oakdale Mall, near Ruby Tuesday’s Restaurant. These are walk-in hours from 10am to 2pm on Tuesdays - Fridays. After March 15, the days will be Tuesdays-Thursdays. The volunteers at the Broome County Library and at the Oakdale Mall are NOT trained to assist with non-resident tax matters, nor are they trained on such issues as tax treaties.
Resident income tax filers can also purchase income tax software such as Turbo Tax or Tax Cut, which will complete both your federal and state forms, from stores such as Staples, Barnes and Noble, Walmart, or on-line. There are also paid preparers in the local community who can assist you including H & R Block and Jackson Hewett.
If you have been in F-1 or J-1 status for more than five years, you need to file form 1040, or its shorter versions; 1040A or 1040EZ. Residents with income should also file New York State tax form IT-201. Residents for tax purposes must report all world-wide income, including bank interest. However, residents for tax purposes can also list spouses and children as dependents, and therefore claim a greater number of exemptions and deductions.
In addition to the personal exemption of $3800, residents for tax purposes can also claim the standard deduction, which for a single person is $5950 for tax year 2012! Residents may also claim certain tax credits, if they meet the eligibility requirements. These credits include child care, earned income, and education credits. Graduate students who are eligible to file as residents for tax purposes may be especially interested in the lifelong learning education credit.
For more information on education credits, obtain IRS publication 970 "Tax Benefits for Higher Education." It can be found on the World Wide Web at the IRS Forms and Publications site; http://www.irs.ustreas.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p970.pdf
Remember that these benefits are only available to F-1 and J-1 students who have been in the U.S. in those statuses for MORE than five years
Last Updated: 2/15/13