Home Study in US [Study in the US] TurboTax tax filing tutorial, easy tax filing in 6 steps

[Study in the US] TurboTax tax filing tutorial, easy tax filing in 6 steps

by Jack
turbotax
Reading Time: 13 minutes

TurboTax tax filing tutorial. International students in the United States will face the annual tax filing season in the US. The deadline for tax filing is usually mid-April (4/15) of each year. It is recommended to check the date online, and it is strongly recommended to file in mid-February. Good tax. If you have already determined that you are filing a tax with 1040 and your tax filing status is RA (Resident Alien?), then feel free to read on!

Although there are many steps for tax filing, as long as you follow the steps step by step, you can smoothly generate the tax refund documents. This article will mention 8 common problems in tax filing for international students, and walk through the federal tax refund process once by hand. Go through the state tax process once to help you get started the first time you file a tax in the United States.

Let us make the tax filing process smoother! Jack takes your tax declaration hand in hand

Extended reading: [Study in the United States] 40 essential websites for studying in the United States

If you know that you are already a Resident Alien, then you can directly use TurboTax to file tax online!

Contents

Who is suitable for tax filing with TurboTax? 1040 tax filing or 1040-NR?

There are two main types of tax declaration forms. You must not use them wrongly. It is very troublesome to report wrong tax ! Turbotax can only generate 1040 forms. If you are a Non Resident Alien, you can only use 1040NR to file tax returns! !

(Suitable) Identity 1: Resident Alien, form 1040 for tax filing

  • Type 1: U.S. citizens
  • Type 2: Green card holders
  • Type 3: Pass Substantial Presence Test and be judged as RA

If you already know that you are a Resident Alien, you can use TurboTax online to file tax returns, or buy TurboTax software on Amazon .

You can continue reading with confidence!

(Not suitable) Status 2: Non Resident Alien, 1040-NR form for tax filing

  • Five years before holding a student visa
  • Two years before holding a visitor visa

If you are not a U.S. citizen, green card holder, or unsure, please refer to my [Study in the United States] Tax Filing for American International Students-8 Frequently Asked Questions & 7 Tax Filing Steps . There are seven steps to help you determine your tax filing status .

If you are this kind of person, please refer to my other article, I will walk you through the process hand by hand!

TurbotaxGlacier + Sprintax
Output table10401040NR
Suitable forResident AlienNon Resident Alien
Teaching articlesThis article[Study in the US] Tax filing for American international students-8 frequently asked questions & 7 tax filing steps

What tool should you use to file tax returns?

Extended reading: [Study in the US] Tax filing for American international students-8 frequently asked questions & 7 tax filing steps

U.S. international students’ tax filing, 8 frequently asked questions

1. When should I file a tax return?

Before 4/15, if you had any income from the United States that year. It is usually recommended to file your tax return in mid-February . If you do not have time to file your tax return before 4/15, you must submit the Automatic Extension of Time to File Your Tax Return to the IRS. 

2. Federal tax and state tax refund

Federal taxes and state taxes are handled in two systems:

sheettool
Federal Return1. 1040NR
2. 8843
Glacier Tax Prep
State Return1. 1040NR
2. 8843 (required if you have a spouse or children)
Sprintax

Fill in in accordance with Glacier Tax Prep, Sprintax step by step, and the form will be automatically generated.

3. Do I have to pay taxes if I am not a US citizen?

Yes, you need to pay taxes ( taxpayers living outside the United States ). Regardless of your status, as long as you have legal income in the United States , you need to file a tax return , but usually the income of American international students is not too high (RA, TA or scholarship), and the most important Is to confirm your identity:

Apply for tax refund onlinediscount
Resident foreignerresident alienCan
Non-resident alienNon-Resident Alienno! To mail the form to IRS1. Income from outside the U.S. does not need to be reported
. 2. Bank deposit interest is tax-free (W8 must be filled in)
3. FICA tax is not required

U.S. international student tax filing

Note: If you are a Non-Resident Alien, do not use Turbotax to generate 1040NR, because Turbotax “cannot” generate 1040NR! !! Super important! ! ! If I have a friend fill in the wrong one, and return E File, the whole process will become quite complicated!

All non-resident tax return forms like 1040NR, 1040NR-EZ or 8843, are available with instructions on the IRS website. You can also use software like Sprintax to guide you through the non-resident tax return preparation process.

Simple NRA, RA determination method, holding F1 for less than five years, usually NRA, the first step of Glacier or Sprintax in the following article is identification determination, so you are not sure you can enter your information in the first step of making them. See the judgment result, or refer to the detailed calculation method Tax Tips for Resident and Non-Resident Aliens .

Turbotax cannot generate 1040 NR (Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return), please use Sprintax to generate 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ

source

4. What documents do American international students need to prepare for tax filing?

  • Passport, Visa
  • I-94 Record (Entry and exit time will be required when determining NRA)
  • SSN Social Security Code (If not, Individual Tax Identification Number is required)
  • Current residential address
  • I20
  • Tax filing related forms:
    • W2
    • 1042-S (if you get a full scholarship)
    • 1099 : This refers to the interest income from bank deposits, the NRA does not

5. What counts as income?

  • Salary (including income from teaching assistantship in school)
  • Scholarship from the school
  • Interest on bank account opening rewards
  • Money earned by investing in stocks (Capital Gain, Dividend…)
  • Rental Income

Further reading: [Study in the United States] 3 steps to open an account in a bank of the United States, 4 common banks in the United States

6. What forms will American international students receive?

Form codeAnnual summary sourceIssuing agency
W-2incomeCompany or employer
1042-SScholarship or small salarySchool
1099-MISCSelf-employed wage incomeCompany or employer
1099-INVInvestment income
Dividend
Stockbrokers
Broker
Bank
1099-DIVInvestment income
Dividend
Stockbrokers
Broker
Bank
1099-INTInterest incomeDeposit bank

U.S. international student tax filing

Further reading: [Account Opening Teaching] Firstrade, an American brokerage firm, easy to open an account in 5 minutes

7. When should I receive the W2 form?

  • The statutory requirement requires employers to send W2 to employees before 1/31 . ( When do employers have to issue W-2 to employees? )
  • If you do not receive the W2 form from the employer before 2/15, please contact your employer or school as soon as possible.

8. Why do I often hear people saying that TurboTax cannot be used for tax filing?

Non-Resident AlienResident Alien
Tax return1040-NR1040
Tax filing softwareGlacier, SprintaxTurboTax
Tax filing formPrinted on paper and mailed to IRSOnline tax filing

U.S. international student tax filing

Extended reading: [Study Abroad Credit Card] Deserve Edu credit card, no SSN, easy application in 3 steps

8.1 Reason: Form 1040NR is not supported. International students need to fill in 1040NR more than five years before holding F1

US international students filing tax returns, usually five years before holding F1, will be judged as Non Resident Alien when determining their status. The state tax refund form to be filled at this time is 1040-NR (NR=Non Resident), and this form cannot be online Tax returns, but they have to be printed on paper and sent to the Internal Revenue Service Center .

While TurboTax is quite easy, and complete the form online will be automatically sent to IRS, but only support TurboTax 1040 Form ( TurboTax does not Support Form 1040NR : US nonresident Alien Income Tax the Return), and does not support 1040NR form , at the same time recommended US Nonresident Alien uses Sprintax to file tax returns .

8.2 Risk: Tax Fraud

If it is judged as US Nonresident Alien Income but fills out the tax refund form 1040, there is a risk of Tax Fraud , and the amount of tax refund is usually higher than 1040 NR, that is, it is very likely to pay less tax. If you are judged to be Nonresident Alien, you must never use Turbox . It is very important to say three times. I have more than 10 readers who have sent private messages to me. What should I do if I have used TurboTax to send it by accident? You can only ask a professional accountant to help you deal with it, usually to make up the tax.

8.3 What should I do if I have an NRA status, but I have already filed taxes with TurboTax?

You can only ask a professional accountant to help you deal with it. It is very likely that you will have to pay taxes.

Further reading: The Big Trap of U.S. Tax Filing-Remember! Non-resident aliens cannot use TurboTax to file tax returns

9. Am I Non-Resident Alien or Resident Alien?

Resident Alien

  • Type 1: U.S. citizens
  • Type 2: Green card holders
  • Type 3: Pass Substantial Presence Test and be judged as RA

If you already know that you are a Resident Alien, you can use TurboTax online to file tax returns, or buy TurboTax software on Amazon .

Non Resident Alien

  • Five years before holding a student visa
  • Two years before holding a visitor visa

If you are not a US citizen, a green card holder, or someone who is not sure, you can continue reading. The first step of the following seven steps will use the system to help you figure out what kind of status you are .

Further reading: IRS: Resident and Nonresident Aliens

What information should be prepared for tax filing

  • Passport, Visa
  • I-94 Record (Entry and exit time will be required when determining NRA)
  • SSN Social Security Code (If not, Individual Tax Identification Number is required)
  • Current residential address
  • I20
  • Tax filing related forms:
    • W2
    • 1042-S (if you get a full scholarship)
    • 1099 : This refers to the interest income from bank deposits, the NRA does not

How to choose Turbotax version?(TurboTax tax filing tutorial)

  • Free version: If you only need people who fill in W2, this is for you!
  • Deluxe version: If you buy a house and have a mortgage, this version can provide you with more tax deduction options, such as mortgage tax deduction, donation tax deduction
  • Premier version: suitable for friends who have stocks, bonds, and other investments! Or a friend who trades Bitcoin!
  • Self-Employed version: If you start your own company or become a contractor friend, this one will be more suitable for you!

In fact, don’t be afraid, fill in a few options below, and Turbotax will automatically recommend the tax filing version that suits you.

[Teaching Screenshots] TurboTax tax filing 6 steps

Step 1: Create an account and fill in basic information

Click: TurboTax, choose the option that suits you

TurboTax tax filing tutorial
TurboTax tax filing tutorial

Turbotax will recommend you the solution that suits you

TurboTax tax filing tutorial
TurboTax tax filing tutorial

Create an account

TurboTax tax filing

Fill in the user name, email and other information, create an account, and you should receive a confirmation letter in the email!

Fill in the basic information

TurboTax tax filing
TurboTax tax filing tutorial

Upload last year’s tax return form 1040

TurboTax tax filing
TurboTax tax filing tutorial

Basic marital status

TurboTax tax filing

Choose your main source of income

TurboTax tax filing
TurboTax tax filing tutorial

Choose other sources of income

TurboTax tax filing
TurboTax tax filing tutorial

Such as stock trading, dividends, bank interest, etc.!

Select the main tax deduction source

TurboTax tax filing
TurboTax tax filing tutorial

Choose another tax deduction source

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching
TurboTax tax filing tutorial

Show the first 10 steps, fill in the results, here you can check your information again!

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching
TurboTax tax filing tutorial

Agree to temporarily store our information

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching
TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching
TurboTax tax filing tutorial

Fill in your name, date, and click “Continue”

Step 2: Fill in the source of income (here, take W2 as an example)

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching
TurboTax tax filing tutorial

Fill in the Employer ID, Turbotax will try to link your W2 data, if it is an HR system cooperating with Turbotax, it will automatically bring your W2 data

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching
TurboTax tax filing tutorial

Common HR systems include ADP, Trinet, etc.

Fill in the basic information

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching
TurboTax tax filing tutorial
TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching
TurboTax tax filing tutorial

Fill in where you live here!

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching
TurboTax tax filing tutorial

Fill in the marital status, the tax declaration will be slightly different because of the marital status!

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching

Fill in whether there are children or people who need to be supported

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching
TurboTax tax filing tutorial

Fill in the mail information

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching

Income in other states

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching
TurboTax tax filing tutorial

Step 3: Report Fedal tax, four major blocks

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching
TurboTax tax filing tutorial

Block 1: Source of income

Fill in W2

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching


Fill in the employer ID

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching
TurboTax tax filing tutorial


Fill in W2 or upload W2 (here is a demonstration of manual filling!)

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching


Fill in the information according to W2

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching
TurboTax tax filing tutorial

Just follow your W2 form and fill in the numbers for the corresponding numbers!

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching
TurboTax tax filing tutorial


Show the current tax refundable by the Federal

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching
TurboTax tax filing tutorial


Confirm other status of W2

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching
TurboTax tax filing tutorial


Fill in the options for other sources of income (ready to print the form)

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching

Income summary form

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching
TurboTax tax filing tutorial

The income part is done here! ! Then there is the part of tax deduction!

Block 2: Tax deduction

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching
TurboTax tax filing tutorial

Fill in the main source of tax deduction (for example: donation)

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching
TurboTax tax filing tutorial


Fill in other tax deduction sources (for example: retirement account)

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching
TurboTax tax filing tutorial


Show the corresponding form

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching
TurboTax tax filing tutorial

Block 3: Other tax status

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching
TurboTax tax filing tutorial

Fill in other tax status options

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching

Block 4: Federal Review

Final confirmation

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching

Check 1095-A form

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching

Congratulations, this year’s tax declaration has been half completed! come on! ! !

New York Engineer Jack

Step 4: Report State tax, three major blocks

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching

Block 1: Automatically import the data just entered

Because we have just filled in a lot of information, the system will automatically bring in the basic information just now! Give him some time!

Block 2: Display the current amount

Display the current tax refund amount

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching


Show information about your state

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching


Confirm address

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching
TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching


Enter your email

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching


Check if there is any information that is different from the Federal

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching


College Tuition tax refund information

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching


Donor Information

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching


Review the current amount and details

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching

Block 3: State tax refund confirmation

Show state tax, federal tax, tax refund amount

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching

Step Five: Review

If there are still forms that have not been filled out, remember to go back and fill in

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching

Step 6: Submit and complete File

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching

Choose Turbotax plan

Options

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching

Fill in payment information

TurboTax Tax Filing Teaching

There are two options, credit card or PayPal.

Read more: [Study Abroad Credit Card] Discover IT Credit Card, a must-have card for international students in 2020

Check Refund information (bank account number)

Send out IRS

Congratulations~ for accomplishing this year’s feat!

New York Engineer Jack

Practical tax filing resources

  • IRS Tax Assistance Center (TAC) : You need to make an appointment in advance. This is the office of the IRS in each local government. Professional staff will answer your questions.
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) : IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic tax filing services. NYU Stern’s Accounting Fraternity,  Beta Alpha Psi , i provides this service.
  • TurboTax : Online tax preparation software, there are free version and paid version. The free version is suitable for users who do not have complicated tax refunds, and the paid version is suitable for people who have their own business or have income from multiple sources.

Common Q&A

1. When should I file a tax return?

Before 4/15, if you had any income from the United States that year. 
It is usually recommended to 
file your tax return 
in 
mid-February . If you do not have time to file your tax return before 4/15, you must submit the 
Automatic Extension of Time to File Your Tax Return to the IRS. 

2. Federal tax and state tax refund

Federal taxes and state taxes are handled in two systems:
Federal Return

1. 1040NR

2. 8843

Tool: Glacier Tax Prep or Sprintax
State Return

1. 1040NR

2. 8843 (if you have a spouse or children)

Tool: Sprintax fills

in in accordance with Glacier Tax Prep, Sprintax step by step, and the form will be automatically generated.

3. Do I have to pay taxes if I am not a US citizen?

Yes, you need to pay taxes ( 
taxpayers living outside the United States ). Regardless of your status, as long as you 
have legal income in the United States , you 
need to file a tax return , but usually the income of American international students is not too high (RA, TA or scholarship), and the most important Is to confirm your identity: Resident Alien or Non-Resident Alien
Note: If you are a Non-Resident Alien, do not use Turbotax to generate 1040NR, because 
Turbotax “cannot” generate 1040NR! !! Super important! 


If I have a friend fill in the wrong one, and return E File, the whole process will become quite complicated!

4. What counts as income?

Salary (including the income of teaching assistants in the school) the

school scholarship

, the interest of the bank account opening bonus, the

money earned 
by 
investing in stocks (Capital Gain, Dividend…..)

Housing rental income (Rental Income)

5. When should I receive the W2 form?

The statutory requirement requires employers to 
send W2 to employees before 
1/31 . 

When do employers have to issue W-2 to employees? )

If you have not received the W2 form from employer before 2/15, please contact your employer or school as soon as possible.

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