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Vanderbilt University Vanderbilt International Services and International Tax (VISIT)

VISIT e-Newsletter:  February 2012

 

                            ALL ABOUT TAX !                              

 

International tax issues have dominated VISIT's time since the start of 2012 so it seemed fitting to devote this month's newsletter to tax....  

 

New International Tax Database (Windstar)

VISIT is happy to announce that access  our new international tax database "Foreign National Information System" (Windstar) is now available to all international persons receiving US payments.  We certainly had a few, unanticipated setbacks in getting our data migrated into the new system but we're comfortable that most of the information is there and accurately recorded.

All international persons who had a record in our previous database will receive an e-mail providing login information and instructions on accessing Windstar.  If you have not received an e-mail, please contact VISIT immediately so that we can rectify the problem. 

Tax Filing Information for Non-Resident Aliens

The annual tax filing season began in January 2012 but for international person who need a Form 1042-S, the tax filing season does not begin until the 1042-S is received.  All 1042-S forms must be mailed no later than March 15th and VISIT expects them to be available from our vendor shortly before this date.  An e-mail will be sent when the 1042-S is available.

All Vanderbilt employees, students, scholars with a non-immigrant visa  who have earned income from U.S. sources during 2011 are required by Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to file a federal income tax return.  As in previous years, VISIT has purchased the tax preparation software and it is available, free of charge, to all Vanderbilt employees, students, scholars and their immediate family members (spouses and minor children).  The tax preparation software that VISIT has purchase is called Foreign National Tax Resource (Windstar (FNTR)) and it is available at https://trr.windstar.com/.  Additional information about accessing Windstar (FNTR) and obtaining assistance with the software program is below.

PLEASE NOTE THAT Windstar (FNTR) CAN ONLY BE USED BY PERSONS WHO ARE NON-RESIDENT ALIENS FOR TAX PURPOSES AND PERSONS WHO ARE RESIDENT ALIENS FOR TAX PURPOSES MAY USE ANY OF THE NUMEROUS TAX PREPARATION SOFTWARE PROGRAMS AVAILABLE TO US RESIDENTS.  ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON TAX PREPARATION ASSISTANCE FOR RESIDENT ALIENS CAN BE FOUND BELOW AT "Tax Filing Information for Resident Aliens."

 

Getting Your 1042-S:

If you requested electronic notification and copy of the 1042-S, you will receive an e-mail from VISIT stating that the 1042-S is now accessible by logging into your Windstar account.  You can print the 1042-S directly from your computer anytime you wish.  Persons who opted out of the electronic notification process, will receive a paper copy of the 1042-S.  We will mail the paper copy to the address you provided in our international tax database (Windstar) so please ensure your address information is correct.  If you have not received a 1042-S by March 15th, please contact VISIT.

 

Form 8843:  Special Filing for F-1, F-2, J-1 and J-2 Persons:

Persons in F-1, F-2, J-1 or J-2 nonimmigrant status must file Form 8843 even if they received NO income in 2011.  If you are required to file an income tax return, you should also include Form 8843 with your income tax filing.  Form 8843 is not an income tax return; it is merely an informational statement required by the US government and sent to the IRS.

Form 8843 must be filed if an individual is:

  • present in the U.S. during 2011

  • a nonresident alien

  • present in the U.S. under F-1, F-2, J-1, or J-2 status

If an individual meets all three qualifications above, the individual must file Form 8843, regardless of the individual's age and even if the individual is not required to file a U.S. income tax return as a non-resident alien for tax purposes  (i.e. Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ). 

In general, you do not need to have a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taypayer Identification Number (ITIN) in order to file Form 8843.  However, if you have an ITIN or SSN you should put that number on the 8843.

An exception to this rule is for individuals who are eligible to be claimed as dependents on a U.S. income tax return. Such individuals must have an SSN/ITIN. Only nonresident aliens from a very limited number of countries may claim an exemption for their dependents on their U.S. income tax return (Form 1040NR). In such a case, any dependent who is claimed must have a SSN/ITIN. An exemption for spouse and/or dependents is only applicable if the country of tax residence is:

  • American Samoa

  • Canada

  • Korea

  • Mexico

  • Northern Mariana Islands

  • India (applicable only to F-1 and J-1 students)

You can request an ITIN along with your tax filing for you dependents who can be claimed on your US tax return.  Just include a completed W-7 with the 1040-NR or 1040NR-EZ.

 Windstar (FNTR) Access & Tax Filing Reminders:

VISIT has purchased the tax preparation software and it is available, free of charge, to all Vanderbilt employees, students, scholars and their immediate family members (spouses and minor children).  The tax preparation software that VISIT has purchase is called Foreign National Tax Resource (Windstar (FNTR)) and it is available at https://trr.windstar.com/Windstar (FNTR) is only available for persons who are non-resident aliens for tax purposes.  If you are a resident alien for tax purposes you cannot use this software but you may qualify for tax preparation assistance through the on-campus VITA program.  Please read "Tax Filing Information for Resident Aliens" below.

Please note that VISIT has not yet received the Access Code from the software vendor so the system is not fully accessible for tax preparation purposes as of yet.  That is not a problem since our Non-Resident Aliens for Tax Purposes need to wait for the 1042-S before preparing their 2011 tax return.  The Access Code will be available shortly and will be sent directly to all persons on VISIT's International Tax listserve. 

International students and scholars who are not on the listserve will receive their e-mail directly from International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS).  ISSS will not have the Windstar (FNTR) Access Code until VISIT provides it to them so please do not request it from that office at this time.  We expect to have the Access Code by the end of the week and  appreciate your patience.  If you would like to be added or removed from to the International Tax listserve please send an e-mail to VISIT at visit@vanderbilt.edu

Windstar (FNTR) (Foreign National Tax Resource) is a web-based program used to prepare the following IRS tax forms:

  • 1040NR

  • 1040NR-EZ

  • 8843

Windstar (FNTR) is easy to use.  All you need is your 1042-S and/or W-2 form and your immigration information.  After you answer a few simple questions Windstar (FNTR) will generate the appropriate tax document.  All you will need to do is print and mail the completed forms to the IRS along with the IRS copy of your W-2 or 1042-S.  In addition, Windstar (FNTR) provides online assistance as you go through the program. 

Please note that Tennessee does not have State income tax requirements.  However, most other States do, so if you earned income in another State other than Tennessee during 2011, you should contact your former employer or State tax office for information on that State's tax filing requirements.  Finally, please bear in mind that the Windstar (FNTR) program is available only to Vanderbilt employees, students, scholar and their immediate family members who need to file one of the three forms mentioned above.  It cannot be used by friends and family members who are not spouses or dependent children.   

Instructions on Windstar (FNTR) will be provided by direct e-mail to all persons who are Non-Resident Aliens for Tax Purposes.  Windstar (FNTR) can be access  from the "Quick Links" menu on the VISIT website or directly at Windstar (FNTR) (Foreign National Tax Resource).

IMPORTANT:  VISIT does not provide tax-related personal advice; cannot answer specific, personal tax related questions; and cannot prepare your tax return. We can provide assistance with the Windstar (FNTR) database and will offer "Morning Drop-In Windstar (FNTR)" sessions between March 12th and April 13th.   PLEASE REMEMBER TO BRING YOUR LAPTOP TO THE SESSION SO THAT YOU CAN LOG INTO THE Windstar (FNTR) PROGRAM.  VISIT WILL NOT HAVE COMPUTERS AVAILABLE IN THE ROOM.

All"Morning Drop-In Windstar (FNTR)" sessions will be held in the Student Life Center, Lower Level, Meeting Room.  The dates and times are below:

  • Monday, March 12, 2012

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM SLC LLMTG RM 1&2-SLC

  • Tuesday, March 13, 2012

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM SLC LLMTG RM 1&2-SLC

  • Wednesday, March 14, 2012

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM SLC LLMTG RM 1&2-SLC

  • Monday, March 19, 2012

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM  SLC LLMTG RM 1&2-SLC

  • Wednesday, March 21, 2012

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM SLC LLMTG RM 1&2-SLC

  • Monday, March 26, 2012

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM  SLC LLMTG RM 1&2-SLC

  • Wednesday, March 28, 2012

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM  SLC LLMTG RM 1&2-SLC

  • Thursday, March 29, 2012

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM SLC LLMTG RM 1&2-SLC

  • Monday, April 02, 2012

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM SLC LLMTG RM 1&2-SLC

  • Wednesday, April 04, 2012

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM SLC LLMTG RM 1&2-SLC

  • Thursday, April 05, 2012

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM SLC LLMTG RM 1&2-SLC

  • Wednesday, April 11, 2012

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM SLC LLMTG RM 1&2-SLC

  • Thursday, April 12, 2012

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM  SLC LLMTG RM 1&2-SLC

  • Friday, April 13, 2012

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM SLC LLMTG RM 1&2-SLC

 

Tax Filing Information for Resident Aliens

The Foreign National Tax Resource (Windstar (FNTR)) tax preparation software is only for international persons who are "Non-Resident Aliens for Tax Purposes."  It software cannot be used by persons who are "Resident Aliens for Tax Purposes."  Windstar (FNTR) will determine whether you are a non-resident or resident for tax purposes as you answer the tax preparation questionnaire. 

If you are unable to use Windstar (FNTR) because you are a "Resident Alien for Tax Purposes," and need assistance with completing tax forms, we recommend that you seek the advice of one of the numerous tax preparation services in Nashville, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov or use the on-campus VITA Assistance program discussed below.   

VITA Tax Preparation Assistance

As in previous years, Vanderbilt has again coordinated with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, to provide free on-campus, tax preparation assistance to Vanderbilt employees, students and scholars who earned less than $55,000 in 2011. 

Information on VITA's on-campus availability and locations can be found at http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2012/02/free-tax-prep/.   Trained VITA volunteers will prepare your taxes and e-file them but please note that VITA staff may not be experts on specific international tax issues such as property abroad and tax treaties

*Please be sure to take government identification and your SSN to the VITA appointment. 

International Tax Listserve

If you would like to be added or removed from to the International Tax listserve please send an e-mail to VISIT at visit@vanderbilt.edu.  We cannot remove international persons from the listserve if they have an active tax record with our office, as we need to ensure they receive all updates.  If your tax record was closed before 2011, and you are still receiving unwanted e-mails, please contact us for removal from the listserve.

Vanderbilt International Services and International Tax (VISIT)
Website - vanderbilt.edu/visit 
Skype - vanderbilt.visit
Email - visit@vanderbilt.edu

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