International Student and Scholar Services

International Student and Scholar Services


CARES Act Stimulus Payments

The week of April 15, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service began issuing CARES Act stimulus payments to individual taxpayers. 

The CARES Act states that “Nonresident Aliens” are ineligible for stimulus payments.  https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/3548/text#id1C21ED5E4A7C4A349BD80BDF95C774FF

“Resident Aliens” may be eligible for stimulus payments if they otherwise meet the eligibility requirements set forth by the CARES Act.  https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center

The IRS differentiates “Nonresident Aliens” from “Resident Aliens” using the Green Card or Substantial Presence Test.

Examples of tax returns that international students might file include:

If you believe you may have received the U.S. federal stimulus check in error, we recommend you contact a licensed tax specialist for guidance. For example, a specialist can provide you with guidance on how to file the Form 1040-X, Amended U.S Individual Income Tax Return if necessary.

Income Taxes

F-status and J-status students/scholars, and their dependents living with them, are required to file U.S. tax forms each year, regardless of whether they earned income.

Failure to do so could result in a violation of their immigration status.

For those who earned money while working in the U.S., filing a tax form could mean a refund.

Resident and nonresident filing

  • F-1 status individuals who have lived in the U.S. for more than any part of five calendar years file as a resident.
  • J-1 scholars who have lived in the U.S. for more than any part of two calendar years must file as a resident.
  • All others file as nonresidents.

Filing deadline

  • April 15 is the tax-filing deadline. All forms must be postmarked on or before that date.
  • Federal forms 1040NR-EZ and 8843 must be mailed to:
Internal Revenue Service
Austin, TX  73301-0125
  • State form M1 and a copy of your Federal forms 1040NR-EZ and 8843 must be mailed to:
Minnesota Individual Income Tax
St. Paul, MN  55145-0010

Filing process

  • St. Cloud State has arranged free access to Sprintax Tax Preparation Software, which will guide you through the tax preparation process, prepare the necessary documents and even check if you are due a refund.

  • All you need to do is:

    • Register and follow the simple instructions
    • Complete the online questionnaire
    • Enter the unique code Sp20SCSU251F in the box on the ‘Review your order’ page
    • Sprintax will prepare your tax return.

     Complete Your Tax Return

  • As a reminder, you have to print, sign and mail your documents once you complete the preparation process in Sprintax.

Tax Prep Help

The Center for International Studies is not able to provide any tax advice or assist with tax preparation.  For assistance, please read through the Sprintax Tax Instructions for Students.

If you have any questions, please use the live chat function while logged into the Sprintax Tax Preparation Software and their team will be happy to help.

This software is available only to St. Cloud State F-1/J-1 students, F-1 students on OPT, J-1 scholars, and their dependents.
If you earned income or received a room and board scholarship, you also will need to file a Minnesota Form M1 for state income tax.

Social Security and Medicare refunds

Nonresident students, scholars, teachers, researchers and trainees who are temporarily present in the U.S. (in F, J, M or Q status) may be exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes. (IRS code section 3121(b)(19).)

  • If these taxes were deducted from your paycheck, and you are exempt, you must first try to get a refund from your employer.
  • If your employer is unable to provide a refund, you must complete an 843 Claim for Refund and 8316 and mail them to:
Internal Revenue Service
Austin, TX  73301-0125.

How to File an Amended Tax Return

TurboTax vs Sprintax

Filing terminology

  • W-2: A form from your employer(s) that lists the income you received the previous calendar year.

  • 1098-T: A general tuition statement indicating the amount of tuition you paid the previous year; nonresident aliens cannot deduct education credits and should ignore this form.

  • 1099INT: A form indicating any interest earned in the previous year on your checking or savings accounts; you do not need to report this on your taxes and can therefore ignore this form.

  • 1099-MISC: If you were listed by your employer(s) as a contractor or consultant, you may receive this form in place of a W-2; it serves the same function.


Tax Tips