- 1 New York State Universal header
- 2 Do I need to file an income tax return?
- 3 E-file State Taxes: What to Know Before You File
- 4 International Student & Scholar Services
- 5 E-File Federal and State Tax Extension Online For Free (Updated 2017)
New York State Universal header
Do I need to file an income tax return?
Generally, you must file a New York State income tax return if you're a New York State resident and are required to file a federal return. You may also have to file a New York State return if you're a nonresident of New York and you have income from New York State sources.
You need to determine if you're a resident, nonresident, or part-year resident before you can decide if you need to file a return with New York State.
E-file State Taxes: What to Know Before You File
We often hear about the complexity of federal tax law, but no matter how complicated, the law is the same regardless of where you live in the country. The same cannot be said when filing state taxes. Each state sets its own rules for taxation, including rates, what types of taxes are imposed and how they are computed. Even individuals who owe little or no federal taxes can end up with a hefty state bill.
Seven states currently do not impose an income tax. These include Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. Tennessee and New Hampshire tax only interest and dividend income.
If not from income tax, where do proceeds for those states come from? Both Texas and New Hampshire, try to make up for the lost revenue by imposing some of the highest property tax rates in the country. While Tennessee allows local government authorities, even school districts, to impose their own sales tax rates. In some municipalities, rates can reach as much as 9.75 percent.
Of the 41 states that do collect on earned income, seven impose a flat rate, meaning all residents pay the same percentage of their income in taxes, regardless of their income level. These states include Colorado (4.63%), Illinois (3.0%), Indiana (3.4%), Massachusetts (5.3%), Michigan (4.35%), Pennsylvania (3.07%) and Utah (5.0%).
The remaining 34 states use a progressive system similar to the system used by the federal government. This means residents who make above a certain amount pay a higher rate than those making more moderate incomes. Hawaii imposes the highest rate in the country, with residents who make more than $200,000 a year, paying 11 percent in state income taxes.
When considering all the ways a state taxes an individual, California residents can end up paying more than most other states. Their state sales tax is 8.25 percent, the gasoline surcharge is 46.6 cents per gallon, and there is an 87 cent per pack surcharge assessed on cigarettes. The income tax ranges from 1.25 percent to 9.55 percent, with the highest rate assessed on taxable income of just $46,349. An additional one percent surcharge is added for residents making $1 million or more each year. Still, California ranks only fourth in overall tax burden. Californians pay approximately 11.2 percent of income each year.
New York residents bear the highest overall burden in the nation, with residents paying nearly 13 percent of their annual income in state and local taxes. This includes income, sales, gasoline and property. Other states where the overall exceeds 11 percent of income include New Jersey (12.4%), Connecticut (12.3%) and Wisconsin (11.1%).
Enjoying the lowest overall burden of any state are residents of Alaska. Not only do they not pay on income, they also do not face a state-imposed sales tax. Some municipalities do, however. Overall, Alaskans pay out only 6.4 percent of their income every year. Residents of Nevada pay slightly more, approximately 6.6 percent each year. Rounding out the top five lowest taxation states in the country are Wyoming (7.0%), Florida (7.4%) and New Hampshire (7.6%).
International Student & Scholar Services
International students and scholars, who received income from a U.S. based source, are required to file federal tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by April 18, 2017. You may also be required to file state tax returns as well. Sources of U.S. income may include the following: on-campus employment, graduate assistantships (TA/RA/GA), scholarships, fellowships, grants, or earnings from OPT or CPT.
For tax purposes, it is important to determine residency. Most international students on F, J, M or Q visas are non-residents for tax purposes. All U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, and non-resident aliens who have met the вЂSubstantial Presence TestвЂ™ are considered residents for tax purposes. Any non-resident for U.S. tax purposes, even if he or she did not receive income from a U.S. based source, must file IRS Form 8843 each year for as long as they are a non-resident for tax purposes. This includes international scholars, students and their dependents.
IRS publication 519 explains the rules to determine tax residency for those who are not U.S. citizens.
Filing Tax Returns in 2017 (for the 2016 tax year)
While International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) advises students and scholars on many topics, tax preparation is not one of them. ISSS advisors are not tax professionals and cannot assist with advising on tax preparation. Similarly, Personal Money Management Center at the University does not provide tax advising to non-residents for tax purposes. However, to assist students and scholars with tax filing in 2017 for the 2016 tax year, ISSS provides a limited number of pre-paid access codes through an online tax software called Sprintax.
The University of Utah has arranged a limited number of pre-paid access codes through Sprintax FEDERAL tax preparation software. More information on filing taxes with the State of Utah can be found here. Please note that you may use Sprintax to file your Utah state tax return for an additional fee.
Sprintax is a web-based software used to prepare U.S. federal and Utah state tax documents. This service is free for international students and scholars U.S. federal tax returns when using an access code. Sprintax is easy to use:
- Create an account
- Answer a few simple questions
- Wait for Sprintax to review your information, complete all calculations and review applicable deductions, then
- Wait for Sprintax to prepare your tax return
- Finally, print your tax return and mail it to the IRS
Also, please review this video demo from Sprintax. Sprintax provides 24/7 live help.
- Send an email to [email protected] Remember that you must send the email from your UMailaccount!
- Include your full name and university ID.
- Once you receive the access code, please direct questions to Sprintax through the online chat system, calling at 1-866-601-5695 or emailing at [email protected]
Please note: ISSS has arranged for a limited number of pre-paid access codes to use through Sprintax to help you prepare your federal tax return (1040NR/1040NR-EZ), and form 8843. If you would like to prepare a state tax return through Sprintax, you may do so for a fee. If you only need to file form 8843, an access code is not necessary.
*This service is limited to current students and scholars (including those who are on OPT) or those who were a student or scholar during 2016.
State Tax Filing Options:
Option 1: If you worked in multiple states or would like to have your state tax return prepared for you, Sprintax can prepare state returns for a fee.
Option 2: If you would like to prepare your own Utah state tax return for free, you can do so at https://tap.tax.utah.gov/TaxExpress. If you choose to prepare your own return using tap.tax.utah.gov, make sure that in Sprintax on page вЂњStep 6, State Taxes. We have reviewed your information and found that you need to file the following tax itemsвЂќ that you uncheck вЂњUtahвЂќ. If unselected, Sprintax software should be free at checkout, after entering your Sprintax code. Here is a guide to assist you in filing your own state taxes:
- Go to UtahвЂ™s Taxpayer Access Point.
- Click on вЂњFile Current Income Tax ReturnвЂќ in the вЂњFor IndividualsвЂќ section
- To fill in your information, click on the blue link next to each step of the return. A pop-up window will appear where you will fill in the required information.
- In step 1, it asks for your residency status. If you lived in Utah and went to school or worked here, then you are most likely considered a resident (even if you are considered a non-resident for federal filing purposes). For more in-depth information about this subject click on the вЂњ?вЂќ next to the drop down box, or go to http://incometax.utah.gov/filing/residency.
- Continue through the steps filling out relevant information as it appears on your federal form. Calculations will be done for you as you input information.
- In Step 4, be sure to input your W-2 information in the link next to number 33.
- After completing step 5 you should be ready to submit. If you need to stop before then, you can save your return with your email address. Both buttons are in the top, right-hand corner of the screen.
- To re-open your return, click on the вЂњFind a Saved RequestвЂќ button in the middle of the TAP homepage where you originally logged in (https://tap.tax.utah.gov/TaxExpress). You will need to enter the confirmation code they sent to your email when you saved your return.
*If at any time you have questions about your Utah return, you can call (801) 297-2200 or (801) 662-4335. You may also email questions to [email protected]
Make sure that you have all applicable tax reporting documents before you start preparing your tax returns.You may need the following documents:
- Passport or other valid photo ID
- US entry and exit dates for current and all past visits to the US (form I-94)
- All tax forms, including Forms W-2, 1042-S and/or 1099 - if you received them
- Immigration information, such as Form DS-2019 (for J visa holders) or Form I-20 (for F visa holders)
- Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
- If you do not have an ITIN, Sprintax still can help you!
- If you plan to use Sprintax for State Tax Return(s) preparation only, it will be necessary to have a copy of information from your Federal Tax return
E-File Federal and State Tax Extension Online For Free (Updated 2017)
Updated for 2017. This year, the deadline for federal tax filing is Tuesday, April 18th, 2017. If you file for an extension, you can extend the time allowed to file your return by six months to Monday, October 16, 2017. (It does not extend the time to pay any tax due.) There are many legitimate reasons to ask for such an extension, and the extension is granted automatically without needing to provide a reason.
Here’s how to e-File a official federal extension with the IRS in minutes for free (plus state extensions where available!). I have done a dry run with each option. Advantages of using e-File include:
- You save the time and postage costs of paper mailings.
- You can estimate your tax liability using online software and/or calculators.
- You receive confirmation of receipt via e-mail or text, often within hours.
This is how I usually do my extension. Tax prep software TaxACT.com allows you to e-File your Federal and State extension (where applicable) for free through them. You don’t need to actually use them to file your taxes later, although you certainly can.
First, register for free at TaxACT.com with your e-mail address and pick a password. To go directly to the extension form, click on the “Filing” tab on the top, and then the “File Extension” link right below it (see below). You will then be guided through the Form 4868 in a question-and-answer format. TaxACT will file the form electronically for you (or you can print and snail mail).
TaxACT also provides a tax liability estimator to help you determine if you need to make a payment with your extension. If you fill out more details in the main software, then the estimate will be improved. If you don’t think you’ll owe any taxes, you can just put down zero as your expected tax liability. If you wish to make a tax payment, you will be able to choose to pay with direct withdrawal from a bank account (account and routing numbers required) or pay with a credit card (IRS fees apply).
Afterward, you can confirm the status of your extension e-file by going to efstatus.taxact.com. They will even send you a confirmation via e-mail or text message. I got my confirmation less than 3 hours after submission.
Free state tax extensions. As you can see above, TaxACT will now even file out your state tax extension online if possible, otherwise they will provide guidance fill out all the paper form entries for you and all you have to do is print it out and mail it in. Note that you will need to have started a State Tax return with them (even with no personal info added), for the State extension e-file option to be shown.
TurboTax.com also allows you to file a Federal extension online for free after signing up for a free account. They will not e-File your State extension, although they will provide some guidance for your state-specific needs. sign up for an account at TurboTax.com first and after logging in, look for the big search box on the top right and type in the keyword “extend” to be directed to their extension section.
It will walk you through the information needed for Form 4868. Again, if you don’t think you’ll owe any taxes, you can just put down zero as your expected tax liability. If you wish to make a tax payment, you will be able to choose to pay with direct withdrawal from a bank account (account and routing numbers required) or pay with a credit card (IRS fees apply).
According to the Turbotax website, you should receive a confirmation email from the IRS within 48 hours of filing the extension.
Option #3: Free File Fillable Forms
As the name suggests, FreeFileFillableForms.com is another privately-run site that allows you to fill out Federal IRS forms online, for free. They are basically the exact same paper forms that the IRS would provide you, with no additional guidance or assistance. State tax extensions are not included.
For some reason, they make you create a new account every year. After you’re signed in, click on “Continue” and pick your form. Go with Form 1040. On the top left, you should see an icon with the label “File an Extension”.
This will bring up Form 4868. Click around the form to fill the boxes out. As above, you’ll need to estimate your total tax liability, but since this is just an online version of the form so there is no guidance included. You can request your estimated tax payment to be withdrawn electronically by supplying your bank’s routing and account numbers. For identification purposes, you’ll need your adjusted gross income (AGI) from your previous year tax return.
One last reminder: Filing an extension only extends the time to file your return and does not extend the time to pay any tax due. To avoid late payment penalties and interest you must estimate what tax will be due and pay that when you file the extension. TaxAct above and other online sites have online calculators to help you with this.