Georgia Tech is required by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to withhold federal income tax from ALL payments made to (or on behalf of) a nonresident alien. Regulations also require that Georgia Tech report all such payments to the IRS. Therefore, Georgia Tech must review all data related to the immigration status and purpose of their stay of all payment recipients at Georgia Tech who are not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. Determining tax residency and tax treaty eligibility is a complicated and difficult task which is why Global Human Resources at Georgia Tech uses tax compliance software called GLACIER.
Your 2018 tax returns must be completed by you and mailed on or before April 17, 2018. However, foreign nationals who received wages or other payments from Georgia Tech should wait until after February 11, 2019 to begin their returns. Please note: filing of income tax returns and payment of taxes is not voluntary, it is required by law. All GT non-US citizens (who are not U.S. green card holders) should first use the GLACIER tax compliance system to determine if they are a resident or nonresident alien for tax purposes.
If GLACIER determines that you are a nonresident for tax purposes you will be able to complete your federal tax return (at no cost to you) by using Sprintax. (To gain access to Sprintax you will need to submit a Sprintax Access Request Form available in iStart beginning Feb. 11, 2019.) Sprintax can also be used to prepare your state tax return (for a small fee.)
If you qualify as a resident for tax purposes, you cannot use Sprintax. Resident aliens file taxes in the same manner as U.S. citizens and can file using regular 1040 tax forms. Therefore, there are a number of tax preparation companies and software available for use; the IRS website provides many documents and free software to assist tax residents.
Both resident and nonresident aliens for tax purposes who claimed treaties in 2018, as well as all those students who are nonresident aliens for tax purposes receiving scholarships greater than tuition, will need a form 1042-S to complete their tax return. 1042-S forms will be released after Feb. 11, 2019. Recipients will receive an email from GLACIER when the form is ready.
The tax act passed in December 2017 took away the Personal Exemption from all taxpayers. This increases the taxable income for Nonresident aliens by $4,050 for the year, and therefore slightly increases the income tax withholding in each paycheck. Indian nationals on F-1 visas should expect to see a small decrease in taxes as they are permitted to take the standard deduction on their tax returns, and the standard deduction has been doubled. This did not change the tax treaties between the US and home countries.