Learn about Tax Filing for International Students

April 15 is the deadline to submit your U.S. income tax return to the U.S. International Revenue Service (IRS) if you received a Form W-2 reporting wages and federal income tax (FIT) withheld. You may also have a state income tax return due. If you did not receive a Form W-2, but you received a Form 1042-S, your filing deadline is June 15.

Who should file a U.S. tax return?

You must file a U.S. tax return if any of the following apply:

  • You worked in the U.S.
  • You received a stipend, grant or allowance
  • You had no earnings – even if you didn’t work or receive income in the U.S., you’re still legally obligated to file a tax return with the IRS to declare no earnings.

George Mason University has arranged free access to Sprintax Federal Tax preparation sofware for all Nonresident International Students. Sprintax will guide you through the tax preparation process and check if you’re due a tax refund.

How to get started with Sprintax

1. Create a Sprintax Account or log into your existing account
2. Complete the questionnaire
3. Contact the International Tax Office for the discount code that you will need to enter in ‘Review your order’ section
4. Sprintax will prepare your tax return and check if you’re due a refund
5. Download and print your tax return
6. Sign and send the forms to the relevant tax departments as per instructions enclosed

What documents and information might be needed to file the tax return?

  • Passport or other valid photo ID
  • U.S. entry and Exit Dates for current and all past visits to the U.S.
  • All tax forms, including Forms W-2, 1042-S, and/or 1099 – if you received them
    • If you worked on campus or with an employer in the U.S. You’ll need a W-2 form. The W-2 reports your annual wages and amount of taxes withheld from your paycheck. Mason issued W-2 forms can be accessed via Patriot Web.
    • If you received a scholarship or fellowship grant and/or claimed tax treaty benefit, you’ll need form 1042-S. Mason issued 1042-S forms will be post mailed to you by March 15th.
  • Visa/Immigration Status Information, including 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 can still help you!
  • If you are using Sprintax for State Tax Returns(s) preparation only you will need a copy of your already prepared Federal Tax return.

Additional Information about Forms


  • If you were employed at any time during the calendar year, either off-campus or on-campus at Mason or at a previous school, and have not received your form W-2 by February 1 of the following year, contact your employer immediately to confirm they have your current address. You will be required to include a copy of each W-2 form with your federal and state income tax forms. Mason issued W-2 forms can be accessed via Patriot Web.


  • 1042-S is used to report income paid to a nonresident regardless of whether the payment is taxable. The form has a number of purposes. It can be used to report wages exempt under a tax treaty, income earned as an independent contractor, royalties, and scholarship or fellowship grants. Mason issued 1042-S forms will be post mailed to you by March 15.

How long can the Sprintax online account be accessed?

You can access your online account any time you like. If you choose to use the Sprintax service in subsequent tax years, you can still access the same account.

For Further Assistance

Watch the Sprintax online tutorial for more details or if you have questions please email Sprintax. You may also use their online chat system or call them for free at 1-866-601-5695.

IMPORTANT NOTE: International Tax Office staff are neither qualified nor permitted to provide individual tax advice. Please contact a tax professional if you need additional assistance.

For Questions: