Taxes in the USA


Social Security and Taxes

Social Security Number — Crucial for general identification

This is a United States Government number issued to anyone for purposes of record-keeping for pay checks, bank records, and general identification. All students must have one. The International Student Advisor will assist new international students in obtaining the numbers at the beginning of each academic year.

Your United States Tax Obligations

Understanding the U.S. tax system and filing a tax return is an overwhelming and confusing experience for any student. That’s why, to make things easier for you, Bates College has teamed up with Sprintax, an online tool specifically designed for international students and scholars which helps you prepare your federal and state return in less than 20 minutes.

Students may also file a Maine state tax form using information from their federal tax return. Information about this process will come directly via email, including a Sprintax user code.

For preparing the tax forms, students should have any 1042-S form received from the Payroll Office, and any W-2 forms received from anywhere you have worked. Additionally, the Bates financial aid support letter will be needed, if applicable.

Everyone living in the U.S., including F-1 and J-1 students, must file income tax forms whether they earn money in the U.S. or not.
  • The most important reason to file a return is that it is a legal requirement of the U.S. Failure to file may impact the status of your current visa and make future U.S. visa applications difficult.
  • Avoid penalties. If you miss the April 15 deadline, you may face late filing penalties. Filing prior to this date prevents this. The earlier you file, the better.
  • You may be owed a tax refund! Many international students filing a tax return are due a tax refund for overpaid tax. It’s worth checking if you are due a refund.

You must file federal and most state taxes by April 15 if you earned money the previous year. June 15 is the deadline for federal returns if you did not earn money. If you request an extension to file your tax return and owe money but do not pay by April 15, you will be charged monthly interest on the initial amount you owed.

As tax filing time approaches, the International Student Programs & Services (ISPS) provides information about using the online Sprintax service.

If you have any questions, check out:


Disclaimer: International Student Programs and Services staff are not tax experts and therefore are not permitted to assist students with any IRS tax form preparation or tax-related questions.  Bates will attempt to provide you with the general information necessary to satisfy your filing obligations. The ultimate responsibility for the reporting and payment of your taxes, however, lies with you. We suggest that you seek advice from Sprintax or a certified tax preparer if you have questions.