The role of staff in the Office of International Services at the University of Pittsburgh is to assist you with your immigration status while you are a student or scholar at the University of Pittsburgh. We are not trained tax advisors; and therefore, we cannot provide you with direct assistance in preparing your taxes. However, we want you to be aware of some of the resources that are available to you.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
The IRS is available to answer questions about preparing your taxes and will be your best resource for information. Make sure to visit the IRS contact page, which provides multiple options for asking your questions.
Tax Preparation Resources
The Office of International Services at the University of Pittsburgh has purchased a license for nonresidents for tax purposes to prepare their US Federal Tax Return using SPRINTAX. To utilize this resource, please review this information here.
Please note: SPRINTAX can assist with preparation of State Tax returns for an additional fee. Also, SPRINTAX, does not assist with Local Tax return preparation.
For limited information about the state and local tax forms, please visit our Tax Forms page.
Otherwise, you may wish to seek the assistance of a professional tax preparer to assist you in preparing Federal, State and Local Tax forms. Choose the prepare carefully because you will be legally responsible for the tax return, even if someone else prepares it for you.
|Type of Tax Preparer||Definition||Resources|
|Tax Preparation Companies||Relatively inexpensive option for less complex tax needs. Some companies have limited experience with specialized tax returns, such as non-residents for tax purposes.||H&R Block Oakland, 107-109 Atwood Street, 412-681-2797 offers services for nonresidents for tax purposes. Specify your need for nonresident tax preparation when scheduling your appointment.|
|Enrolled Agents||Federally authorized tax practicitioner empowered by the US Department of Treasury to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). More expensive option than Tax Preparation Company.||Visit the NAEA’s Website (http://www.naea.org/) and choose “Find an EA” to find Enrolled Agents in the Pittsburgh Area.|
|Certified Public Accountants (CPAs)||A qualified accountant in the US who has passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination and has met additional state requirements for certification.||Visit the American Institute of CPAs Website (www.aicpa.org) and “Find a CPA/PFS Near You” to find CPAs in the Pittsburgh Area.|
|Tax Attorneys||The most expensive option of those listed. Only needed for those with very complex tax situations.|
Questions to Ask:
It is important to be sure that the tax preparer has experience preparing tax forms for people in your particular situation. Not all tax preparers understand nonresident tax forms such as the 1040NR. It is also important to understand possible costs before hiring a tax preparer.
Some example questions you may want to ask include:
- What is the maximum amount I might have to pay you to prepare my tax return?
- Who will prepare my tax return and where will it be prepared? How can I contact this person?
- How many Forms 1040NR (the form filed by nonresidents for tax purposes) does the preparer complete each year?
- If you are in F or J immigration status, ask if the preparer is familiar with the special rules that apply to F and J visa holders, and ask how many returns s/he does for F and J visa holders each year.
- If you will be required to file a “dual status” tax return (you were a tax resident for part of the year), ask how many dual status returns the preparer does each year.
After Your Form is Prepared
After the tax preparer finishes your return, he or she is required by law to sign the return, fill in the preparer areas of the form and include his/her identifying number, and give you a copy of the return. You should:
- Review the completed return to ensure all tax information, your name, address and Social Security or ITIN number(s) are correct.
- Make sure that you understand the form and make sure that it seems to be accurate.
- If you want the preparer to be able to talk to the IRS about how your return was prepared, check the “Third Party Authorization” box on the tax return form.
- Sign the tax return form.
- Mail tax forms to appropriate federal, state, and local offices.
Important! Never sign a blank return, and never sign in pencil.
For advice from the U.S. Department of Treasury Internal Revenue Service about choosing a paid tax preparer, refer to:
Low Income Taxpayer Clinics
Low income taxpayer clinics provide services to qualified individuals when a problem arises after their taxes have been filed. Eligibility for receiving services from these clinics will depend on your income. Low income taxpayer clinics do not provide assistance in preparing your taxes. You should only contact a clinic if the IRS has identified an issue with your return.
The IRS provides a list of low income taxpayer clinics in the United States, which can be found here. The University of Pittsburgh School of Law also hosts a low income taxpayer clinic. If you are interested in their services, you must call first as not all cases can be accepted. You can contact the clinic at 412-648-1300.
Pitt Foreign National Taxes Page (Pitt Employees)
The Office of the Chief Financial Officer at the University of Pittsburgh has published the following page to assist with determining tax treaty eligibility and tax residency for foreign nationals. Visit their webpage here. Contact information and some additional resources are provided on their page.
Pitt Foreign National Activity & Payment Guide for Non-Employees
The Office of the Chief Financial Officer at the University of Pittsburgh has devised a guide to determine how to handle specific foreign national activities and payments for non-employees. Visit their guide here. Contact information is also provided on their page.
All tax information provided by OIS is intended for international students and scholars of the University of Pittsburgh ONLY. The University of Pittsburgh makes no guarantee as to the accuracy of this information and shall not be held liable for use of any of the information provided. You should contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or a tax professional if you require clarification or have any questions about filing your taxes.