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Using Non-UC Tax Assistance Programs

WARNING: Using Non-UC Tax Assistance Programs:

This is a time of great confusion, not only for international students and scholars, but also for Americans. Therefore there are many services that have been made available to assist people with filing a Federal and State tax return. We highly recommend you use one of the above programs (VITA, Glacier TP, IRS Website for Form 8843, tax software of Free File, or the instructions for RA’s with Tax Treaty Benefits). But be warned of the following before attempting to use them.

Off Campus Tax Firms, Advisors and Software:

If you have a Non-Resident Alien tax status, (use this link to check) it is not recommended that you use services like H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt or computer software such as Tax Act or Turbo Tax. These services are mostly tailored for Resident Aliens with No Tax Treaty Benefits.

Most of them will not be able to give you accurate advice on how to file a Non Resident Alien tax return, or assist with tax treaty claims for Resident Aliens. However one local H&R Block office does offer NRA tax services at a cost of $250.00 per person for a basic return. The costs can be higher.

But for the most part these services can be expensive and more often do not give the correct advice or assistance to our students and scholars. Every year the IRS catches mistakes that are made by students and scholars who use such services, and it often takes months of work to clean up the mess and recover the money that the student or scholar may be owed.

These are great resources if you are a Resident Alien for tax purposes and do not wish to claim a tax treaty (if eligible).

CCHMC Volunteers:

There is a VITA site located at CCHMC. However, they are not equipped to deal with Non-Resident Alien Tax Reports. While a great resource for Resident Aliens for Tax Purposes, they are not trained to help with Non-Resident Alien Tax Returns. Using them for NRA Tax help may result in inaccurate tax returns being filed.

This is a great resource if you are a Resident Alien for tax purposes and do not wish to claim a tax treaty (if eligible).

E-Filing:

E-File is a service that one can use via the IRS Website. This program is not equipped to deal with Non-Resident Alien tax issues and is not able to assist in tax treaty claims for Resident Aliens.

This is a great resource if you are a Resident Alien for tax purposes and do not wish to claim a tax treaty (if eligible).

Accountants:

Every so often it comes to our attention that certain accountants or other individuals offer tax services to UC international students and scholars. Most such individuals are not aware, or do not acknowledge, that the rules concerning Non-Resident Aliens versus Resident Aliens are different and are in fact assisting students in filing returns that could be judged as fraudulent. What everyone must understand is that while you may pay money to such an individual to complete your tax return, ultimately you are the one who will be held responsible for the return, and will have to pay any penalties (fines, fees and criminal action) if discovered.