What Is Sprintax TDS?
Sprintax TDS (Tax Determination System) is a software program provided by the University of San Francisco to assist foreign students with determining their U.S. tax residency status and possible eligibility for tax treaty benefits.
The United States has a “pay-as-you-go” method of taxation, where taxes are withheld from certain payments and paid over to the various taxing agencies. Certain payments made by the University of San Francisco to its foreign students are subject to these withholding requirements.
However, the United States has a number of income tax treaties with other countries, some of which include provisions which allow the University to reduce or eliminate the rate of withholding from payments made to students. Certain requirements must be met and certain documentation must be provided to the University before these treaty benefits can be applied. Sprintax TDS assists students with completing the required documentation for claiming any available treaty benefits.
Who Should Complete a Sprintax TDS Profile?
The most common taxable payments made by the University to its foreign students include wages earned from a campus job and scholarships for room and board or other living expenses (please note, scholarships for tuition only are not taxable). If you are a foreign student who has a campus job or is receiving a scholarship for room and board, Sprintax TDS can assist with determining whether any treaty benefits are available to lower or eliminate the withholding of taxes on your payments.
How Do I Access Sprintax TDS?
Foreign students who are working on campus must complete the on-boarding process through the University’s Workday system. Once you have completed your Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification, the Office of Tax Compliance is notified and will send you an email from Sprintax TDS inviting you to log-on and complete your Sprintax TDS profile.
Foreign students receiving taxable scholarships will receive an email from Sprintax TDS once the department granting the scholarship (for example, Athletics) provides information to the Office of Tax Compliance and Internal Audit.
The email comes from the address “email@example.com” with the subject line “Welcome to Sprintax Tax Determination System” with the following text:
Welcome to TDS, an innovative, paper-free way to manage all your tax-related documents.
Please follow this link to create your password. If you can’t click the link – please copy the address and paste it in your browser’s address bar:
Log into your profile to confirm and update your details. For more information – please contact the live chat team through TDS or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Assistance in completing your Sprintax TDS profile is available via a live chat function in the Sprintax TDS software. Sprintax also hosts a number of video tutorials that explain the process and guide you through the software. The videos can be found at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/user/Sprintax/videos
Once I Complete My Sprintax TDS Profile I Won’t Be Taxed, Right?
No. Completing your Sprintax TDS Profile is only the first step toward determining your tax status. The U.S. does not have income tax treaties with all countries and some treaties do not include provisions to assist with lowering your tax withholding.
You should review the “TDS Summary” section after completing your Sprintax TDS profile, which will list any available treaty benefits.
If you would like to claim available treaty benefits, you must download all of the forms under the “Tax Forms” section of your Sprintax TDS profile (including the “Supporting Documents” which are listed at the end of your TDS Personal Tax Summary). These forms must be signed and submitted to the Office of Tax Compliance and Internal Audit on the 3rd floor of Lone Mountain North. Alternatively, the signed and completed forms can be uploaded through the Document Exchange section of Sprintax TDS.
Do I Need a Social Security Number or ITIN to Claim Treaty Benefits?
Yes. Form 8233 (along with other supporting documentation) is used to claim treaty benefits to lower withholding on compensation from a campus job. Form W-8BEN (along with other supporting documentation) is used to claim treaty benefits to lower withholding on a taxable scholarship. In both cases, treaty benefits cannot be applied until a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is included on the form.
Please do not submit the Form 8233 or Form W-8BEN, as applicable, to the Office of Tax Compliance and Internal Audit until you have received your SSN or ITIN and updated your Sprintax TDS profile with your number. The University cannot apply treaty benefits to lower or eliminate withholding unless you have your SSN or ITIN included on the required documentation.
If you are working on campus, you should have applied for a Social Security Number in connection with obtaining your job. Please see the following link and contact the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) Office for more information: https://myusf.usfca.edu/isss/apply-for-social-security-number
If you are receiving a taxable scholarship for which you would like to claim treaty benefits and do not have a SSN or ITIN, you will be prompted in Sprintax TDS to complete the documentation to request an ITIN.
Does Completing my Sprintax TDS Profile Mean I Have Filed My Taxes?
No! Sprintax TDS is a tool used by the University to determine your tax residency status and assist with claiming treaty benefits.
Separately, all international students and visiting scholars who were physically present in the U.S. under an F, J, M or Q visa during the calendar year are required by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), along with the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB), to complete and submit a tax return. In general, your tax return must be submitted by April 15 following the end of the calendar year.
The International Student and Scholar Services Office (ISSS) provides tax preparation software to assist with completing your tax return. Visit this link for more information: https://myusf.usfca.edu/isss/taxes
Common Errors When Completing Your Sprintax TDS Profile
The following sections of Sprintax TDS have caused confusion among users:
1. Visits to the U.S.: The first section of your Sprintax TDS profile is “Residency.” One question asks the date on which you first entered the U.S. The following section asks you to list your Visits to the U.S. You must include ALL visits from your first visit to the U.S. to the present; not just your current visa. To add additional visits, click on the “Add Status” link.
2. Finance Information: The “Finance Information” section asks whether you have U.S. income in 2019. If you reply “yes,” two checked boxes listing “Scholarship or fellowship grants (Income Code 16)” and “Compensation during studying and training (Income Code 20)” appear. This list represents payments that the University of San Francisco makes to its students and is pre-set in the software program. You cannot edit or uncheck the boxes, even if you will not be receiving one of the income types. Your answers to the next questions determine what additional documentation might be needed for your specific circumstances. Be sure to include an amount under your expected gross income for the calendar year, along with amounts at the bottom of the page for compensation from your job and/or any non-tuition (i.e., room and board) scholarships, as applicable. As the directions at the top of the page indicate, the appropriate forms to claim any treaty benefits will not be generated if you do not include amounts in the applicable boxes. You only need to include an estimate of your expected income for the calendar year; it does not need to be a precise figure. The example below represents a student who will be paid $5,000 from an on-campus job and will receive $8,000 from a non-tuition scholarship from the University of San Francisco. If you do not have an on-campus job, you would leave the box asking “Total compensation you expect to be paid for these services” as zero. Alternatively, if you are not receiving a non-tuition scholarship from the University, you would leave the box asking “Please enter the expected amount of your scholarship paid to cover living expenses…” as zero.
3. Tax Questions Page: The Tax Questions page is for use by the University. You do not need to enter any information on this page and can simply hit “Save and Continue” at the bottom of the page.
4. Tax Forms: Be sure to print and sign all of the documents listed on the “Tax Forms” page once you have completed your Sprintax TDS profile. One document will include your “TDS Summary,” which includes a section entitled “Supporting Documents (Copies).” You must provide copies of all of the signed forms and required supporting documents to the University before any treaty benefits can be applied. You can bring your documents to the Office of Tax Compliance and Internal Audit on the 3rd Floor of Lone Mountain North, or can upload your completed documents through the Document Exchange function in Sprintax TDS