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Lev, Tax Advisor
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 29571
Experience:  Taxes, Immigration, Labor Relations
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I am an a international student ( a senior) and I just

Customer Question

I am an a international student ( a senior) and I just realized that I have to file a form 8843 every year as an international student. I had no idea, my school did not make me aware of this. I started school in january 2013. I know i have to file a 1040nr for 2015 as I did a paid internship. But i was wondering what is going to happen because i didn't file a form for 2013 and 2014 (i had no income). I would really like to rectify the problem as i just found out of my mistake and i was wondering what the appropriate actions were.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Lev replied 1 year ago.

If you had NO income - that would not make any difference whether you filed or not form 8843.
You should file Form 8843 to explain the basis of your claim that you can exclude days of presence in the United States for purposes of the substantial presence test because as a student you were an exempt individual.
That would allow you to be treated as a nonresident alien.
The difference is that resident aliens are taxed on all worldwide income - and nonresident aliens are taxed ONLY on income from US sources.

But if you had NO income - you would have NO tax liability regardless of your residency classification for tax purposes.

Expert:  Lev replied 1 year ago.

Please be aware that there is a penalty for not timely filing form 8843 - but yu will not be penalized if you can show by clear and convincing evidence that you took reasonable actions to become aware of the filing requirements and significant steps to comply with those requirements.
That means - as soon as you learned about filing requirements - you file all missing forms - and explain that late filing is not a willful violation.
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