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I'm on F1-OPT visa right now and I am very new about tax, I…

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Hello, I'm on F1-OPT visa...
Hello, I'm on F1-OPT visa right now and I am very new about tax, I would like to know...- How does it work? (or maybe put an explanation in a simple term would do.)- I just received my EAD card and SSN, what else should I need to understand about tax that I should prepare myself or register my name on the system?- last question, Is there anyway that I can reduce the tax if I work as a photographer (home-based studio)?
Submitted: 4 months ago.Category: Tax
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12/8/2017
Tax Professional: James Daloisio, Tax Attorney replied 4 months ago
James Daloisio
James Daloisio, Tax Attorney
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 331
Experience: 24 years of continuing education and experience.
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Hi, my name is ***** ***** welcome to Just Answer.

There is no need to register your name in the system.

There are two taxes that you should understand. The first is Social Security/MediCare/Disability. This is referred to as "OASDI," or "FICA." This is the tax that your employer deducts from your paycheck; your employer pays half, and you pay half. If you are self-employed, you have to pay the whole thing. It's called the "self employment tax."

If you've been in the U.S. less than five years, then you will be considered a non resident alien for tax purposes and you will not have to pay this tax unless your status changes to resident alien. You are considered a non resident alien for the first five years that you are in the U.S. on an F1 visa.

The other tax is the income tax. All individuals who earn money in the U.S. are liable for the income tax. If you are employed, your employer will give you a form W-4 that you will prepare. This will tell the employer how much money to withhold each pay period from your earnings. At the end of the calendar year, your employer will provide you with a form W-2 that will show you how much you earned and how much money was withheld. You will use that form to prepare your income tax return, which is due by April 15th of the following year.

The amount of tax that you pay is determined from your "taxable income." First, you add up all your income from all sources. That is your "gross income." Then, there are certain adjustments that are made, for items like student loan interest, tuition and fees, etc. You deduct those adjustments and you get what is called your "adjusted gross income," or "AGI." Now, the new tax bill, if it passes, is going to change things a bit, but right now, you can deduct your "personal exemption," which is $4,050.00, and your "standard deduction," which for a single person is about $6,350.00, from your AGI and that gives you your taxable income. There are tax tables that tell you what the tax is for your taxable income. There are also a variety of tax credits that will reduce your tax if you qualify.

You enter the amount of income tax withholding from your form W-2 on your tax return, and subtract the tax from it, and hopefully you had enough withheld to pay the tax. If you withheld more, you will receive a refund. If you did not withhold enough, you will have to pay the deficiency.

If you work as a self employed photographer with a studio in your home, then you will be able to deduct from your income all of the reasonable and necessary expenses associated with your business, as well as taking a home office deduction. If you do business as a sole proprietor, i.e., not a corporation or an LLC, you will file Schedule C with your tax return, which will be filed on form 1040. I suggest you go to the Internal Revenue Service website at

https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-1040

Download a copy of form 1040 and Schedule C. It will give you an idea how things work. Keep detailed records of your income and expenses.

One last thing: if you do become self employed, then you won't have an employer sending payments to the IRS and you will have to do that yourself. You are required to estimate your tax liability and to make estimated payments four times a year: on April 15, June 15, September 15, and January 15. You can make the payments online at the IRS website. Just go to this link: https://www.irs.gov/payments/direct-pay

Hope that helped. If so a positive rating would be appreciated. You can always return here with follow up questions on this topic at no additional charge. And thank you for using Just Answer.

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