Dear F and J Students and Scholars,
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Federal Stimulus Package enacted in April 2020 was intended to help taxpayers, businesses, tax-exempt organizations and others affected by the coronavirus. The package included Economic Impact Payments, more commonly referred to as Stimulus Checks, to individual taxpayers.
In December 2020, the U.S. government approved the second pandemic stimulus payment under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, providing an additional one-time payment of up to $600 per eligible taxpayer.
Individuals eligible to receive the stimulus checks:
- must be a US Citizen or Resident Alien for tax purposes
- cannot be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer
- must have a valid Social Security Number (SSN), and
- have gross income of up to $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples)
You are not entitled to receive stimulus checks if you are:
- A Non-Resident Alien (F-1 and J-1 Students are Non-Resident Aliens during the first five calendar years of presence in the U.S.)
- A single taxpayer with an adjusted gross income (AGI) above $99,000
- A head of a household with an AGI over $136,500
- A married couple with an AGI over $198,000
- A child over 16 or a college student under age 24
If you received a stimulus check, you should verify your 2019 tax year U.S. residency status. If you determine that you were a Resident for tax purposes in 2019, then you are entitled to the stimulus checks. If you determine that you were a Non-Resident for tax purposes in 2019, then you received the payment/s in error, and you should follow the instructions provided by Sprintax and the IRS (links below) to return the payment/s to the IRS. By keeping a stimulus check that was issued in error, you may incur penalty and interest payments or jeopardize your future U.S. visa or Green Card applications.
Everything a non-resident in the U.S. needs to know about the COVID stimulus checks–Sprintax provides further clarity and guidance for international non-immigrant students and employees, specifically non-resident aliens for tax purposes.
IRS Economic Impact Payment Information Center
I hope you are doing well and staying healthy.
Take good care,
Sr. Accountant/Tax Specialist
International Compensation and Taxation
(860)685-3502 | fax (860)685-2458