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Tax Return Information for Internationals

Tax returns, Form 1042-S, Form W-2, Glacier Tax Prep (GTP), Glacier, tax law

2020 Tax Returns are due April 15, 2021.

2020 Forms W-2 will be available online and/or mailed no later than January 31, 2021. See our page How to Get Your UCSD Form(s) W-2

2020 Forms 1042-S will be availabe online or mailed no later than March 15, 2021. You'll get an email from Glacier (support@online-tax.ent) when the form is available online through Glacier. If you declined electronic delivery of Form 1042-S or did not have a complete UCSD 2020 Glacier record as of 12/31/2020, the form will be mailed to you. 

Glacier Tax Prep (GTP) will become available on or before March 15, 2021.

More information:

1. What are tax returns?

"Tax return” is a misleading term. It is not an automatic refund/return of tax. A tax return is a reconciliation of your actual tax liability for the previous calendar year and the tax you paid via withholding or direct payments to the tax authorities (IRS and FTB).

If too much tax was withheld or paid, you'll get a refund a few months after mailing your return. If you find that you owe tax, you will need to include payment with your return or make payment arrangements.

It is your responsibility to complete and submit your tax returns with any required income statements (Forms W-2, 1099, 1042-S, 592B, etc.) to the tax authorities.  

UC San Diego staff are not tax return experts and are not permitted to offer tax return advice.

2. Glacier Tax Prep (GTP)

The 2020 version of Glacier Tax Prep (GTP) will be available free on or before March 15, 2021 to those who were nonresident aliens at UCSD in 2020. 

GTP is an online system that prepares nonresident alien tax returns (Forms 1040NR and 1040NREZ.)  It’s owned by Arctic International LLC, the same company that owns the Glacier Online Nonresident Alien Tax Compliance System (Glacier), but it serves a completely different purpose than Glacier.

Like Glacier, GTP will ask questions to help you determine your residency for federal tax purposes in 2020. It will also ask you to enter information from whatever tax reporting forms you got from UC San Diego or other U.S. sources (W-2, 1042-S, 1099, etc.) Using this information, the system will determine your actual 2020 liability, whether you owe tax or get a refund, generate Form 1040NREZ or 1040NR, any other tax forms you need (such as Form 8843), as well as instructions about where to sign, what documents to attach (Form W-2, 1042-S, 1099, etc.), and where to mail your return. 

Glacier Tax Prep for 2020 federal tax returns will be available on or before March 15, 2021, free of charge to all nonresident international students and scholars who were affiliated with UC San Diego during 2020. 

Those nonresident aliens who had complete UCSD Glacier records as of 12/30/20, whether or not they are still receiving payment from UCSD, will receive an email from Glacier (support@online-tax.net) with the subject line “Welcome to Glacier Tax Prep” on or before 3/15/2021. 

If you don’t receive the email by March 15, email the UCSD International Center at internationaltaxhelp@ucsd.edu for an access code. Nonresidents are not required to use GTP. There are many ways to file your federal nonresident tax returns.

3. Are GTP and Glacier the same thing?

The two programs are owned by the same company, Arctic International, LLC, but serve different purposes.

Glacier Tax Prep (GTP) is available from March 15 - October 15 of each year. It will help you prepare your 2020 U.S. federal tax return: Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ, Form 8843, and any other forms you need to submit. It will also generate a page of instructions, telling you where to sign, what to attach (Forms W-2, 1042-S, etc.), and where to mail your return (Austin, Texas or Charlotte, North Carolina.)  Nonresident tax returns cannot be emailed.

Glacier Online Nonresident Alien Tax Compliance System (Glacier) helps the university to tax future payments correctly. All international visitors receiving payment or benefits from UCSD are required to maintain a current Glacier record as long as they're receiving payment from the university. You enter tax related information on blue and yellow screens. The system generates a Tax Summary Report, any other tax forms you need (Forms W-4, state tax form (EDD), 8233, W-8BEN, W-9, tax treaty statements, etc.) You submit the signed forms, including the Glacier Tax Summary Report (TSR), and required immigration document copies to the UCSD Glacier & Taxation Team in the payroll division of UCSD. A Tax Summary Report is NOT a tax return. Glacier is available year-round. 

 

4. Form 1042-S - available March 15, 2020

2020 Forms 1042-S Foreign Person's U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding will be issued on or before March 15, 2021. If you were a nonresident for tax purposes (NRA) in 2020, you’ll need it for your tax returns. If you chose electronic delivery of  your 1042-S when you completed your Glacier record, you’ll get an email from Glacier (support@online-tax.net) with the subject line "Year-End Reporting Form 1042-S is now available." The remaining Forms 1042-S will be mailed on or before March 15, 2021.

If you received 2020 payments of the income types listed below from UC San Diego, the university will report them on Forms 1042-S. A separate form will be issued for each income type. Depending on the income you received, you may get zero, 1, 2, 3, or 4 of them from the university. Each is 3 pages. They will combined in one pdf or one envelope. 

  • Tax treaty exempt wages will be reported on a separate Form 1042-S. Any person, nonresident or resident, who received salary, wage, and bonus payments from which federal tax was not withheld due to a tax treaty. 
    • Box 1 of Form 1042-S will show an income code for wages: 18, 19, or 20.
    • Box 2 will show your tax-exempt wages.
    • Box 7 will show zero. 
    • If federal tax was withheld from some or all of your wages, even if you were eligible for a treaty, those taxable wages will be reported in Box 1 of Form W-2. Box 2 reports the amount of federal tax withheld.
    • Box 16 of Form W-2 will show all of your wages because all wages are taxable in California.
    • Box 2 of a 1042-S for exempt wages, plus box 1 of Form W-2 (taxable wages) should equal box 16 of Form W-2.
  • Fellowship payments to nonresident aliens (taxed and not taxed on separate forms)
    • Common examples of fellowships at UCSD
      • Graduate student fellowship payments under Title Code 3296 Research Fellow WOS (without salary)
      • Postdoc fellows (title code 3253)
      • SURF fellowships
      • UCSD’s cost of health provided to postdoc fellows or postdoc paid-directs weren't concurrently employed at 50%+ effort.
    • Taxed Fellowships will be reported on a separate Form 1042-S. Fellowship payments from which 14% or 30% federal tax was withheld will be reported on a 1042-S with code 16 in box 1, your total taxed fellowship payments in box 2, and the amount of federal tax withheld in box 7a.
    • Fellowship payments not subject to federal tax withholding due to your claiming a tax treaty will be reported on a separate Form 1042-S Box 1 will show 16, Box 2 will report your tax-exempt fellowship payments.  Box 7a will show zero.
  • Other non-wage income paid to nonresident aliens, such as royalties, honoraria, independent contractor payments, consulting fees, performance fees, etc.

5. Form W-2

Form W-2  reports taxable wage or salary payments from UCSD dated in 2019. They're available now to every 2019 employee. See Taxes:  How to Get a UCSD W-2 Statement. There are links on that page to Understanding Your W-2 Statement (pdf) and FAQ.

6. W-2 and 1042-S errors?

Address wrong?  Don't worry.  The IRS will contact you at whatever address you enter on your 1040 tax return forms.

Social security number wrong?  Name spelled wrong? Amounts wrong? Email awinterton@ucsd.edu immediately and with high importance.  If you have a UCSD email address, you can send your correct SSN via email. Otherwise, just describe the problem - "digit 3 should be 8 not 9" or "my family name is Smith, not Smithe."  

Before emailing about W-2 or 1042-S errors:

Box 1 of Form W-2 reports only taxable salary/wage gross income. There is no box that reports your total gross. Some things, like medical insurance premiums, parking withholding, and contributions to your 403B, 457B, health savings account (HFSA) or dependent care savings account, are not taxable or are tax deferred. If $50 medical insurance premium and $50 parking permit were withheld from a payment, the taxable gross will be $100 less than the full gross. 

Form W-2 does not report wage income exempt from federal tax due to your claiming a tax treaty.  If you made a total of 10k in 2020, but claimed the tax treaty that exempts you from federal tax on 6k of your wage income, then your W-2 will report 4k and your 1042-S will report the 6k.

If box 1 and box 16 of your W-2 don't match, it's likely because you claimed a tax treaty.  When Forms 1042-S are issued (on or before 3/15/21), you'll find that box 1 of the W-2 plus box 2 of Form 1042-S will equal box 16 of the W-2.

Read detailed information about both Forms W-2 and 1042-S, above, before emailing questions.

Email questions to glacier@ucsd.edu. Use the subject line W-2 or 1042-S

  • Form you're questioning
  • Box you're questioning
  • What's the problem?
  • Your employee ID number (box d on the W-2)
  • Your legal name in the format last, first middle
  • Your department

7. Tax treaties on tax returns

If federal tax was withheld from payments covered by a tax treaty with your country, GTP will help you claim the treaty on your tax return. 

8. Residency for Tax Purposes

Residency for federal tax purposes is determined by the IRS green card and substantial presence tests (SPT), which are explained in IRS Publication 519 “U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens” (PDF). UC San Diego and the other nine UC campuses use the Glacier Online Nonresident Alien Tax Compliance System (Glacier) to determine residency for tax purposes. See our page Taxes: Residency for Tax Purposes.

GTP will evaluate your 2020 residency for tax purposes. If you were a resident for tax purposes, the system won’t allow you to enter payment data. 

Residents for tax purposes, refugees, asylees, those on DACA status, and those with permanent resident cards cannot use GTP. They file the same tax return forms and can use the same tax return preparation services designed for citizens, and can file electronically.

9. Tax Law

All California state tax law and forms can be found at the official website of the California state tax authority, the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB).    

All federal tax law and forms can be found at the official website of the U.S. federal tax authority, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Questions?

QUESTIONS? If you have questions, please email Glacier@ucsd.edu instead of calling. Most UCSD employees are working from home due to the covid pandemic and are not available by phone.  available by phone.

Why?

  1. Tax law is difficult to discuss over the phone
  2. Email allows us time to review your particular situation before responding
  3. We can include links to online resources in an email
  4. Email allows us to answer questions in the order in which they were received
  5. Email reduces the chance of misunderstandings
  6. Email takes less of our time, so we have more time to help more people. 

Be sure to include your legal name in the format last name, first name middle name, and if you know it, your employee ID number.