Stimulus Tax Message for Scholars and International Employees

We are aware that some current and former employees/visitors received a 2020 Recovery Rebate in the amount of $1200 distributed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as part of the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act,” or the “CARES Act." Whether or not international visitors are eligible for this rebate is, unfortunately, outside of our office’s scope. We are not tax specialists and we cannot advise on tax filing. However, we do want to make you aware of some resources that may help clarify the situation for you.

Employees/visitors who do not meet the IRS definition of "resident alien" are not eligible to receive these funds. Grossly simplified, exchange visitors and most other nonimmigrants cannot even begin to accumulate the time in the United States required to become a "resident alien" until they have been present in the country for at least two years. If you have not been in the US for at least two years, you would likely not be considered a resident alien and should not get a Recovery Rebate. In some cases, employees/visitors filed their tax returns on the wrong form, so they may have mistakenly received the Recovery Rebates.

Sprintax Nonresident Tax Preparation is a private company with whom Pitt contracts for tax assistance to our international student population. They have produced an article, "Nonresident aliens: Your guide to navigating the COVID-19 CARES Act Stimulus Payments."  You are strongly encouraged to check out the information found in that article and utilize the supporting tools to determine your eligibility for the stimulus payment.

If you determine that you are a non-resident for tax purposes, and you want to utilize Sprintax to file your taxes, please see https://www.ois.pitt.edu/tax-resources-april-15-2020-deadline to access the Pitt code and file your federal returns free.

The IRS also provides tax tools that can assist interested individuals in determining eligibility to file taxes and on what form. Their "Introduction to Residency Under U.S. Tax Law" provides additional links on numerous tax topics that may be useful.