Rice University cannot provide individual tax advice. We can only provide basic general guidelines to get you started in preparing your taxes. No information on this site may be considered formal tax advice. Consult appropriate tax counsel as necessary.

Tax forms are due to the IRS by April 15th of each year.
Please note that new Sprintax license codes must be purchased each year.

Filing taxes in the United States can be a confusing responsibility. Failure to comply with IRS regulations can produce serious consequences. Even if no taxes are owed, it is required by law to comply with filing procedures. Penalties range from additional costs plus interest for any tax not paid to incarceration if convicted of tax fraud or evasion. While Rice cannot file your taxes for you, we have compiled the following resources/guidance to assist you.

**NOTE: For questions or concerns regarding issues with previous years' tax returns, please contact the IRS directly by phone at their International Taxpayer Assistance line (1-267-941-1000)

Sprintax Access Code Sign-up

Sign-up for SPRINTAX for 2020 tax year in OISS - March 1 - April 1, 2021!

**Sprintax licenses are only valid for a particular tax year, you must sign-up every year**

Based on availability, first-come, first-served

Sprintax is a web-based software program designed to assist internationals with tax form preparation. It is available to Rice international students (both F-1 and J-1 status) who have been in the U.S. for less than 5 years, or international scholars on J-1 status who have been in the U.S. for less than 2 years and are considered non-residents for tax purposes.

**If you are unsure of your tax residency status, you may go to Sprintax, create an account, and Sprintax will assist you in determining your tax status prior to purchasing the software. If you are found to be a non-resident for tax purposes, you can then purchase a $2 code from OISS. If you are found to be a resident for tax purposes and cannot use Sprintax to complete your tax form preparation, you may visit the IRS website for free file assistance options.

How to Sign-up:

  1. Visit OISS online sign-up between March 1 - April 15, 2021
  2. Pay $2 in cash for a user license, or $2.06 with credit card if signing up online
  3. Receive a unique access code by email within 2 business days to use

Using Sprintax:

  1. Make sure you are using the license you purchased for this year
  2. Make sure you have received all your tax documents before beginning (including W-2's if you worked, 1042-S if you received a fellowship or scholarship, etc.) - see the calendar at the bottom of the page for details of when you will receive these.
  3. Follow the instructions provided by Sprintax very carefully, so that you don't miss any steps.
  4. If you need an ITIN because you are not eligible for an SSN, please see OISS and read ITIN Process
  5. If you need to file State Taxes because you worked in a state that charges State Income Tax, you may purchase a Sprintax software license to assist you in filing those taxes. Please visit Sprintax.
Tax Preparation Workshop

We understand that filing your U.S. tax return can be a confusing process, but it is a legal requirement. Join us for the Tax Workshop, where we will have an expert guide you through the process and be available for questions.

Presenter: Crystal C. Gates, CPA, Tax Partner and Kelley H. Lau, CPA, Tax Manager from Briggs & Veselka Co. (
Date: Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Place: Zoom - details sent by email
Time: 4:00pm-5:30pm for international students & scholars

Click here for the presentation slideshow.

Tax Basics and Frequently Asked Questions

Learn all about taxes in the United States and get answers to frequently asked questions -

Tax Events Deadlines

  • January 31: W-2 and/or 1099 mailed by employers. For Rice forms, please make sure you have updated your ESTHER Permanent Address with the address where you would like to receive your documents. You may also download your W-2 from your ESTHER account.
  • See Event Calendar: OISS hosts a Tax Seminar with a tax expert as a guest speaker once per year, typically in March (please visit our Events Calendar for details). The tax expert speaks mainly on tax law for internationals. Presentation
  • March 15: Form 1042 and 1042-S due to IRS by Payroll. Payroll will notify individuals when they may pick up the form from their office or FNIS account in early March. If the form is not picked up by March 15, Payroll will mail the form to the Permanent Address located in ESTHER. Please update your address to ensure proper delivery of these important tax documents.
  • April 15: Forms 1040NR and 1040NR-EZ due to IRS by individuals (if Nonresident Alien receives compensation).
  • June 15: Form 8843 due to IRS (if Nonresident Alien does not receive compensation and that is only form that is required to be filed.)

SSN and ITIN Process

A SSN or ITIN is needed to facilitate payment for scholarships, fellowships, employment in the U.S., and to file a U.S. tax return. If you are not eligible to apply for a SSN, you may need to request an ITIN in order to receive tax treaty benefits and to file a U.S. tax return.

NOTE: If you are only required to file form 8843 for your U.S. tax return, then no SSN nor ITIN is required.

CPT/OPT Pre-employment Tax Support

Please see for information on a helpful resource.

Additional Resources

AARP Tax Aide Program
Volunteers provide free tax return preparation assistance to foreign students and scholars, for both the non-resident and resident alien tax forms. Walk-ins are welcome (please arrive at least 1 hour before closing):

University of Houston - Downtown VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program
Free Tax Preparation by IRS Certified Preparers. Walk-ins are welcome. All appointments take place in the Shea Street Building, Room B-226 (320 North Main Street, Houston, TX 77002). Help dates for the current year are as follows (March 9 – April 15):
If you have any questions prior to visiting VITA, please feel free to send an email to For more information, see the UH-Downtown's VITA flyer.

  • Central Library 500
    McKinney St., Houston, TX 77002
    Mondays and Thursdays
    2:00 - 6:00 p.m.
    Ask for Teresa McCandless when filling out the intake sheet
  • Mondays & Wednesdays
    4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
  • Tuesdays & Thursdays
    9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
  • Fridays
    9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • Saturdays
    9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Other Resources

Please note: The OISS staff is not trained nor qualified to give any tax advice.