GLACIER Tax Prep International Tax Preparation Software for Nonresident Aliens
for Columbia University International Students and Scholars
About GLACIER Tax Prep (GLACIER) International Tax Preparation Software for Nonresident Aliens
U.S. tax law is extremely complex and each individual's situation varies. In general, U.S. tax law considers most International students in F-1 and J-1 status who have been in the U.S. five years or less in 2011 and J-1 scholars who have been in the U.S. two years or less in 2011 to be "nonresident aliens for tax purposes". Nonresident aliens have different tax rules and file different tax forms than U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and those considered resident aliens for tax purposes.
To assist you in complying with your tax-filing obligations, the ISSO has purchased a group license for GLACIER Tax Prep (GLACIER), a web-based nonresident tax preparation system designed primarily for students, scholars and researchers to complete the required federal tax forms. The group license allows Columbia's international students and scholars to log on to the GLACIER site and complete the required forms online at no cost.
GLACIER Tax Prep is extremely user-friendly; by prompting you to answer a series of questions, GLACIER will determine from your answers whether you are a nonresident for tax purposes, if there are any applicable tax treaty provisions and which federal tax forms need to be filed. GLACIER will create completed forms that you can review, print, sign and send, and provides mailing instructions. The process will also complete Form 8843, a form required of all those in F or J status who are nonresidents for tax purposes, regardless of any income.
If you have a Columbia University Network ID (UNI) and password, you can access the University's link to GLACIER at any time. This link will connect you directly to the tax preparation application where you will be prompted to create a user name and password. Be certain to read the GLACIER login page, which lists all the relevant tax-related documents you must have available before you begin. Your computer will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed to print the completed forms.
If you were a Columbia University international student and you have already graduated, and your UNI has not yet expired, you may access the University's link to GLACIER with the same UNI and password you used while a student. Be aware, however, that you may have been in the United States longer than the maximum time allowed to file as a nonresident for tax purposes. If so, GLACIER will not help you and you will need to file as a resident for tax purposes. (See Resident for Tax Purposes at the end of this section.)
Log in to GLACIER Tax Prep for 2011
New York State Nonresident Tax Filing and Workshops
To further assist you, the ISSO offers two tax seminars for filing a New York State tax return. Individuals who are nonresidents for federal purposes may be either resident or nonresident for NY State purposes, depending on several factors including how much time was spent in NY State in 2011.
These workshops, conducted by certified public accountants who specialize in international taxation, are for students and scholars who have completed their federal nonresident forms with GLACIER You must bring your completed federal forms with you in order to complete the New York State tax forms. There will be NY State forms and instructions at the workshops but not any blank federal forms and the workshops will not address completion of the federal forms 1040NR-EZ or 1040NR. If you have completed the federal forms with GLACIER Tax Prep and have specific questions, the presenters may be able to answer your questions at the end of the workshop.
The New York State tax workshops for students in F-1 and J-1 status and scholars in J-1 status will be held from 4:00-6:30 p.m. on March 16 in 309 Havemeyer and April 4th at another location to be announced.
You can get New York State forms at the tax workshops or by using the link "Obtaining 2011 Tax Forms" on the navigation bar to the left.
Students and Scholars Who Are Residents for Tax Purposes
If you have been in the United States for more than 5 years as a student or 2 years as a scholar (or have spent time in the U.S. in other statuses), you may no longer qualify as a nonresident alien and may be required to file taxes as a resident alien. If so, after completing the first few screens in GLACIER Tax Prep, you will be informed that you are considered a resident for tax purposes and will not be able to continue using the program to complete the nonresident forms. However, you may be able to use software designed for residents for tax purposes. In this case you may want to refer to a tax preparation site such as TurboTax or www.taxact.com. For more information, see Resources for Resident Aliens for Tax Purposes.
Last Reviewed: 6 February
2012 Last modified: 6 February 2012
International Students and Scholars Office