October 27, 2009

Do J-1 Participants Pay Taxes?

"Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes." - Benjamin Franklin

Ben Franklin was a wise man.

Yes, J-1 intern and trainee participants do pay taxes while in the U.S. They will pay some but not all taxes that U.S. citizens/residents pay, including city state and federal taxes. J-1 participants are not required to pay FICA (Social Security and Medicare Tax) or FUTA (Federal Unemployment Tax).

In the Global Current Welcome Packet, we include instructions on how to complete the W-4. The instructions we provide are intended to prevent him/her from owing any taxes at the end of the year.

Remind J-1 participants that they will need to file a Federal Tax Return and possibly a State Tax Return in order to receive any money that was withheld from the stipend that is due back to him/her. This is often the last thing on a participant's mind if they finish the program before tax season or if they are participating in a program that spans over two calendar years. Please let them know that filing a return is mandatory for each year that they participate in a J-1 program.

To make filing easier for our participants, Global Current provides information for a filing service called Taxback.com.

October 16, 2009

Tick-tock - J1 Interview Wait Times

Congratulations! Your J-1 sponsorship application was approved and you now have the DS-2019 in hand. The next step is to make a J-1 interview appointment at your local U.S. consulate/embassy. Some consulates have especially high traffic and long wait times so we suggest that you call your local U.S. embassy/consulate or visit the Department of State website for more information on wait times.

If you are operating on a tight timeline, you may want to check consular wait times prior to receiving the DS-2019. That way you can make an appointment in advance or schedule an appointment at another nearby consulate/embassy. If you decide to schedule the appointment before the DS-2019 is issued, we recommend that you plan for at least three weeks from the day your application is submitted to the day you receive the DS-2019, assuming that you are taking advantage of Global Current’s 48 hour turnaround time.

Some embassies/consulates require a SEVIS ID to schedule an appointment. If this is the case, you must wait until the DS-2019 is issued before you can schedule an appointment. Your SEVIS ID number is issued with your DS-2019. Global Current is can email you your SEVIS ID number as soon as we issue the DS-2019 form.