US tax refund – Part 1

Disclaimer: It is completely based on my personal experience. It should be just taken as an observation, NOT as directive.

I was selected for summer internship 2015 Duke University, and I was expected to get $4200 as stipend from the university.  After my internship, I got to know that I had to pay taxes as well, due to which I got reduced stipend of $3370. Since I was unaware of the taxation system, so I asked the HR administrator if there was any way to get the paid taxes back. She directed me to get my SSN ready and leave a copy of that to her. She told that they would manage the rest of the case and will contact me back in March.

[fast forward to March 2016]

I got an email from HR  administrator about 1042-S form, which would enable me to claim for tax return. She also couriered me 1042-S documents and now I had to proceed on my own to claim my refunds.

As far I could understand the tax were cut from two authorities:

  1. Federal govt. ($588)
  2. North Carolina state govt. ($242)

From the various sources I got to know that I could either do all the tax refund process on my own or I could opt for numerous tax services which help the non-resident people (like me) to prepare tax documents and we just have fill out details and do rest of formalities.

So going the easier way, I opted for Sprintax services. They charge you for filing tax to federal and state tax individually. I was fortunate to get free access code for federal tax from Duke International office which waived about $36, so I just had to pay $24 for state tax.

After the payment, Sprintax prepares set of document for you instantly [federal tax] and state tax document preparation takes about 2-3 days. Right now I am expected to fill out those documents and send it to US tax revenue department, after which they will refund my money. I will update about rest of the process later.

[UPDATE, August 8 2016]

I kept checking my refund status once in week from this website. The status was pending till now, but when I checked today, they have approved the refund and it says they would dispatch my refund by August 12 and I should receive it by September 9.


[UPDATE, August 13 2016]

I also checked state tax today and it says “Your refund check has been written. Please allow additional time for delivery.”. You can check state tax from this website.

Also the federal tax refund has been mailed to me and the website says “Your refund was mailed on August 12, 2016. If you do not receive your refund, please wait until September 9, 2016 to contact us as we are unable to take any further action until then.”.

So I hope to receive money soon.

[UPDATE, September 21 2016]

Finally I have received my check on this day. It was supposed to be delivered before September 9th 2016 (as it said on the IRS website) but it might have got delayed due to postal services. The check is issued from “United States Treasury” on my name and address which is valid for one year.

Just incase one doesn’t receive the refund for long period of time then the person can fill a form 3911 available on IRS website to track the status of the cheque.

  • The helpline number of the IRS is very supportive and it might take a lot of waiting time ranging from (0.5-1 hrs) but they would certainly clear your doubts.
  • One can call US for free via google hangout dialer.