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OIS NEWS - 12/23/2020

Regarding Potential COVID-19 Stimulus Payments

The Office of International Services is aware that many of us are watching news of the COVID-19 economic relief bill closely as it moves through the U.S. Congress to the desk of the President. There is a strong indication that a second stimulus payment to individuals will be included in the final, approved version of the bill but it is still unclear when the payments will be made and what the final amount will be.

As we go into the winter break, OIS would like to provide some information to help you understand what these stimulus payments might mean for you as an F-1 or J-1 international student in the U.S. There are many important considerations to take into account regarding your eligibility for receiving a potential stimulus payment. Most importantly, if you do not meet the IRS definition of "resident alien" you are not eligible to receive these funds. If the bill is approved and you find that you receive the stimulus payment in error, do not spend the money. You will likely need to return the funds to the U.S. government, which may require the assistance of a licensed tax professional.

If you have met the substantial presence test and correctly filed your 2019 U.S. taxes as a resident for tax purposes, you may be eligible to receive and retain the stimulus payment, should it be approved. In this case, confirmation from a licensed tax professional may also be advised.

OIS will be monitoring this issue closely and will provide further guidance to the UIC international community in the new year when details are confirmed. As a reminder, in 2021 OIS will once again provide discounted access to the non-resident tax filing software, Sprintax, along with online tax workshops with a local tax professional to support our community as you prepare to file your 2020 U.S. tax return.

If you have any questions about this announcement, please contact us at ois@uic.edu or (+1) 312 996-3121.