Tax Returns Snafu Hits International Students with Fees
Mar 24, 2016
In a startling announcement at the beginning of March, the Graduate Student Organizing Committee publicized that international students at several universities across the country, including NYU, have not received their tax returns. Many of these students also received letters from the IRS claiming that their 2014 taxes were not paid by the withholding agent, which, in this case, would be NYU. The students were asked to pay these taxes immediately as well as the financial penalties which resulted from the late payment.
Steinhardt sophomore Anne Pasek, an international student at NYU and GSOC member, shared her understanding of the problem at hand as well as NYU’s attempts to remedy the situation.
“This happened to me, several people I know at NYU and many international students in universities across the USA,” Pasek said. “My best understanding of the problem to date is that the IRS made some sort of error with its form constructions, resulting in an error hitting many — but not all — international students.”
Pasek also compared NYU’s poor handling of the situation to other schools with large populations of international students.
“Rice University, for example, has been communicating about the issue with all its students since December, and has provided several updates featuring qualified tax advice throughout the development of the problem,” Pasek said. “It’s deeply disappointing that NYU, who has one of the highest number of international students in the USA, would be so lax.”
Stern junior Justin Mainzer expressed disappointment that NYU has not taken a more active role in ensuring that students are not penalized for this mistake.
“It’s a shame to see how NYU has handled this, especially knowing that other schools have taken more active steps in keeping international students informed about this issue and trying to ensure there are as few penalties as possible,” Mainzer said.
International students are encumbered with meeting a multitude of requirements to successfully study abroad. Pasek described the additional burden this issue has presented.
“My reaction to the letter from the IRS was one of panic and dread,” Pasek said. “I knew that I had taken great pains to dutifully comply with the very complex requirements of international student tax reporting, and now it seemed that someone had failed to do the same.”
Tandon sophomore Chris Diggins remarked on the unnecessary burden this misunderstanding placed on the large population of international students here at NYU.
“I know NYU prides itself on having a plethora of international students, so it doesn’t make sense that they wouldn’t take this issue seriously,” Diggins said. “The school is so costly already, the last thing people want to be doing is pay additional fees.”
Email Kati Garrity at [email protected]