1098-T Questions

Undocumented students

What is form 1098-T?

It is a form to provide students with information that will assist them with filing for education tax benefits and tax credits such as the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit, Hope Scholarship Tax Credit, American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Above-the-Line Tax Deduction for Qualified Higher Education Expenses. For more information on these credits, see IRS Publication 970  or consult your personal tax advisor.

Top

How do I obtain form 1098-T?

Form 1098-T is available electronically through Heartland ECSI in late January for the previous calendar year. All students who sign up for electronic delivery will receive an email letting them know that their form is available on the website. Once made available, you may print your 1098-T at any time. Students who do not consent to electronic delivery through Heartland ECSI  by January 1 will receive a paper copy in the mail. This will be postmarked by January 31. We encourage electronic delivery to promote sustainability, and because students are able to access the forms quicker than by mail.

Top

If I do not opt to receive the form electronically, what address is the paper copy mailed to?

For those who do not request electronic delivery, the form will be mailed to the student’s permanent address as maintained by Western Michigan University. If WMU has no permanent address for the student, the form will be mailed to the local address on file.

Top

I went to the website and found that my form 1098-T is not available. What does this mean?

Following are several reasons why form 1098-T may not be available:

  • Form 1098-T is not issued to nonresident aliens, as they do not qualify for the U.S. education tax credits. Please contact the IRS or your personal tax advisor for more information.
  • If the University does not have either a Social Security number (SSN) or an international tax identification number (ITIN) on record for the student, the form is not automatically released. You may add your SSN or ITIN by submitting Form W-9S to the registrar's office in person, or by mailing to: Registrar, Western Michigan University, 1903 W Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI, 49008-5256. Form W-9S is available through the IRS in the forms section.
  • If Western Michigan University has no valid address for you, the form is not automatically released. You can update your address information in GoWMU with your Bronco NetID and password.

Top

Do international students receive this form?

Students classified as nonresident aliens in the Western Michigan University student records system will not be issued a 1098-T form as they do not qualify for the U.S. education tax credits. Please contact the Internal Revenue Service or your personal tax preparer for assistance. If you are a resident alien, see the following question.

Top

I am a resident alien, should I receive form 1098-T?

Yes. Resident aliens are taxed the same as U.S. citizens and qualify for the U.S. education tax credits. However, as our current system only tracks U.S. citizenship, we have no records to indicate this status. If you have resident alien status (see below FAQ), complete a Report of Resident Alien Status form, attach required documentation and deliver to Bronco Express or fax all to the Corporate Reporting and Taxation Department at (269) 387-4297.

Top

How do I know if I am a resident alien?

You are a resident alien of the U.S. for tax purposes if you meet either the green card test or the substantial presence test for the calendar year being measured. See IRS Publication 519 for more information. A student in the U.S. on an F-1 or J-1 visa most likely meets the substantial presence test in the sixth year of presence. For more information, see Internal Revenue Service Publication 519 on the IRS website.

Undocumented students who pass the substantial presence test are taxed as resident aliens. Please note that you need to provide us with your International Taxpayer Identification Number in order to receive form 1098-T. Also, see the frequently asked questions for undocumented students below.

Top

Why is Box 1 of my 1098-T blank even though I paid tuition during the reporting year?

When 1098-T reporting began, universities and colleges were required to pick one of two methods to report amounts - either cash basis or billed basis. Institutions who elected cash basis report in Box 1, and those who elected billed basis report in Box 2. Western Michigan University elected to report on a billed basis. This means that students may need to make adjustments to numbers reported on page 1 of Form 1098-T to convert to cash basis for federal tax return preparation purposes.

Top

Undocumented students

Are the individual U.S. income tax credits and deductions for tuition available to undocumented students?

An undocumented student who qualifies as a resident alien is taxed the same as a U.S. citizen and is eligible to claim any allowable tuition credits or deductions.

Top

How do I know if I meet the rules to qualify as a resident alien?

Under the tax laws of the U.S., a resident alien can be defined as:

  1. A green card holder.
  2. A person meeting the substantial presence test.

Top

How do I pass the Substantial Presence Test?

  1. Current year days in the U.S. X 1 = ______ days.
  2. First preceding year days in the U.S. X 1/3 = ____ days.
  3. Second preceding year days in the U.S. X 1/6 = _____ days.
  4. Total days in the U.S. = _____days (add lines 1, 2 and 3).

If line 4 equals or exceeds 183 days and you have been in the U.S. at least 31 days in the current year, you have passed the substantial presence test.

Top

May I file a U.S. tax return without a Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number?

No. Any individual U.S. tax return filed without either a Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number will be rejected by the IRS.

Top

What is an individual taxpayer identification number, and how do I obtain one?

An individual taxpayer identification number is a taxpayer identification number assigned to nonresident aliens and others who do not qualify to obtain a Social Security number. It is used for U.S. tax purposes only. It is obtained by filing form W-7 with the Internal Revenue Service. Please note the instructions require certain attachments to be filed with form W-7, such as a certified copy of your foreign birth certificate and a photo ID. You can find form W-7 and instructions on the IRS website.

Top

A form 1098-T was not available for me when I went to the applicable website after it was announced that they were available. Why isn’t it available and how do I obtain it?

Our records contain information on whether or not a student is a U.S. citizen, but do not track whether you are a resident alien or nonresident alien. Accordingly, if Western Michigan University records indicate that you are not a U.S. citizen, or if you have not given us your Social Security or individual taxpayer identification number, a form 1098-T will not be automatically generated for you. If you are a resident alien with an individual taxpayer identification number, you need to complete a form W-9S stating your international tax identification number if you are filing for tuition tax credit, and complete a Report of Resident Alien Status form so we identify you as a resident alien. These can be submitted to Bronco Express or faxed to the Corporate Reporting and Taxation Department at (269) 387-4297.

Students who are not filing for tuition tax credit or deduction on a U.S. individual income tax return do not need to complete the Form W-9S to provide an ITIN to the university.

Form W-7 and Form W-9S, and instructions can be found on the IRS website.

Top

Who should I contact with questions?

Questions on the above can be directed to Bronco Express Service Team located in room G9 of the Bernhard Center or by calling (269) 387-6000.

Please note that tax law is extremely complex and constantly changing. Accordingly, staff members are advised not to give tax advice to students. Instead, students are advised to seek professional assistance from their personal tax adviser.

Top