It’s complicated: International students learn tax law
International students from more than 20 different countries studying at nine local Michigan colleges and universities learned how to save themselves money and comply with U.S. tax law in two free sessions co-sponsored by Global Detroit’s Welcome Mat and Global Talent Retention Initiative (GTRI), and international accounting firm Moore Stephens Doeren Mayhew. Doeren Mayhew Certified Public Accountants Jeff McCann and Steve Wedge presented at Wayne State and Madonna Universities for this third year that the public service presentations have been offered.
Students all highly rated the presentations – almost universally saying they were excellent or good. Not only did Mr. McCann explain the complicated area of U.S. tax for non-residents, but as a bonus, Mr. Wedge showed the students every relevant line of the federal forms and discussed state and city taxes.
McCann and Wedge stayed after the presentation to further answer students’ specific questions. Some students even brought along their W-2 forms to show the experts. Questions asked by the audience were challenging and interesting for the tax professionals. Interested students were given a copy of the presentation and additional resources.
More than for the American taxpayer, these presentations are needed because there exists no software programs or videos tailored to guiding international students through this complex and frustrating process. The information provided will enable international students to understand what they need to do to be in good standing with the Internal Revenue Service, but also to obtain refunds that they are entitled to. These refunds can be substantial – thousands of dollars even, and, of course, students certainly need the funds!
Tax and immigration law are said by some to be the two most difficult and complicated areas of law, and there are many misconceptions surrounding them. The United States is one of only two countries in the world that require non-residents living in the country to file taxes. Some Americans inaccurately believe that refugees or immigrants don’t pay taxes when in fact they are required to pay taxes like everyone else.
Due to the value provided at the sessions, a student group president in attendance from another suburban college asked to schedule the presentation on his campus to allow more students access to the needed information. Jeff McCann and Steve Wedge volunteered to hold the popular presentations again next year. Said GTRI organizer Gracie Xavier, “The tax workshops are a great example of collaboration at work, and we’re thankful to McCann and Wedge for joining us to support international students studying in Michigan.”